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DECLARATION OF THE CRIME OF APARTHEID: ISRAEL

7 Jul

[PREFATORY NOTE: The Declaration on Apartheid below is an initiative initiated by the wellknown
Tunisian mathematician, Ahmed Abbes, and endorsed by scholars and artists worldwide. If impressed
please distribute widely as there is a campaign underway to reach 1,000 signatures.]

Declaration on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid in Historic Palestine
6 juillet |

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Over 700 scholars, artists and intellectuals from more than 45 countries have signed the following declaration calling for the dismantling of the apartheid regime set up on the territory of historic Palestine and the establishment of a democratic constitutional arrangement that grants all its inhabitants equal rights and duties. The signatories include many distinguished figures, including the Nobel Peace Prize laureates Adolfo Pérez Esquivel and Mairead Maguire, academics with legal expertise Monique Chemillier-Gendreau and Richard Falk, scholars Étienne Balibar, Hagit Borer, Ivar Ekeland, Suad Joseph, Jacques Rancière, Roshdi Rashed and Gayatri Spivak, health researcher Sir Iain Chalmers, composer Brian Eno, musician Roger Waters, author Ahdaf Soueif, economist and former Assistant Secretary-General of the UN Sir Richard Jolly, South African politician and veteran anti-apartheid leader Ronnie Kasrils and Canadian peace activist and former national leader of the Green Party of Canada Joan Russow.

Declaration on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid in Historic Palestine
Whereas :

1- Israel has subjected the Palestinian people for 73 years to an ongoing catastrophe, known as the Nakba, a process that included massive displacement, ethnic cleansing, war crimes, and crimes against humanity ;

2- Israel has established an apartheid regime on the entire territory of historic Palestine and directed toward the whole of the deliberately fragmented Palestinian people ; Israel itself no longer seeks to hide its apartheid character, claiming Jewish supremacy and exclusive Jewish rights of self-determination in all of historic Palestine through the adoption in 2018 by the Knesset of a new Basic Law ;

3-The apartheid character of Israel has been confirmed and exhaustively documented by widely respected human rights organizations, Adalah, B’Tselem, Human Rights Watch, and in the UN ESCWA academic study that stresses the importance of defining Israeli apartheid as extending to people rather than limited to space, [“Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid,” UN ESCWA, 2017] ;

4- Israel periodically unleashes massive violence with devastating impacts on Palestinian civilian society, particularly against the population of Gaza, which endures widespread devastation, collective trauma, and many deaths and casualties, aggravated by being kept under an inhuman and unlawful blockade for over 14 years, and throughout the humanitarian emergency brought about by the COVID pandemic ;

5- Western powers have facilitated and even subsidized for more than seven decades this Israeli system of colonization, ethnic cleansing, and apartheid, and continue to do so diplomatically, economically, and even militarily.

Considering :

i- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights which stipulates in its first article that ’all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.’ And taking account that the inalienable right of self-determination is common Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Political Rights, and as such, a legal and ethical entitlement of all peoples.

ii- The International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid which stipulates in Article I that ’apartheid is a crime against humanity and that inhuman acts resulting from the policies and practices of apartheid and similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination, as defined in article II of the Convention, are crimes violating the principles of international law, in particular the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and constituting a serious threat to international peace and security.’ The States Parties to this Convention undertake in accordance with Article IV :
_ “(a) To adopt any legislative or other measures necessary to suppress as well as to prevent any encouragement of the crime of apartheid and similar segregationist policies or their manifestations and to punish persons guilty of that crime ;
_ “(b) To adopt legislative, judicial and administrative measures to prosecute, bring to trial and punish in accordance with their jurisdiction persons responsible for, or accused of, the acts defined in article II of the present Convention, whether or not such persons reside in the territory of the State in which the acts are committed or are nationals of that State or of some other State or are stateless persons.”

The endorsers of this document :

A- Declare their categorical rejection of the apartheid regime set up on the territory of historic Palestine and imposed on the Palestinian people as a whole, including refugees and exiles wherever they might be in the world.

B- Call for the immediate dismantling of this apartheid regime and the establishment of a democratic constitutional arrangement that grants and implements on all the inhabitants of this land equal rights and duties, regardless of their racial, ethnic, and religious identities, or gender preferences, and which respects and enforces international law and human conventions, and in particular gives priority to the long deferred right of return of Palestinian refugees expelled from their towns and villages during the creation of the State of Israel, and subsequently.

