By Eileen Fleming
Last week on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, US Sen. Elizabeth Warren talked about government corruption and how the power of one in solidarity with people of like mind can change government policy.
The Democrat from Massachusetts represents one of the largest and most influential Jewish communities in the country.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Nov. 24, 2014. Photo: Haim Zach/GPO/Flash90.
American Jews are not necessarily Zionist nor are they members of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee/AIPAC.
In November 2014, Warren made her first official trip abroad as a US senator—to Jordan, Israel and occupied Palestine.
Warren’s constituent, John Bangert stood up to object to her vote in the midst of Israel’s brutal attack on Gaza to send yet another $225 million of American taxpayer money to Israel for its “Iron Dome” system.
Banger told his Senator:
“We are disagreeing with Israel using their guns against innocents. It’s true in Ferguson, Missouri, and it’s true in Israel…The vote was wrong, I believe…[the money] “could have been spent on infrastructure or helping immigrants fleeing Central America.”
Warren attempted to defend her vote with the worn our canard of professional politicians: “We’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one.”
Warren was asked about her Israel position from other voters and replied: “I think the vote was right, and I’ll tell you why I think the vote was right. America has a very special relationship with Israel. Israel lives in a very dangerous part of the world, and a part of the world where there aren’t many liberal democracies and democracies that are controlled by the rule of law. And we very much need an ally in that part of the world.”
Warren also said Hamas attacked Israel “indiscriminately,” but because of the Iron Dome defense system, the missiles have “not had the terrorist effect Hamas hoped for.”
When pressed by another voter about civilian casualties from Israel’s attacks, Warren claimed those casualties are the “last thing Israel wants. But when Hamas puts its rocket launchers next to hospitals, next to schools, they’re using their civilian population to protect their military assets. And I believe Israel has a right, at that point, to defend itself.”
Noreen Thompsen proposed that Israel be prevented from building any more settlements as a condition of future U.S. funding, and Warren replied, “I think there’s a question of whether we should go that far.”
In that spirit, this 2012 candidate for US HOUSE offers my crash-course in Apartheid Israeli Style!
Looking at a map of the so called Holy Land today it is clear to see that Palestine has been “pushed into the sea” via being chopped into enclaves which were called Bantustans in Apartheid South Africa.
Israel’s Wall and over 600 checkpoints in the West Bank trap control and deny the indigenous people access to their land, jobs, families and holy sites.
“Financed with U.S. aid at a cost of $1.5 million per mile, the Israeli wall prevents residents from receiving health care and emergency medical services. In other areas, the barrier separates farmers from their olive groves which have been their families’ sole livelihood for generations.” [Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Page 43, Jan/Feb. 2007]
Israel’s Nuclear Whistle Blower, Mordechai Vanunu addresses “the apartheid wall” and sends an invitation “to Hillary Clinton and all the Christians”.
An apartheid society is much more than just a ‘settler colony’. It involves specific forms of oppression that actively strip the original inhabitants of any rights at all, whereas civilian members of the invader caste are given all kinds of sumptuous privileges.
Evictions and home demolitions have become the status quo in the so-called Holy Land and since 1967 with over 22,000 dwellings -averaging eleven people per unit- bulldozed by Israeli forces because they interfered with settlement expansion.
Israel ‘justifies’ the demolitions in three distinct categories:
- Collective Punishment-homes of suspected terrorists-in reality that is anyone who opposes the occupation- and the families of suicide/homicide bombers. These punitive actions amount to 15% of the over 18,000 homes destroyed since 1967.
- Administrative demolitions for lack of building permits- which Israel refuses to issue-account for 25%. In occupied east Jerusalem one out of four Palestinian homes have a demolition order.
- “Security” the blanket response to injustices and illegal actions taken by a Government and its employees.
On July 5, 1950, Israel enacted the Law of Return by which Jews anywhere in the world, have a “right” to immigrate to Israel on the grounds that they are returning to their own state, even if they have never been there before.
