“Israeli Apartheid Week” kicks off around the world

February 13, 2007

* Extreme left-wing Jews provide useful cover for the organizers
* Does anyone know what apartheid actually is?
* British Embassy in Tel Aviv helps pay for students to attend
* When is “Saudi Apartheid Week”?

 

1. “Israeli Apartheid Week” kicks off
2. An insult to black South Africans
3. Toronto University officially hosts web page advertising “Israel Apartheid Week”
4. When is “Saudi Apartheid Week”?
5. Avi Shlaim and Norman Finkelstein
6. Some might call them self-loathing
7. Ilan Pappe: Iran should get the bomb
8. “One of the most progressive states in the world”
9. “Modern Israel is a far cry from old South Africa” (By Irshad Manji, The Australian, Feb. 9, 2007)
10. “Worldwide events mark ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’” (Yediot Ahronot, Feb. 9, 2007)



[Note by Tom Gross]

“ISRAELI APARTHEID WEEK” KICKS OFF

Following on from the success of Jimmy Carter’s recent book which defames the state of Israel with various untruths, an international “Israeli Apartheid Week” began yesterday. It will last until Sunday, and be held jointly in New York, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, London, and at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

“Israel Apartheid Week” is comprised of several events featuring professors, students and economists. These include lectures, information booths, cultural events, film screenings and demonstrations.

On the official website (www.endisraeliapartheid.net), organizers claim “The past few years have seen an explosion of literature and analysis that has placed Israel alongside other settler-colonial states like South Africa, arguing that Israel is in fact an apartheid state, not just a belligerent occupying power.”

They say that the aim of the week is to “push forward the analysis of Israel as an apartheid state and to bolster support for the boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign.”

AN INSULT TO BLACK SOUTH AFRICANS

Israel is, of course, not an apartheid state. Indeed it is the opposite. It is by far the most egalitarian state in the Middle East. Arab Israelis enjoy social and political freedoms and benefits only dreamed of by minority groups in most other countries in the world.

Israel grants full freedom of speech to its Arab parliamentarians, even when they call for Israel to be dismantled and for Hizbullah to bomb Israeli Jews. There is almost no another country in the world which permits such a degree of freedom to its internal opposition groups.

By saying that Israeli Arabs and Palestinians are being subjected to apartheid, Carter and others not only insult Israeli Jews, but also grossly malign black South Africans. Nelson Mandela and other black South Africans have been an inspiration to the world in the way they have demonstrated peaceful coexistence with the white population, whereas both the Palestinian Fatah and Hamas leadership and their supporters have repeatedly called for the mass murder of Jews, and taught kindergarten children that blowing up buses full of Israeli children is a glorious objective.

TORONTO UNIVERSITY OFFICIALLY HOSTS WEB PAGE ADVERTISING “ISRAEL APARTHEID WEEK”

The official University of Toronto web site includes a web page advertising the upcoming events. It can be seen here.

This page labels the entire current state of Israel as “Palestine” and places it next to a map of South Africa.

In response, the University of Toronto issued an official statement, “Concerns have been raised by some members of the community about an upcoming series of events to be held on campus by the Arab Students’ Collective under the title Israeli Apartheid Week... all University activity is subject to the laws of Canada, and behaviour or speech that constitutes hatred or incitement to hatred against any group will be dealt with quickly and appropriately.”

Presumably, advocating the destruction of a whole nation does not fall under the term “hate speech”.

The itinerary for the planned events at Toronto can be seen here.

Amongst the organizers of the events in England at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) are Israeli Arab students who have their education subsidized by the government of Israel, and whose air fares to London for “Apartheid week” are being partly funded by the British Embassy in Tel Aviv.

WHEN IS “SAUDI APARTHEID WEEK”?

Only last month, Israel appointed Ghaleb Majadleh, a Muslim Arab, to the cabinet. For more, see the dispatch Israel appoints its first Arab cabinet minister (& Mossad-KGB double agent dies) (Jan. 11, 2007).

There are Arabs represented in many different political parties of both right and left in the Israeli Knesset and local councils. In fact, Arabs in Israel have the opportunity to progress in virtually every sector of society, from economics to politics to culture to sport. The Israeli soccer team, for example, has for many years included Israeli-Arab players. For more, see the dispatch Scoring goals against the “Israeli apartheid” myth (March 31, 2005). One of the players mentioned in this dispatch, Walid Badir, only last week scored for Israel in its game against Ukraine.