C- Urge their governments to cease immediately their complicity with Israel’s apartheid regime, to join in the effort to call for the dismantling of apartheid structures and their replacement by an egalitarian democratic governance that treats everyone subject to its authority in accordance with their rights and with full respect for their humanity, and to make this transition in a manner sensitive to the right of self-determination enjoyed by both peoples presently inhabiting historic Palestine.

D- Call for the establishment of a National Commission of Peace, Reconciliation, and Accountability to accompany the transition from apartheid Israel to a governing process sensitive to human rights and democratic principles and practices. In the interim, until such a process is underway, issue a call for the International Criminal Court to launch a formal investigation of Israeli political leaders and security personnel guilty of perpetuating the crime of apartheid.

* Academics, artists and intellectuals can endorse this declaration by completing this form.

* Endorsed by 723 academics, artists and intellectuals on July 8, 2021 (click here for the full list), including

Ahmed Abbes, mathematician, Director of research in Paris, France
Sinan Antoon, New York University, United States
John Avery, Writer, Denmark
Bertrand Badie, Sciences Po Paris, France
Étienne Balibar, Anniversary Chair of Modern European Philosophy, Kingston University London, United Kingdom
Anthony Barnett, Writer, United Kingdom
Edmond Baudoin, Auteur de bandes dessinées, France
George Bisharat, UC Hastings College of the Law/Professor, musician, United States
Nicolas Boeglin, Professor of Public International Law, University of Costa Rica, Costa Rica
Hagit Borer, Professor, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom
Grazia Borrini-Feyerabend, Council of Elders of the ICCA Consortium, Switzerland
Daniel Boyarin, Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture, UC Berkeley, United States
Anouar Brahem, Musician, Composer, Tunisia
Rony Brauman, Physician, writer, former president of Médecins Sans Frontières, France
Iain Chalmers, Editor, James Lind Library, United Kingdom
Hafidha Chekir, Emeritus Professor of Public Law, Al Manar University, Tunis ; Vice President of the International Federation for Human Rights, Tunisia
Monique Chemillier-Gendreau, Professeure émérite de droit public et de sciences politiques, Université Paris-Diderot, France
David Comedi, National University of Tucumán and National Research Council, Argentina
Laurent Cugny, Professeur, Sorbonne Université, France
Eric David, Emeritus Professor of International Law at the Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
Chandler Davis, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, University of Toronto, Canada
Sonia Dayan-Herzbrun, Professeure émérite à l’Université de Paris, France
Herman De Ley, Emeritus Professor, Ghent University, Belgium
Ivar Ekeland, Professor emeritus of mathematics and former President, University of Paris-Dauphine, France
Brian Eno, Artist/Composer, United Kingdom
Adolfo Esquivel, Premio Nobel de la Paz 1980 (Nobel Peace Prize 1980), Argentina
Richard Falk, Professor of International Law, Emeritus, Princeton University, United States
Emmanuel Farjoun, Emeritus Professor, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Jan Fermon, Avocat. Secrétaire général Association Internationale des Juristes Démocrates, Belgium
Domenico Gallo, Chamber President in Supreme Court of Cassazione, Italy
Irene Gendzier, Prof Emeritus in the Dept Political Science, Boston University, United States
Catherine Goldstein, Director of Research, Paris, France
Neve Gordon, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom
Penny Green, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom
Sondra Hale, Professor Emerita, University of California, Los Angeles, United States
Michael Harris, Professor of Mathematics, Columbia University, United States
Judith Herrin, King’s College London, United Kingdom
Christiane Hessel-Chabry, Présidente d’honneur de l’association EJE (Gaza), France
Shir Hever, Political Economist, Germany
Nicholas Humphrey, Emeritus Professor, London School of Economics, United Kingdom
Abdeen Jabara, Attorney, past president, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, United States
Richard Jolly, Emeritus Fellow, IDS, University of Sussex, United Kingdom
Suad Joseph, Distinguished Research Professor, University of California, Davis, United States
Mary Kaldor, London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom
Ronnie Kasrils, Former government minister, South Africa
Assaf Kfoury, Computer Science Department, Boston University, United States
Rima Khalaf, Former Executive Secretary of UN ESCWA, Jordan
Daniel Kupferstein, Film director, France
Jean-Marc Lévy-Leblond, Emeritus professor, University of Nice, France
David Lloyd, University of California Riverside, United States
Brinton Lykes, Professor & Co-Director, Boston College Center for Human Rights & International Justice, United States
Moshé Machover, Mathematician, KCL, United Kingdom
Kate Macintosh, Architect, United Kingdom
Mairead Maguire, Nobel peace laureate, Ireland
Dick Marty, Dr. Jur. Dr. H.c., former Chair of the Committee of Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Switzerland
Georg Meggle, Philosopher, Prof. em. at University of Leipzig, Germany
Jan Oberg, DrHc, peace and future researcher, Transnational Foundation, Sweden
Joseph Oesterlé, Emeritus professor, Sorbonne University, France
Adi Ophir, Professor Emeritus, Tel Aviv University ; Visiting Professor, The Cogut Institute for the Humanities and the center for Middle East Studies, Brown Universities, United States
Karine Parrot, Professeure de droit à l’Université de Cergy-Pontoise, France
Ghislain Poissonnier, Magistrate, France
Susan Power, Head of Legal Research and Advocacy, Al-Haq, Palestine
Prabir Purkayastha, Editor, Newsclick.in, India
Jacques Rancière, Professeur émérite, Université Paris 8, France
Roshdi Rashed, CNRS/Université de Paris, France
Steven Rose, Emeritus Professor of Biology and Neurobiology at the Open University and Gresham College, London, United Kingdom
Hilary Rose, Professor Emerita Sociology University of Bradfor, United Kingdom
Jonathan Rosenhead, Emeritus Professor of Operational Research at the London School of Economics, United Kingdom
Andrew Ross, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University, United States
Alice Rothchild, MD, retired, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Harvard Medical School, United States
Joan Russow, Researcher, Global Compliance Research Project, Canada
Richard Seaford, Emeritus Professor, University of Exeter, United Kingdom
Leila Shahid, Former Ambassador of Palestine, Palestine
Eyal Sivan, Filmmaker – Essayist, France
John Smith, Filmmaker, Emeritus Professor of Fine Art, University of East London, United Kingdom
Nirit Sommerfeld, Singer, actress, writer, Germany
Ahdaf Soueif, Writer, Egypt
Gayatri Spivak, Columbia University, United States
Jonathan Steele, Author and journalist, United Kingdom
Annick Suzor-Weiner, Professor emeritus, Université Paris-Saclay, France
Salim Tamari, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Birzeit University, Palestine
Virginia Tilley, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, United States
Salim Vally, Professor, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Roger Waters, Musician, United Kingdom
Robert Wintemute, Professor of Human Rights Law, King’s College London, United Kingdom
John Womack jr, Harvard University, United States
* Institutional affiliations are given only for identification purposes

