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From South Africa to Israel/Palestine: Using Boycott to End Apartheid -Rania Masri -August 19, 2009 Co-sponsored by Balance and Accuracy in Journalism,

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Presentation on theme: "From South Africa to Israel/Palestine: Using Boycott to End Apartheid -Rania Masri -August 19, 2009 Co-sponsored by Balance and Accuracy in Journalism,"— Presentation transcript:

1 From South Africa to Israel/Palestine: Using Boycott to End Apartheid -Rania Masri -August 19, 2009 Co-sponsored by Balance and Accuracy in Journalism, Elders for Peace, and the Coalition for Peace with Justice -Rania Masri -August 19, 2009 Co-sponsored by Balance and Accuracy in Journalism, Elders for Peace, and the Coalition for Peace with Justice

2 What is Apartheid? “…similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practiced in southern Africa” which have “the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them, in particular by means such as segregation, expropriation of land, and denial of the right to leave and return to their country, the right to a nationality and the right to freedom of movement and residence” (Article II, International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, UN General Assembly Resolution 3068, 30 Nov 1973).

3 Who says Israel enforces Apartheid? “Through its army, the government of Israel practices a brutal form of Apartheid in the territory it occupies.” Former Education Minister of Israel, Shulamit Aloni.

4 “We do not limit ourselves to denying the [Palestinian] people human rights. We not only rob of them of their freedom, land and water. We apply collective punishment to millions of people and even, in revenge-driven frenzy, destroy the electricity supply for one and half million civilians. Let them "sit in the darkness" and "starve".” Former Education Minister of Israel, Shulamit Aloni.

5 "We enthusiastically chose to become a colonial society, ignoring international treaties, expropriating lands, transferring settlers from Israel to the occupied territories, engaging in theft and finding justification for all these activities. …

6 Who says Israel enforces Apartheid? “We established an apartheid regime in the occupied territories….” Israeli Attorney General, Michael Ben-Yair (2002)

7 Who else says Israel enforces Apartheid? Archibishop Desmond Tuto US President Jimmy Carter former UN Special Rapporteur for human rights, Prof. John Dugard UN General Assembly President Fr. Miguel Brockman Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa (HSRC) (2 June 2009) former South African prime minister Hendrik Verwoerd, considered the architect of apartheid said, “Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state.” (2006)“Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state.” Naomi Klein …

8 Israel’s oppression takes 3 forms 1.The prolonged occupation and colonization of Gaza and the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, and other Arab territories; 2.The system of racial discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel; and 3.The persistent denial of the UN-sanctioned rights of the Palestinian refugees, paramount among which is their right to reparations and to return to their homes of origin, in accordance with UNGA Res. 194.

9 LAND THEFT AND EXPULSIONS CONTINUE

10 [Legal] Land Theft and Expulsions Continue “On 2 August 2009, after cordoning off part of the Arab neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in east Jerusalem, Israeli police evicted two Palestinian families (more than 50 people) from their homes; Jewish settlers immediately moved into the emptied houses. Although Israeli police cited a ruling by the country's supreme court, the evicted Arab families had been living there for more than 50 years.” (Guardian. 18 August 2009)

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12 Outside his home, Maher Hanoun hung this banner. his two brothers and their wives and children and the Gawis, 54 persons all together, are now sleeping under trees 50 feet from their former homes

13 Seeing the ‘other’ as nonexistent “ The dream underlying Israel's plans is encapsulated by a wall that separates a settler's town from the Palestinian town on a nearby West Bank hill. The Israeli side of the wall is painted with the image of the countryside beyond the wall – but without the Palestinian town, depicting just nature, grass and trees. Is this not ethnic cleansing at its purest, imagining the outside beyond the wall as empty, virginal and waiting to be settled?” (Guardian. 18 August 2009)

14 Duplicating the Prison of Gaza Israel has begun barring movement between Israel and the West Bank for those holding a foreign passport, including humanitarian aid workers and thousands of Palestinian residents. (August 18, 2009,

15 BUT ISRAELI APARTHEID IS NOT LIMITED TO THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

16 Israel’s oppression takes 3 forms 1.The prolonged occupation and colonization of Gaza and the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, and other Arab territories; 2.The system of racial discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel; and 3.The persistent denial of the UN-sanctioned rights of the Palestinian refugees, paramount among which is their right to reparations and to return to their homes of origin, in accordance with UNGA Res. 194.

17 Discrimination within Israel 1.The 1950 Law of Return 2.The 1952 Citizenship Law 3.The Israeli Status Law of 1952

18 Discrimination within Israel Racial discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel in every vital aspect of life has been the norm. From land ownership to education to health to jobs to housing…

19 Discrimination within Israel: ongoing “Material discrimination against Israel’s Arab citizens is pervasive and well documented. It manifests itself in almost every sphere of life: welfare and development budgets, funding for education, land allocation and more. …Israel must be a state based on justice and equality, not on various forms of discrimination toward Arabs.” - Ron Gerlitz, co-executive director of Sikkuy: The Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality in Israel, Haaretz, 16 August 2009

20 Israel’s oppression takes 3 forms 1.The prolonged occupation and colonization of Gaza and the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, and other Arab territories; 2.The system of racial discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel; and 3.The persistent denial of the UN-sanctioned rights of the Palestinian refugees, paramount among which is their right to reparations and to return to their homes of origin, in accordance with UNGA Res. 194.