Similar to most other Arab Muslim countries, Saudi Arabia does not afford equal (or virtually any) rights to women, Christians, Jews, Hindus and others. To see Saudi apartheid in action please look at the first picture on this page, depicting a road for “Muslims only”.

AVI SHLAIM AND NORMAN FINKELSTEIN

A host of Jewish left-wing extremists will be participating in the “Israeli Apartheid Week” events. For example, at Oxford University, speakers include Israeli-born academic Avi Shlaim, who has based virtually his whole career on slandering Israel.

At Hamilton University in Ontario Canada, Professor Norman Finkelstein will be speaking on “Palestine & Israel: Roots of Conflict, Prospects for Peace.”

For Finkelstein’s views on the Holocaust, see the first note in the dispatch David Irving: Auschwitz “was a tourist attraction” (& British Muslims scrap Holocaust Day) (Jan. 31, 2007).

Also speaking in Montreal is Israeli-Arab Member of the Knesset (Israeli parliament) Jamal Zahalka. He told Yediot Ahronot (article attached below) that “Calling the occupation apartheid isn’t an overstatement, it’s an understatement... The Israeli occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are worse than apartheid.”

Zahalka apparently doesn’t see the irony that he is a freely elected member of the Israeli Knesset yet claims Israel is like apartheid in South Africa. Apparently he is unaware of what apartheid actually was.

He also seems to have “forgotten” that Israel withdrew entirely from Gaza in 2005, and that Gaza, for only the second time in two millennia has now been ethnically cleansed of any Jewish presence (other than a young Israeli, Gilad Shalit, kidnapped by the Hamas-led Palestinian government he apparently so admires). For more, see: Exodus from Gaza.

SOME MIGHT CALL THEM SELF-LOATHING

Among Israeli left-wing agitators taking part in the “Israeli Apartheid Week” events are the writer Yitzhak Laor (a poet, playwright and journalist for Ha’aretz), the filmmaker Eyal Sivan (who also teaches in the cinema department of Israel’s Sapir college in the Negev in southern Israel), the historian Dr Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin (from Ben Gurion University also of the Negev), who will speak at SOAS on “De-Arabization of Jews” (whatever that is), and Ryvka Bar Zohar, who is helping to organize the New York part of Israeli Apartheid Week.

Ilan Pappe from Haifa University, an advocate of ending the state of Israel and before that of boycotting Israeli institutions (including his own), will speak at Oxford University on “Resisting Apartheid: Divestment and Solidarity” on Friday. Chairing the meeting is Prof. Steven Rose, a British Jew who has led calls for a worldwide boycott of the Jewish state.

Other possible speakers mentioned include Prof. Gabi Piterberg, an Israeli from the University of California at Los Angeles, who has previously spoken on “Zionism and Apartheid.”

The participation of these Jewish academics has been warmly welcomed by many non-Jewish haters of Israel.

ILAN PAPPE: IRAN SHOULD GET THE BOMB

Last Sunday, at the American Colony Hotel in east Jerusalem, the unofficial base for the PLO in Jerusalem, Ilan Pappe received several standing ovations as he addressed a packed crowd to launch his new book, “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”.

According to my sources present, the audience included many western journalists, European diplomats, publicly-funded local UN staff, and anti-Israeli Jews including Mordechai Vanunu.

In his talk, Pappe, made an attack on Israeli Jewish politicians of left and right, and said it was “horrible” that Shimon Peres had received a Nobel peace prize. (He did not criticize Yasser Arafat for getting one.)

According to my sources present, Pappe said he was sympathetic to the idea of Iran getting a nuclear weapon, and “Arab states should have one too.”

He received rousing lengthy applause and many standing ovations.

“ONE OF THE MOST PROGRESSIVE STATES IN THE WORLD”

Partly in response to Jimmy Carter’s recent critique of Israel as an apartheid state, Irshad Manji, a brave Muslim woman who has dared to speak out against Muslim extremists and their fellow travelers, has in a new article labeled Israel “one of the most progressive states in the world.”

In her article (attached below), Manji (who is a long time subscriber to this email list) asks a number of important questions such as “Would an apartheid state award its top literary prize to an Arab? Israel honoured Emile Habibi in 1986, before the intifada might have made such a choice politically shrewd. Would an apartheid state encourage Hebrew-speaking schoolchildren to learn Arabic? Would road signs throughout the land appear in both languages? Even my country, the proudly bilingual Canada, doesn’t meet that standard.”