* The full list of signatories is available here.

* Academics, artists and intellectuals can endorse this declaration by completing this form.

* Version française ; versión en español ; versione italiana ; النسخة العربية

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The One and Only Path to Palestine/Israel Sustainable Peace

12 Oct

[Prefatory Note: This post is a slightly modified version of my presentation to the Human Rights Commission of the Italian Parliament on October 11, 2017. The Commission is composed of members of Parliament, and chaired by Hon. Pia Elda Locatelli, representing the city of Bergamo. The presentation was followed by a discussion, and a generally favorable response on the central issue of switching from an emphasis on ‘occupation’ to ‘apartheid.’ To access the Report use this link<https://www.scribd.com/document/342202460/Israeli-Practices-Toward-the-Palestinian-People-and-the-Question-of-Apartheid/>%5D

 

 An Overview of Present Realities

 

We meet at a difficult time from the perspective of the Palestinian people: several developments nationally, regionally, and internationally now deprive Palestinians of that glimmer of hope that comes from seeing light at the end of the tunnel; more fully appraised, the situation is not as bleak for Palestinians as the picture of their struggle being painted from a realistic perspective. A series of factors pointing in both directions can be identified, first to highlight the negative developments from a Palestinian perspective, and then to set forth several developments that are positive with regard to the Palestinian national movement aiming for decades to achieve a just and sustainable peace.