On July 14, 1952: The enactment of the Citizenship/Jewish Nationality Law, results in Israel becoming the only state in the world to grant a particular national-religious group—the Jews—the right to settle in it and gain automatic citizenship. In 1953, South Africa’s Prime Minister Daniel Malan becomes the first foreign head of government to visit Israel and returns home with the message that Israel can be a source of inspiration for white South Africans.
In 1962, South African Prime Minister Verwoerd declares that Jews “took Israel from the Arabs after the Arabs had lived there for a thousand years. In that I agree with them, Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state.”
On August 1, 1967, Israel enacted the Agricultural Settlement Law, which bans Israeli citizens of non-Jewish nationality- Palestinian Arabs- from working on Jewish National Fund lands, well over 80% of the land in Israel. Knesset member Uri Avnery stated: “This law is going to expel Arab cultivators from the land that was formerly theirs and was handed over to the Jews.”
On April 4, 1969, General Moshe Dayan is quoted in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz telling students at Israel’s Technion Institute that “Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You don’t even know the names of these Arab villages, and I don’t blame you, because these geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either… There is not one single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.”
On April 28, 1971: C. L. Sulzberger, writing in The New York Times, quoted South African Prime Minister John Vorster as saying that Israel is faced with an apartheid problem, namely how to handle its Arab inhabitants.
Sulzberger wrote: “Both South Africa and Israel are in a sense intruder states. They were built by pioneers originating abroad and settling in partially inhabited areas.”
On September 13, 1978, in Washington, D.C. The Camp David Accords are signed by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and witnessed by President Jimmy Carter. The Accords reaffirm U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338, which prohibit acquisition of land by force, call for Israel’s withdrawal of military and civilian forces from the West Bank and Gaza, and prescribe “full autonomy” for the inhabitants of the territories. Begin orally promises Carter to freeze all settlement activity during the subsequent peace talks. Once back in Israel, however, the Israeli prime minister continues to confiscate, settle, and fortify the occupied territories.
On September 13, 1985, Rep. George Crockett (D-MI), after visiting the Israeli-occupied West Bank, compares the living conditions there with those of South African blacks and concludes that the West Bank is an instance of apartheid that no one in the U.S. is talking about.
In July 2000, President Bill Clinton convenes the Camp David II Peace Summit between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat. Clinton—not Barak—offers Arafat the withdrawal of some 40,000 Jewish settlers, leaving more than 180,000 in 209 settlements, all of which are interconnected by roads that cover approximately 10% of the occupied land.
Effectively, this divides the West Bank into at least two non-contiguous areas and multiple fragments. Palestinians would have no control over the borders around them, the air space above them, or the water reserves under them.
Barak calls it a generous offer. Arafat refuses to sign.
August 31, 2001: Durban, South Africa. Up to 50,000 South Africans march in support of the Palestinian people. In their “Declaration by South Africans on Apartheid and the Struggle for Palestine” they proclaim:
“We, South Africans who lived for decades under rulers with a colonial mentality, see Israeli occupation as a strange survival of colonialism in the 21st century. Only in Israel do we hear of ‘settlements’ and ‘settlers.’ Only in Israel do soldiers and armed civilian groups take over hilltops, demolish homes, uproot trees and destroy crops, shell schools, churches and mosques, plunder water reserves, and block access to an indigenous population’s freedom of movement and right to earn a living. These human rights violations were unacceptable in apartheid South Africa and are an affront to us in apartheid Israel.”
October 23, 2001: Ronnie Kasrils, a Jew and a minister in the South African government, co-authors a petition “Not in My Name,” signed by some 200 members of South Africa’s Jewish community said:
“It becomes difficult, from a South African perspective, not to draw parallels with the oppression expressed by Palestinians under the hand of Israel and the oppression experienced in South Africa under apartheid rule.”
Three years later, Kasrils will go to the Occupied Territories and conclude:
“This is much worse than apartheid. Israeli measures, the brutality, make apartheid look like a picnic. We never had jets attacking our townships. We never had sieges that lasted month after month. We never had tanks destroying houses. We had armored vehicles and police using small arms to shoot people but not on this scale.”
