By Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh *
It is not easy to remain a racist oppressor and it is getting harder to keep deflecting the critics by asking them to focus on nonexistent threats (like Iran). The Human Rights Council accuses Israel of war crimes in Gaza and the Israeli government panics and deals with it as a public relations challenge!. Israeli human rights groups challenge Israel home demolitions in Jerusalem and a UN experts’ panel names Israel as profiting from Ivory Coast blood diamonds. Heads are buried in the sand. Israeli leaders are either foregoing trips (to Europe where they may be arrested for war crimes) or going to speak and heckled and challenged by human rights activists (e.g. Olmert’s tour of the US). Israel is being called to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Spain is fuming after Netanyahu asks the right-wing government of Italy to retain control of UNIFIL. Amnesty study shows how much Israel steals Palestinian water and deprives Palestinians of water. And the list is endless.
Israel however has lots of money from US taxpayers and from extortion and from deluded Jewish Zionists around the world. Zionism deploys legions of lobbyists and media/hasbara people and they are all working overtime. Some are members of the US Congress and managed to pass resolutions that violate US laws but please Israel. One Israeli apologist heckled Jewish American Anna Baltzer and Dr Mustafa Barghouthi on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart (see action alert below). Desperate mean actions are taken in last ditch attempts maintain a costly Jewish state with racist laws. Israeli jails are filling with human rights activists, conscientious objectors, civil resistance people and even journalists. Psy-ops (psychological warfare) are being waged by Israel to crush resistance to its colonial activities and stem the increased exposure in the era of the internet (when a video of settlers attacking olive pickers and cutting olive trees can circulate to millions in seconds). We see more denial of entry to Internationals, petty denial of education rights to Palestinian students (see Action below) and desperate moves to hide the atrocities.
All this (much of it backfiring) is reminiscent of what happened to south Africa in the 10 years preceding the end of apartheid. Thus, we are optimistic that we are in the final stage of a multi-stage process. The boycotts, divestments, and sanctions movement is mushrooming. More Israelis are joining the human wave demanding justice and equality and the Zionist movement has become more desperate in its fraudulent use of “anti-Semitism” and “self hating Jews” to silence the critics. Increasingly paranoid and shrieking delusions, even some life-long Zionists have started to question the direction of the movement and its increasingly ghettoized mentality. Others remain in their racist and ultimately self-destructive ways (several homes demolished in Jerusalem and in the Negev just the past two days creating far more animosity).
Instead of taking advantage of the weaknesses inherent in a racist ideology bent on ethnic cleansing, some Palestinians fell into the trap created by the Oslo process of talking about endless negotiations and elections for a “Palestinian Authority” (PA). In my humble opinion, the PA has already outlived its usefulness (it was supposed to be interim for five years anyway and now it is 16 years). The only elections we should be talking about are elections to the Palestinian National Council (rebuilding the PLO). This would be critical to avoid reducing the Palestinian question to the form of the Bantustans/ghettos in the West Bank and Gaza and who rules these ghettos. It is time to reshape and reinvigorate the struggle for freedom. And once Palestinians are free, the Jews who live here will be freed from the self-imposed chains of Zionism and racism.
Amnesty international devastating report on water usage in the West Bank is now available (PDF file): http://www.ngo-monitor.org/data/images/File/Amnesty_water_112.pdf
Action 1: Fill out the form to a) thank the Daily show for interviewing Anna Baltzer and Mustafa Barghouthi and b) ask why the version broadcast was edited in a way to remove the most critical parts of what Anna said. The major issues cut out were (1) the US role in aiding Israel, (2) the lack of adequate coverage in mainstream US media, and (3) the Palestinian-led movement for Boycott / Divestment / Sanctions (BDS) to nonviolently pressure Israel to comply with international law. Go to http://www.comedycentral.com/help/questionsCC.jhtml (make sure to choose The Daily Show with Jon Stewart as your topic). You may also want to join the forums of the daily show and post your thoughts there and also call 212-468-1700.