(1) the foreign policy priorities of regional and international political actors have increasingly shifted attention away from the Palestinian ordeal; developments internal to Israel have deliberately accentuated this inattention to Palestinian goals and rights; of special relevance in these regards are the ongoing wars and turmoil in Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Iraq, as well as deteriorating relations and rising tensions of the Iran/US relationship; the moves toward normalization of relations with Israel by the Gulf countries, especially Saudi Arabia; and the unsteady diplomatic approach of the Trump presidency that seems accurately interpreted as supportive of whatever the Israeli government chooses to do, including even accelerated settlement expansion and a rejection of the Palestinian right of self-determination;

(2) Israel and Zionist support groups have launched a variety of initiatives designed to convince the Palestinians that they have been defeated, that their struggle is essentially futile at this stage, and they should move on for their own sake, overtly renouncing their struggle and posture of resistance; the pro-Zionist Middle East Forum, founded by Daniel Pipes has even sponsored a so-called ‘victory caucus’ that basically proclaims an Israeli victory as a way of demoralizing Palestinian activism and global solidarity efforts by treating Palestinian goals as a lost cause;

(3) accelerated Israeli settlement expansion without any adverse pushback from Europe or North America, a development that can be regarded as hammering the final nails into the coffin of ‘the two state solution;’

(4) the widespread recognition that more than 20 years of diplomatic effort within the Oslo framework failed miserably, with the Palestinians paying a heavy price in territory and credibility for engaging so avidly in a diplomatic process so heavily weighted against them; Oslo’s failure permitted Israel to encroach on Occupied Palestinian Territory in a variety of unlawful ways including especially extending the settlement archipelago, illegally building the separation wall on Palestinian occupied territory, and manipulating the ethnic balance in Jerusalem to make the city as a whole more Jewish;

(5) confronting a crisis of viability in Gaza, of both a material and psychopolitical character; not only continuing a decade long blockade that itself amounts to a crime against humanity, but stifling the dreams of young talented Gazans who against all odds have earned foreign fellowships and then are either denied exit permits or entry visas to carry on their studies abroad; this kind of acute frustration, long experienced by Gazans in many forms, is contributing to a new turn among Palestinian youth, who increasingly want to leave Gaza and pursue a more normal life for themselves and their families rather than remain under conditions of virtual captivity to resist and carry on the struggle for empowerment and liberation.

 

Despite all these considerations, there are aspects of the situation, often overlooked in mainstream media, which seem favorable to the Palestinian struggle:

(1) the morale boost that resulted from prevailing in the recent Al Aqsa confrontation concerning control of security arrangements at this site sacred for all Muslims, not just for Palestinians who are Muslim;

(2) a more serious renewal of efforts to bring unity to the relationship between Palestinian political tendencies, especially Fatah and Hamas;

(3) the growing global support for the BDS Campaign, achieving some high visibility successes prompting corporate disengagements from commercial projects related to unlawful Israeli settlements—G4S, Viola; and persuading some high visibility cultural figures not to perform in Israel—Pink Floyd

(4) Palestine is definitely winning the Legitimacy War waged to build stronger and more activist support from international public opinion; such support has been understood as far back as Gandhi as capable of neutralizing the superior military capabilities of a foreign political actor; throughout the decolonization era, the political outcome of struggles for control of state power were eventually won by the party on the right side of history, not as in the 19th Century by the party enjoying military superiority, which in the second half of the 20th century continued to make colonized people suffer greatly, but no longer able to impose their political will; Zionist/Israeli reaction to this set of developments relating to legitimacy has been to shift the conversation about Israel/Palestine relations from the defense of Israeli practices and policies and away from the substance of Palestinian grievances and rights to mount an attack on the motives of those criticizing Israel’s policies and practices, alleging that Israel’s critics are motivated by anti-Semitism, a smear tactic that also is encroaching on academic freedom, but exposing the weakness of Israel’s position on the merits. Internally, the Israeli public discourse is much more focused on the opportunity of fulfilling the maximalist Zionist goal of incorporating the whole of ‘the promised land’ of biblical Israel into the modern state of Israel;

(5) It is my judgment that the biggest development favorable to the Palestinians has been a shift in the public discourse and the articulation of Palestinian demands of peace and solidarity activists from the slogan ‘End the Occupation’ to a clarion call to ‘End Apartheid.’ This shift has been recently legally validated by a UN-sponsored academic study of whether the claim that Israel is an apartheid state stands up to scholarly scrutiny.