She continues: “Would a Hebrew newspaper in an apartheid state run an article by an Arab Israeli about why the Zionist adventure has been a total failure? Would it run that article on Israel’s independence day? Would an apartheid state ensure conditions for the freest Arabic press in the Middle East, a press so free that it can demonstrably abuse its liberties and keep on rolling? To this day, the East Jerusalem daily Al-Quds hasn’t retracted an anti-Israel letter supposedly penned by Nelson Mandela but proven to have been written by an Arab living in The Netherlands.”

Her article, from The Australian, should be read in full if you have time.

For more on Manji, who is author of “The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim’s Call for Reform in Her Faith,” see the dispatch “How I learned to love the wall” & more on Wafa Sultan, other Muslim “dissidents” (March 21, 2006).

-- Tom Gross



FULL ARTICLES

“WOULD AN APARTHEID STATE AWARD ITS TOP LITERARY PRIZE TO AN ARAB?”

Irshad Manji: Modern Israel is a far cry from old South Africa
It’s absurd to apply the term apartheid to one of the most progressive states in the world, maintains Irshad Manji
The Australian
February 9, 2007

www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21194124-7583,00.html

In the past year, a stream of thinkers across the West – from Australian writer Antony Loewenstein to US academics John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt – has punctured the usual parameters of debate about Israel. I, for one, welcome any effort to prevent ideas from calcifying into ideologies. As a Muslim refusenik, that’s what I do by defying the conventional prejudices of my fellow Muslims. Why would I resent refuseniks of a different kind?

It’s precisely because I embrace intellectual pluralism that I respectfully challenge Jimmy Carter’s recent critique of Israel as an apartheid state. To be sure, I’ve long admired the former US president. In my book The Trouble with Islam Today I cite him as an example of how religion can be invoked to tap the best of humanity. In no small measure, it was Carter’s appreciation of spiritual values that brought together Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, compelling these former foes to clasp hands over a peace deal.

Which is why Carter’s new book disappoints so many of us who champion co-existence. Entitled Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, the book argues that Israel’s conduct towards Palestinians mimics South Africa’s long-time demonisation of blacks. Of course, certain Israeli politicians have spewed venom at Palestinians, as have some Arab leaders towards Jews, but Israel is far more complex – and diverse – than slogans about the occupation would suggest. In a state practising apartheid, would Arab Muslim legislators wield veto power over anything? At only 20per cent of the population, would Arabs even be eligible for election if they squirmed under the thumb of apartheid? Would an apartheid state extend voting rights to women and the poor in local elections, which Israel did for the first time in the history of Palestinian Arabs?

Would the vast majority of Arab Israeli citizens turn out to vote in national elections, as they’ve usually done? Would an apartheid state have several Arab political parties, as Israel does? In recent Israeli elections, two Arab parties found themselves disqualified for expressly supporting terrorism against the Jewish state. However, Israel’s Supreme Court, exercising its independence, overturned both disqualifications. Under any system of apartheid, would the judiciary be free of political interference?

Would an apartheid state award its top literary prize to an Arab? Israel honoured Emile Habibi in 1986, before the intifada might have made such a choice politically shrewd. Would an apartheid state encourage Hebrew-speaking schoolchildren to learn Arabic? Would road signs throughout the land appear in both languages? Even my country, the proudly bilingual Canada, doesn’t meet that standard.

Would an apartheid state be home to universities where Arabs and Jews mingle at will, or apartment blocks where they live side by side? Would an apartheid state bestow benefits and legal protections on Palestinians who live outside of Israel but work inside its borders? Would human rights organisations operate openly in an apartheid state? They do in Israel.

For that matter, military officials go public with their criticisms of government policies. In October 2003, the Israel Defence Forces’ chief of staff told the press that road closures in the West Bank and Gaza were feeding Palestinian anger. Two weeks later, four former heads of the Shin Bet security service blasted the occupation and called on Ariel Sharon to withdraw troops unilaterally, which later happened in Gaza. Would an apartheid state stomach so much dissent from those mandated to protect the state?