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23 Continued Theft of Palestinian Land – Within Israel Last week, in violation of international law and the refugees’ property rights, Benjamin Netanyahu imposed a revolutionary land reform: privatization of much of the developed land – including refugee property – within Israel. … Land can be sold only to Jews

24 SO – WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE US? WHAT CAN WE DO?

25 What worked in Apartheid South Africa?

26 Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions (BDS) Boycott: Form of pressure through non- cooperation. Divestment: The selling of stocks or bonds from a company profiting from unjust practices. Sanctions: Economic and diplomatic restrictions imposed by governments against other governments.

27 Critical Elements for Change, from the South African example 1.Sustainability 2.Careful research 3.Linking of struggles 4.Support of Palestinian grassroots organizations … and

28 … The Key BDS applies pressure on a target government to change its unjust policies by consistently and systematically isolating it internationally. So what does that mean for our actions…?

29 Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions (BDS) Boycott: Form of pressure through non- cooperation. Consumer actions include product (economic boycott), academic, cultural, and sports boycott. Divestment: The selling of stocks or bonds from a company profiting from unjust practices. This is done by institutional investors like churches and universities. Sanctions: Economic and diplomatic restrictions imposed by governments against other governments.

30 Which Companies to Boycott? Companies that invest in Israel/OPT Companies that invest in Israeli firms Companies that make gifts to Zionist Charities Companies that support Zionism Companies that open research enters in Israel

31 (recent) Supporters of BDS Canadian Union of Public Employees Ontario’s University Workers Coordinating Committee Fédération autonome du collégial (FAC), Quebec College Federation Scottish Trade Union Congress An Australian dock workers union British fire fighter union (Fire Brigades Union) – calls for complete boycott of Israel (August 2009) Academics from England, Scotland, France, Lebanon, …and

32 …Academics in the U.S. …

33 And Academics in Israel: Boycott Us “We, as Israeli citizens, raise our voices to call on EU leaders: use sanctions against Israel's brutal policies and join the active protests of Bolivia and Venezuela. We appeal to the citizens of Europe: please attend to the Palestinian Human Rights Organisation's call, supported by more than 540 Israeli citizens (www.freegaza.org/en/home/) :www.freegaza.org/en/home/ boycott Israeli goods and Israeli institutions; follow resolutions such as those made by the cities of Athens, Birmingham and Cambridge (US). This is the only road left. Help us all, please!” – [January ]

34 Victories thus far? In Massachusetts, Hampshire College set a historic precedent by announcing its divestment from six companies profiting from the Israeli occupation. Significantly, Hampshire was also the first college in the US to divest from apartheid South Africa in the 1970s. In Wales, Cardiff University acceded to demands by students and decided to divest from companies supporting the occupation. In South Africa, dock workers refused to off-load a ship full of products from Israel – after a decision by the South African Trade Unions Congress to engage in boycott and sanctions against apartheid in Israel.

35 More Victories The French company Veolia withdrew from operating the rail project to connect the city center of Jerusalem with settlements in the West Bank (June 2009) Observers claim this is the achievement of the Global Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Campaign

36 …and more Victories Motorola Israel Ltd sold its Government Electronics Department – which made several products to enable Israel’s military occupation The protests had called on Motorola and its fully owned subsidiary, Motorola Israel Ltd., to end their sales of bomb fuses, communication devices, and surveillance equipment to the Israeli military.

37 Still more victories … “There is a shift in the effectiveness of the BDS movement against Israel and that if the momentum is maintained and strengthened, Israeli businessmen may decide to move their headquarters away from Israel or to begin to put pressure on the Israeli government to begin respecting international law and ending the occupation.” (March 2009)

38 And 2 days ago… Amnesty International Withdraws from Leonard Cohen’s Israel Concert Fund

39 In London Tesco Supermarkets Avocados, pomellos, cherry tomatoes, herbs and dates grown in Israel and on illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank were trapped in baskets and trolleys to disrupt the sale of such produce and symbolise the need for clear international action against illegal Israeli settlements and Israeli war crimes in the region

40 Ahava: Stolen Beauty

41 & the start of a victory...

42 Let’s Push It Over “ … what prevented South Africa’s white supremacist government from escalating their own violence to Israeli levels of cruelty and audacity was not that they had greater scruples than the Zionist regime. It was recognition that they alone could not stand against a global anti-apartheid movement that was in solidarity with the internal resistance. “Israel’s ‘military deterrent’ has now been repeatedly discredited as a means to force Palestinians and other Arabs to accept Zionist supremacy as inevitable and permanent. Now, the other pillar of Israeli power — Western support and complicity — is starting to crack. We must do all we can to push it over.” – Ali Abunimah, 2009

43 Resources Global BDS Movement: Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel: Stop the Wall: Palestine Remembered: Body on the Line: Electronic Intifada :


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