 

 

 

The ESCWA Report

 

The UN Report of the Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA) entitled “Israeli Practices and the Question of Apartheid” issued a few months ago, and co-authored by myself and Virginia Tilley, a renowned world expert on apartheid and a political scientist on the faculty of the University of Southern Illinois. ESCWA is a regional commission of the UN composed of 18 Arab states, with headquarters in Beirut. The Report was requested by the member states, and we were invited to prepare the report in accordance with academic standards by the Secretariat of ESCWA. The Report was never intended to become an official UN document, but rather the presentation of the views of two scholars with a background presumed relevant for the preparation of such a study:

–the issuance of the report had two immediate effects: first, it immediately became the most widely read and requested report in the history of ESCWA, and secondly, it produced a firestorm at the UN due to harsh criticisms by the U.S. and Israeli representatives who demanded that the Report be formally repudiated, attacking its authors, and insisting that the UN take prompt action or face the defunding consequences;

–the new UN Secretary General, Antonio Gutterez, dutifully responded by instructing ESCWA to remove the Report from its website; the director of ESCWA, Rima Khalaf, refused to follow such an order, believing in the contents and propriety of the Report; in the end she chose to resign rather than submit to UN censorship, explaining her position in an Open Letter to the SG;

–at this point it is not clear what the status of the Report is within the UN System; it has not been officially repudiated, and in fact the 18 foreign ministers representing the members of ESCWA endorsed the conclusions and recommendations of the Report, and urged their acceptance within the UN; I have no idea as to whether such a response will have any impact;

–as indicated the Report was an academic study, although of an admittedly controversial character; prior to its release, the Report was anonymously vetted by three world class scholars each of whom strongly recommended publication; as well, the report contained a disclaimer that stated that the recommendations and conclusions of the Report were those of the authors alone and did not represent the opinions of the UN or ESCWA; and in fact, the Report has to date received no substantive criticism from those who mounted the UN attack or otherwise; it was a pure show of geopolitical leverage that exposed the weakness of international law and the fragility of open discussion of sensitive issues at the UN;

–it is my judgment that the Report is significant for three distinct reasons:

         <(1) The Report considers whether the allegation of Israeli apartheid is backed by sufficient evidence and persuasive legal reasoning in relation not just to the West Bank, as has been frequently alleged in the past, but in relation to the Palestinian people as a whole; such an inquiry means that if apartheid is declared to exist it applies to Palestinians living in Jerusalem, as a minority in Israel, and in refugee camps in neighboring countries as well as to Palestinians living in occupied Palestine or as involuntary exiles throughout the world; the central legal finding is that Israel has established an integrated matrix of control over the Palestinian people as a people so as to maintain the Israeli state as ‘a Jewish state’ in the face of continuous Palestinian resistance for the entire period of Israel’s existence;

         <(2) The Report reaches its conclusions by relying on scholarly methods of analysis, and by examining and interpreting the evidence of Israeli policies and practices in relation to the relevant norms of international law as contained in the 1973 International Apartheid Convention. The essential finding we reached was that Israel intentionally and continuously was responsible for ‘inhuman acts’ as the means by which to subjugate the Palestinian people as a subordinated ‘race.’ This enabled Israel to govern in a discriminatory fashion as ‘a Jewish state;’ in our judgment the Palestinian people were deliberately fragmented so as to facilitate the maintenance of control over a resisting, initially majority non-Jewish population; this ambition to control Palestine was complicated by the additional Zionist objective of seeking to be and be seen as ‘a democratic state;’ such an objective, given the demographic imbalance, virtually necessitated at the inception of Israel as a state, the expulsion of several hundred thousand Palestinians and the destruction of hundreds of Palestinian villages to discourage any prospect of Palestinians returning after the war to reclaim their places of residence and way of life; such exclusion was seen as vital if Israel was to achieve and maintain a Jewish majority population within its borders; the Zionist puzzle, tragic for both peoples, was that only apartheid structures could provide a solution to this three-sided challenge—that is, establishing Israel as simultaneously Jewish, democratic, and hegemonic;

         <(3) this Report has been widely used since its publication, and especially to provide political support and intellectual guidance mandating a civil society shift in tactics and commentary from a focus on ‘ending occupation’ to ‘ending apartheid;’ in my view, this is a crucial and timely shift as international law and the UN had been long ignored by Israel, diplomacy and armed struggle had been tried futile and utterly failed, and Palestinian leadership, such as it is, has faced both a series of stone walls and the humiliation of the notorious separation wall declared contrary to international law by 14 of 15 judges of the International Court of Justice. In effect, there is no serious alternative for Palestinians (and even Israelis) committed to a peaceful future than to rid the Israeli/Palestinian relationship of its present apartheid character.