(the unedited version) Dr. Mustafa Barghouti and Anna Baltzer on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show http://www.thedailyshow.com/?kw=thedailyshow&xrs=SI_70251174_3712568170_0
Action 2: Send a letter to the Israeli military authorities by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by fax (+972 3 697 6306) and let them know that you demand that they release Berlanty Azzam immediately so that she can resume and complete her last year of studies at the Vatican-sponsored Bethlehem University (she is being threatened with deportation back to Gaza).
Action 3: Resist the visit by the racist “mayor” of occupied Jerusalem representing the apartheid regime that built 50,000 housing units in Jerusalem for illegal settlers while demolishing hundreds of Palestinian homes in the city. November 3, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. Gates Concert Hall, Newman Center for the Performing Arts, University of Denver Campus 2344 E. Iliff Avenue, Denver. Demonstrations and other civil resistance actions requested to highlight Israeli apartheid and ethnic cleansing policies.
Finally a report from the conference “United in Struggle against Israeli Colonialism, Occupation and Racism”
24-25 October, 2009
Towards the unity of all forces in struggle for boycott, divestment and sanctions for Palestine
Between the 24th and the 25th of October, 2009, the Occupied Palestine and Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative (OPGAI), together with the Alternative Information Center (AIC), organized an international seminar in the city of Bethlehem, Palestine. The seminar gathered Palestinian, international and anti-colonial Israeli activists, researchers, and others interested in promoting justice for the Palestinian people. The seminar placed a special emphasis on the economic interests behind the occupation and the potential impact that the international campaigns for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) can make in promoting justices for the Palestinian people. The seminar aimed to review, develop, and document the Palestinian advocacy mechanisms locally and internationally, to determine the impact of such efforts so far, in addition to raising the level of cooperation and coordination amongst the various related actions and activities.
The conduct of the seminar coincided with the continuing unprecedented state of polarization within the Palestinian people. The severe and disastrous consequences of this internal dispute not only hamper the current political performance of the Palestinian people, but also do away with years of sacrifice, struggle and accomplishments. Now, the Israeli occupation is at a crossroads facing a potentially historic opportunity to continue its politics of separation and expansion on all fronts, marked by the intensification of political assassinations, arrests, restrictions on movement and basic freedoms, takeover of lands, and the construction of settlements. While the process of Judaization and isolation of Jerusalem is accelerating, Israel insists on continuing the settlement and expansion activities in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, the daily crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip, and the politics of aggression and discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel.
In light of the decision taken by the United Nations Human Rights Council to adopt the Report of the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (the Goldstone Report), the United in Struggle Seminar joins in the call on Arab, Palestinian and international civil society and official institutions to take appropriate measures to bring officials from the occupying Israeli state to justice.
The participants in the United in Struggle Seminar call for the following:
1. To immediately restore Palestinian national unity.
2. To activate the Palestine Liberation Organization in a democratic and inclusive manner that will permit the participation of all Palestinian forces and factions based on the Cairo Agreement of 2005.
3. To activate and construct Palestinian national frameworks that will reinforce the capacity of the Palestinian people to resist the Israeli occupation and to consolidate progressive Palestinian principals.
4. To continue the efforts on all levels to hold the state of Israel and its leadership accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity in international courts and milieus.
5. To consolidate and continue the efforts to end the blockade on the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.
6. To firmly oppose politics and projects of normalization with Israel in the Arab world by activating the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions for Palestine campaign (BDS).
7. To emphasise the 2005 invitation extended by Palestinian civil society to conscientious Israelis to support the call for BDS for the sake of justice and genuine peace.
8. To reinforce a stronger and more efficient position in the Arab states and societies to defend Jerusalem, in addition to boycotting all political, economic and cultural activities complicit with Israeli efforts to Judaize and isolate Jerusalem.
The Seminar Organizing Committee
* Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD, A Bedouin in Cyberspace, a villager at home. Author of Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli-Palestinian Struggle. http://qumsiyeh.org