Thursday, March 5, 2009

Israel is an Apartheid State

This week is Israeli Apartheid week. The blog Jews sans frontieres posted a number of links today about how appropriate the term "apartheid" is when applied to Israel. Since this also came up yesterday when we were fliering, it seemed like a good idea to provide the link.

An excerpt from the group "Stop the Wall" describing what Jews sans frontieres calls "the very core of the analogy" follows. Folks should check out the links provided by Jews sans frontieres for excellent information on this topic.

Apartheid was known as “colonialism of a special type” because of the fact that it was a colonial project in which the colonizer sought to permanently settle in the colonized land and replace the indigenous population, and where the “ruler” was not somewhere in Europe but occupying the same territory. The Zionist project is a European construct, born out of European nationalism expressed in nation-statehood during the era of colonialism. The Palestinian struggle for liberation is in essence an anti-colonial struggle. Inherent within any colonial project is a racist, Euro-centric worldview; but the racism is magnified in this “special” kind of colonialism, or Apartheid. Denying the very human existence of Palestinians with the Zionist adage of “a land without a people for a people without a land”, Zionist racial separation intends to use intolerant xenophobic policies and practice as a means to expel Palestinian Arabs from their homeland, defining them as a “demographic threat.” Racism under the Jewish State is both by law and by practice. Envisaged as a state for Jews, that is, a state of which every Jewish individual throughout the world would be a potential citizen, it became imperative for its legislative body, the Knesset to immediately define in law those persons who would qualify as actual or potential citizens, and those who would be excluded - that is, non-Jews in general, and Palestinian Arabs in particular. In 1950 the Israeli Knesset passed two laws: the Law of Return, defining the boundaries of inclusion ('every Jew has the right to immigrate into the country') and the Absentee Property Law, defining the boundaries of exclusion ('absentee'), i.e. Palestinians. Under these laws, every Jew throughout the world is legally entitled to become a citizen of the “state of Israel” upon immigration into the country. In 1952, the Knesset passed the World Zionist Organization-Jewish Agency (Status) Law, which gave exclusive rights to Israelis of "Jewish nationality," including the right to purchase land. Jewish institutions such as the Jewish National Fund were prohibited by law to sell the land they “owned” in “Israel”-some 97 percent-to non-Jews and were enjoined to hold all land "for the whole Jewish people." Today the Jewish National Fund, a member of the World Zionist Organisation, administers 93% of the “land of Israel” the vast majority of which was Palestinian-owned property that was gradually confiscated in the years since 1948. Such laws parallel to the Apartheid South Africa Natives Land Act, No 27 of 1913 and The Natives (Urban Areas) Act of 1923, making it illegal for blacks to purchase or lease land from whites except in reserves and restricting black occupancy to less than eight per cent of South Africa's land. The Jewish State issuance of identity cards based on race—their defining and indicating race in the ID and basing the ID policy on racial classification, is similar to the Apartheid South African Population Registration Act, Act No 30 of 1950 where a national register was created in which every person's race was recorded. A Race Classification Board took the final decision on what a person's race was in disputed cases. Natives (Abolition of Passes and Co-ordination of Documents) Act, Act No 67 of 1952, commonly known as the Pass Laws, forced black people to carry identification with them at all times. A pass included a photograph, details of place of origin, employment record, tax payments, and encounters with the police. It was a criminal offence to be unable to produce a pass when required to do so by the police. No black person could leave a rural area for an urban one without a permit from the local authorities. The idea of “two races” or “two people” is one of the basic components of the racist colonial project, as the establishment of a “Jewish People” is a construct and tool of the Zionist project to legitimize it and to define the very real target of its racism.

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