Above all, would media debate the most basic building blocks of the nation? Would a Hebrew newspaper in an apartheid state run an article by an Arab Israeli about why the Zionist adventure has been a total failure? Would it run that article on Israel’s independence day? Would an apartheid state ensure conditions for the freest Arabic press in the Middle East, a press so free that it can demonstrably abuse its liberties and keep on rolling? To this day, the East Jerusalem daily Al-Quds hasn’t retracted an anti-Israel letter supposedly penned by Nelson Mandela but proven to have been written by an Arab living in The Netherlands.

Even the eminence grise of Palestinian nationalism, the late Edward Said, stated flat out that “Israel is not South Africa”. How could it be when an Israeli publisher translated Said’s seminal work, Orientalism, into Hebrew? I’ll cap this point with a question that Said himself asked of Arabs: “Why don’t we fight harder for freedom of opinions in our own societies, a freedom, no one needs to be told, that scarcely exists?”

I disagree: some people still need to be told that Arab “freedoms” don’t compare to those of Israel. The people who need reminding are those who now push the South Africa analogy a step further by equating Israel with Nazi Germany. To them, Zionists are committing hate crimes under the totalitarian nightmare that they dub “Zio-Nazism” (like neo-Nazism).

When it comes to granting citizenship, Israel discriminates in the same way as an affirmative action policy, giving the edge to a specific minority that has faced genocidal injustice. Does this amount to Nazism? Spare me. As a Muslim, I could become a citizen of Israel without having to convert. After all, Israel was one of the few countries anywhere to grant shelter, then citizenship, to the Vietnamese boatpeople who sought political asylum in the late 1970s. I don’t have to wonder how Syria compares on that score.

Now for the ultimate proof of Israel’s flimsy credentials as a bunker of Hitlerian hate: It’s the only country in the Middle East to which Arab Christians are voluntarily migrating. And they are also thriving there, notching much higher university attendance rates than the Arab Muslim citizens of Israel, and enjoying better overall health than Jews.

The Holy Land is gut-wrenching and complicated. As much as I applaud Israel’s efforts to foster pluralism, I condemn its illegal Jewish settlements and less visible crimes such as the diversion of water away from Palestinian towns. These contradictions of the Israeli state should be exposed, discussed, even pilloried. And they are: openly as well as often. So there’s little point in deciding whose camp is the paragon of vice or virtue. The better question might be: who’s willing to hear what they don’t want to hear? That’s the test of whether a country is more than black or white.

 

“WORSE THAN APARTHEID”

Worldwide events mark ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’
Israeli-Arab MK Zahalka to speak at ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ event in Montreal; Organizers call for sanctions against Israel
By Moran Rada
Yediot Ahronot
February 9, 2007

www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3362888,00.html

“Israeli Apartheid Week” will take place for the third consecutive year starting next Monday through to Saturday.

Israeli-Arab MK Jamal Zahalka was invited to speak at one of the events marking the week in Montréal on Thursday.

“Calling the occupation apartheid isn’t an overstatement, it’s an understatement,” Zahalka told Ynet, “The Israeli occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are worse than apartheid.”

“Israel Apartheid Week” will be comprised of several events including lectures, informational booths, cultural events, film screenings and demonstrations held at various North American and European campuses.

Organizer’s of the events said on the week’s official website, “The past few years have seen an explosion of literature and analysis that has placed Israel alongside other settler-colonial states like South Africa, arguing that Israel is in fact an apartheid state, not just a belligerent occupying power.”

According to the organizers, the week’s goal was to “push forward the analysis of Israel as an apartheid state and to bolster support for the boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign in accordance with the demands outlined in the July 2005 Statement: full equality for Arab citizens of Israel, an end to the occupation and colonization of the West Bank and Gaza, and the implementation of the right of return and compensation for Palestinian refugees pursuant to UN resolution 194.”

Zahalka told Ynet he would speak about the situation in the territories during his speech in Montréal. “An apartheid situation exists in the West Bank. There are settlements and there are Palestinians, and there is a complete separation between them,” he said.

“There are roads for Jews only, there are checkpoints, and there is a curfew. The population is separated. The human rights of the Palestinians are completely violated,” Zahalka added.

He also pointed out that during the apartheid, blacks and whites were separated, but the current situation was of Palestinians being separated from Palestinians, through the use of fences, roadblocks, and limited travel.

“It’s worse,” he said, “Even those arriving from South Africa say the situation in the occupied territories is worse than the apartheid.”

Zahalka said it was his dream for there to be equality amongst Palestinians and Israelis, and that he wanted Israel to be a country for all its citizens.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.