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Targeting Israeli Apartheid
Friday, 5 March 2010
Launched in Toronto in 2005, Israeli Apartheid Week is an annual series of university lectures, rallies, multimedia events, cultural performances, films, and demonstrations held in cities worldwide to educate people about the destructiveness of Israeli apartheid.
Reports like the Cape Town, South Africa-based Human Sciences Research Council's (HSRC) May 2009 one titled, "Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid" highlight what many others understand, including former UN Special Human Rights Rapporteur for Occupied Palestine, John Dugard, stating in January 2007:
Article 7(1)(j) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court calls apartheid a crime, stating:
In 2008, writing for the Campaign to End Israeli Apartheid, Karine MacAllister said in her article titled, "Applicability of the Crime of Apartheid to Israel" that exclusivism is key to understanding the essence of the Israeli - Palestinian conflict. It:
As implemented, Zionism's essence is "a sophisticated legal, social, economic and political regime of racial discrimination that has led to colonialism and apartheid as well as the dispossession and displacement of the Palestinian people." Colonialism flourishes by separating indigenous people from their land and heritage.
Yet Fourth Geneva's Article 49 states:
The Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (the Apartheid Convention) defines it as:
Apartheid is one of the worst forms of racism.
The Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination defines it as:
The 1977 Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions (Protocol I) includes among other grave breaches:
The October 2008 "UNITED AGAINST Apartheid, Colonialism and Occupation DIGNITY & JUSTICE for the Palestinian People" Palestinian Civil Society's Strategic Position Paper for the April 20 - 24, 2009 Durban Review Conference called racism and foreign domination the root causes of Palestinian suffering under decades of "settler-colonialism, occupation and institutionalized racial discrimination."
It affirmed the Durban Declaration's "principles of equal rights and self-determination of peoples and stress(ed) that states must protect such equality as a matter of highest priority."
It acknowledged that "no derogation from the prohibition of racial discrimination, genocide, the crime of apartheid and slavery is permitted (and recognized them as) crimes against humanity (and) major sources and manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance (and) wherever and whenever they occurred, they must be condemned and their re-occurrence prevented."
Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW)
Launched in Toronto in 2005 by over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations, it's an annual series of university lectures, rallies, multimedia events, cultural performances, films, and demonstrations held in cities worldwide to educate people about the nature and destructiveness of Israeli apartheid, and to strengthen the global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
From March 1 - 14, 2010, they'll be held in 40 cities:
Abu Dis in the West Bank, Amsterdam, Bard (NY), Berkeley (CA), Beirut, Bethlehem, Bogota, Bologna, Boston, Cape Town, Caracas, Chicago, Connecticut, Dundee (Scotland), Durban, Eastern Cape, Edinburgh, Edmonton, Gaza, Glasgow, Guelph (Canada), Hamilton, Houston, Ireland, Jenin, Johannesburg, Kingston, London (Canada), London (UK), Melbourne, Montreal, New York, Ottawa, Oxford, Peterborough (UK), Pisa, Pretoria, Providence, Puebla (Mexico), Rome, San Francisco, Seattle, Sudbury, Tilburg (The Netherlands), Toronto, Utrecht (The Netherlands), Vancouver, Waterloo (Canada), and Winnipeg.
Its supporters call it an expression of Palestinian solidarity, a call to boycott, divest and impose sanctions, and a demand that Israel be held accountable for decades of oppressive occupation, imperial wars, defiling international laws, expropriating Palestinian land, denying self-determination, the right of return, targeted killings, torture, illegal arrests and incarcerations, and the suppression of equal rights and social, political and economic justice.
They'll also highlight apartheid's environmental costs, the importance of ending a colonial occupation, and a vision for equality, justice and peace.
On March 2, AlJazeera headlined, "Israeli Apartheid Week kicks off," explaining the annual event's "condemnation of the Zionist regime's suppression of the Palestinians" through protests and a host of related speeches and other activities.
Haaretz ran several articles, including Salman Masalha's March 3 commentary headlined, "Israel's apartheid doesn't stop at the West Bank," saying:
On the same day Haaretz's Danna Harman headlined, "Universities across the globe mark Israeli Apartheid Week," highlighting Israeli participants and calling the events "some of the most important (ones) in the Palestine solidarity calendar, according to its organizers.
Harman also quoted Britain's Jewish Board of Deputies' David Katz calling the participation of Jews in the events "atrocious....They are free to do as they please, but it's atrocious. I think they don't understand the analogy they are making....which is insulting to those who suffered under apartheid."
Jewish South African immigrant Benjamin Pogrund agreed saying "Israelis (taking) part in this week should know better."
The Canadian Ontario legislature "unanimously condemned Israeli Apartheid Week, voting for a resolution that denounced the campus events." Will Ottawa, London and Washington be far behind?
Conservative legislator Peter Shulman told Shalom Life, a Toronto Jewish web site: "The use of the phrase 'Israeli Apartheid Week' is about as close to hate speech as one can get without being arrested, and I'm not certain it doesn't actually cross over the line."
The Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism (CPCCA), a voluntary association of 22 MPs exploiting anti-semitism for political purposes, calls "anti-Zionism....cover for anti-semitism," and perpetrators should be held criminally liable.
In America, The New York Times was silent, but the Washington Post's Richard Cohen, an unabashed Israeli flack, said Israeli Apartheid Week reflects anti-semitism and "imaginary" not "legitimate" grievances "constructed out of lies about the Jewish state....denigrat(ing) the Palestinian cause....Israel has its faults, but it is not motivated by racism."
A Canada National Post commentary headlined, "A festival of bigotry (featuring) rabid expressions of hatred against Israel and its Jewish inhabitants....with extremist speakers whipping crowds into the sort of frenzy one more usually sees in newsreel footage from the streets of Cairo or Gaza City....IAW types don't care about human rights. They care about smearing the Jewish state."
Pro-Israeli organizations denounced IAW, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for one highlighting the "extreme anti-Israel rhetoric....accusations of Israeli racism and apartheid....and allegation that Israel is committing war crimes and genocide against the Palestinian people," the ADL, of course, calling this hateful.
Organizers respond saying "Join us in making 2010 a year of struggle against apartheid and for justice, equality, and peace."
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Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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