 

 

Clearing the One and Only Path to a Just and Sustainable Peace

–peace between these two peoples can only be achieved by a credible acknowledgement of their equality of rights with respect to national self-determination; the apartheid structures that currently subjugates Palestinians epitomizes a relationship of inequality; the core obstacle to peace is apartheid, and once this obstacle is removed a productive diplomacy will become possible so long as it proceeds at all stages on the basis equality, keeping in mind that Oslo diplomacy collapsed because it encoded inequality into every aspect of its framework (U.S. as intermediary, excluding international law) and by adopting a bargaining process that favored Israel due to disparities in power and influence;

<the overriding political challenge is how to clear this path to peace, given Israeli firm control and resistance to even the acknowledgement of apartheid as descriptive of the current relationship between the two peoples; Israeli apartheid cannot be ended without a reformulation of Zionist goals; Israel must be persuaded to become content with an existence within a secular state hosting a Jewish homeland; such an altered stance would require abandoning the insistence on being a Jewish state; such a downsizing of Zionist objectives would actually be consistent with the scope of the original British pledge as set forth in the ultra-colonialist Balfour Declaration (recent archival research evidently establishes that a Jewish homeland was actually the longer term intention of Lord Alfred Balfour, as if this matters a century later); Israeli apartheid will not be dismantled until there is significant further growth of the Palestinian global solidarity movement, including the backing of some governments, especially several key governments in the global South; there would need to be sufficient, sustained global pressure to induce Israeli leaders and citizens to recalculate their interests, leading enough to decide to base their future on cooperation and coexistence with the Palestinians rather than their domination and exploitation; at this point, such an outcome seems unlikely and even utopian, but history has a strange way of staging dramatic surprises, and in such cases where an abrupt reversal of policy takes places, it will be only be admitted as a possibility after it has already been decided upon;

<The South African ending of apartheid was precisely such a surprise; it was totally unexpected in the 1990s that the combination of African resistance and the global anti-apartheid campaign would produce a peaceful transition to a multi-racial constitutional democracy presided over by Nelson Mandela, who until his release was serving a long-term prison sentence as an alleged terrorist; what changed so abruptly in South Africa was not the moral stance of the white elite that had invented and cruelly imposed the apartheid structure as a supposedly permanent solution to race relations in the country, but rather a cold recalculation of interests, and especially a comparison of the balance of advantages and disadvantages of continuing to exist as a pariah state in the world and abandoning apartheid, thereby risking African governance and possible retaliation, yet by so risking, taking a course that would alone restore the international legitimacy of the South African state;

<Of course, there are many differences in the Israeli situation, including Israel’s disavowal of apartheid as relevant to its management of the relationship between the two peoples, as well as Israel’s considerable success in avoiding pariah status within the international community through the practice of sophisticated diplomacy and public relations, backed by an aggressive arms sales program, and above all, by being the beneficiary of the geopolitical muscle of the U.S., as well as enjoying the quieter support of Europe;

<By adopting the apartheid paradigm as descriptive of the Palestinian situation it becomes possible to align civil society activism with international law, and even more important, encouraging the Palestinian national movement to concentrate its efforts on the one and only path that could produce an acceptable peace agreement. Any other approach seems doomed to some kind of appalling continuation of the present oppressive daily circumstances that has been fate of the Palestinian people for far too long. We should all reflect on the excruciating reality that this is the 50th anniversary of the Occupation and the 70th year in which Palestinians and their descendants have lived as refugees. No people should be compelled to endure such a fate.

 

 

Conclusion

 

It requires no great wisdom to observe that the future is a black box. We know that achieving peace and justice for these two peoples will require a lengthy struggle that needs to place its trust in ‘a politics of impossibility,’ or as the poet W.H. Auden once put it: “We who are about to die demand a miracle.” And while awaiting such a political miracle, we should accept our human responsibility to aid and abet the Palestinian struggle for rights, self-determination, and a just peace. The attainment of such goals would also inevitably reshape the destiny of Israeli Jews toward a more humanistic and benevolent future.