April 29, 2002: Boston, MA. South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu says he is “very deeply distressed” by what he observed in his recent visit to the Holy Land, adding, “It reminded me so much of what happened in South Africa.”
The Nobel peace laureate saw “the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about.”
Referring to Americans, he added, “People are scared in this country to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful—very powerful. Well, so what? The apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists.”
When Minister of Intelligence in South African Government, Ronnie Kasrils visited Palestine’s West Bank and Gaza Strip, he wrote how it was “like a surreal trip back into an apartheid state of emergency. It is chilling to pass through the myriad checkpoints — more than 500 in the West Bank. They are controlled by heavily armed soldiers, youthful but grim, tensely watching every movement, fingers on the trigger…A journey from one West Bank town to another that could take 20 minutes by car now takes seven hours for Palestinians, with manifold indignities at the hands of teenage soldiers…The monstrous apartheid wall cuts off East Jerusalem…Bethlehem too is totally enclosed by the wall, with two gated entry points. The Israelis have added insult to injury by plastering the entrances with giant scenic posters welcoming tourists to Christ’s birthplace.”
The Wall or as Israel prefers to spin it as a ‘security barrier’, is designed to crush the human spirit as much as to enclose the Palestinians in ghettos. Like a reptile, it transforms its shape and cuts across agricultural lands as a steel-and-wire barrier, with watchtowers, ditches, patrol roads and alarm systems. At 700km long and still growing with a height of 8m to 9m in places, it dwarfs the Berlin Wall. The purpose of the barrier becomes clearest in open country. Its route cuts huge swathes into the West Bank to incorporate into Israel the illegal Jewish settlements — some of which are huge towns — and annexes more and more Palestinian territory.
If The Wall is truly to keep out terrorists, why was it not built on Israeli land?
Minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad explained, “It has become abundantly clear that the wall and checkpoints are principally aimed at advancing the safety, convenience and comfort of settlers.”
The West Bank, once 22% of historic Palestine, has shrunk to perhaps 10% to 12% of living space for its inhabitants, and is split into several fragments, including the fertile Jordan Valley, which is a security preserve for Jewish settlers and the Israeli Defence Force.
Like the Gaza Strip, the West Bank is effectively a hermetically sealed prison…roads are barred to Palestinians and reserved for Jewish settlers. I try in vain to recall anything quite as obscene in apartheid South Africa.”
On December 20, 2006, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who received a Nobel Peace Prize for his relentless work confronting and challenging South Africa’s Apartheid regime spoke to The Guardian:
I’ve been deeply distressed in my visit to the Holy Land. I have seen the humiliation at the checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about.
Israel will never get true security and safety through oppressing another people. A true peace can ultimately be built only on justice…If peace could come to South Africa, surely it can come to the Holy Land.
Jonathan Ben Artzi a nephew of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, refused to serve in the IDF and went to jail for 18 months pleaded with US:
Sometimes it takes a good friend to tell you when enough is enough. As they did with South Africa two decades ago, concerned citizens across the US can make a difference by encouraging Washington to get the message to Israel that this cannot continue…
If Americans truly are our friends, they should shake us up and take away the keys, because right now we are driving drunk, and without this wake-up call, we will soon find ourselves in the ditch of an undemocratic, doomed state.
The Establishment of Israel’s very statehood was contingent upon upholding the UN UNIVERSAL DECLARATION of HUMAN RIGHTS and as a Member State, America is obligated to hold ALL other Member States to it.
“On the day of the termination of the British mandate and on the strength of the United Nations General Assembly declare The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations.” – May 14, 1948. The Declaration of the establishment of Israel
“Evil is relatively rare. Ignorance is epidemic and the cure for that is journalism and expression”.– Jon Stewart
Mail & Guardian, Israel 2007: Worse than Apartheid, by Ronnie Kasrils
Apartheid Ancient, Past, and Present Systematic and Gross Human Rights Violations in Graeco-Roman Egypt, South Africa, and Israel/Palestine, By Anthony Löwstedt. Page 77.
The Link, “About That Word Apartheid”, April-May 2007, Published by Americans for Middle East Understanding
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