Section 1: Analysis of Israeli Zionist Racism [Continuation]
C: An Analysis by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed
Nafeez Ahmed is a political analyst and human rights activist based in London; he is also director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development and a Researcher at the Islamic Human Rights Commission inn the same city. In his article: “Is Zionism racist?,” Ahmed offers not only a solid analysis of Zionist racism, but also details the connubial bond between this racism and western imperialist aims and strategies in the Middle East and the Arab world.1
The following are extracts form this must-read article where Ahmed begins with an overview followed by a question:
The United States is threatening to pull out of the planned “United Nations Conference Against Racism”, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance from 31st August to 7th September [to be held in South Africa, on the pretext that discussions on whether ‘Zionism equals racism’ will derail the conference. As usual, Israel’s leading donor remains unwilling to allow any criticism of the Zionist State of Israel, nor scrutiny of its policies that are perceived to be racist. This is not the first time the U.S. has intervened to save Israel’s ideological skin. The U.S. has already boycotted the two previous annual UN Conferences Against Racism due to the inclusion of discussions of the role of Zionism in Israel’s racial policies.
Indeed, the current President’s father, President Bush Snr., while in his term at the White House told the UN General Assembly at its opening session on 23rd September 1991 that to equate Zionism with racism is to “forget the terrible plight of Jews in World War II and indeed throughout history.” The former President, whose son appears to be following meticulously in his footsteps, chose not to elaborate on why the historic suffering of the Jews in Europe somehow places the Zionist State of Israel beyond criticism with regards to its racial policies.
Ahmed continues by highlighting U.S. imperialist cynicism in relation to Israel racism while masterly delving into the core of Israeli objectives. Says Ahmed,
But the vocal protestations of the world’s leading superpower and rogue state, parroted by the UN High Commissioner, can hardly be rooted in humanitarian concerns. This is clear when we ask: Why should any particular country, state or people be exempted from scrutiny with regards to their racial policies? Surely, a World Conference Against Racism should be ready to debate and scrutinize the racial policies of every nation in the world. Indeed, it would be racist to say that racists can’t be found among all the peoples of the world, that some race or group of people are somehow above question.
Actually, there is good reason to believe that once again, the United States is attempting to manipulate the process of open discussion in an international forum to suit its own vested interests. The longstanding interests behind U.S.-led Western support of Israel as the principal Western client regime of the Middle East have been explained by Israeli General Shlomo Gazit, former Military Intelligence commander and West Bank Administrator. Gazit explicitly described Israel’s role as protector of U.S. interests in the Middle East:
Israel’s main task has not changed at all [since the collapse of the USSR], and it remains of crucial importance. The geographical location of Israel at the center of the Arab-Muslim Middle East predestines Israel to be a devoted guardian of stability in all the countries surrounding it. Its [role] is to protect the existing regimes: to prevent or halt the processes of radicalization and to block the expansion of fundamentalist religious zealotry.
For this purpose Israel will prevent changes occurring beyond Israel’s borders [which it] will regard as intolerable, to the point of feeling compelled to use all its military power for the sake of their prevention or eradication.
Thus, Israel aims to impose hegemony on all other surrounding states in the Middle East through military action. The historic roots of Israeli policy in this regard are clear from the very conditions which prevailed during the creation and formation of the State of Israel. Since its 19th Century origins, the most prominent pioneers of the Zionist movement focused on the goal of establishing a specifically Jewish state in which Jews would be protected and privileged over non-Jews. The Zionist occupation of Palestine began at a minimal level (amounting to 10 percent of the population by 1900, and by 1947, Jews were still only about 30 percent of the population of Mandate Palestine. Although they owned only six percent of the land, the 1947 UN Partition Resolution assigned 55 percent of the land to a new Jewish state, without consulting the indigenous Palestinian population and thus in violation of their right to self-determination which the UN Charter itself purports to recognize. As a consequence of this forcible international support of the Zionist penetration of Palestine, Israel took over larger and larger expanses of land by means of the 1947-48 war, culminating in the expulsion of around 750,000 Palestinians. It is in this context that we can understand why, as Gazit points out, Israel asserts its right to intervene militarily in any Arab state facing:[italics added]
… threats of revolt, whether military or popular, which may end up by bringing fanatical and extremist elements to power in the states concerned. The existence of such threats has no connection with the Arab-Israeli conflict. They exist because the regimes find it difficult to offer solutions to their socio-economic ills. But any development of the described kind is apt to subvert the existing relations between Israel and this or that from among its neighbors. [italics in original]
Once he established the objectives of Israeli fascist racism, Ahmed proceeds to delineate the essence of this racism. Says Ahmed,
Racists can be found everywhere, among all people, including both Palestinians and Israelis. If institutional racism is apparent even in Western democracies such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and so on, then why should we rule out the possibility of the same occurring in Israel? And why should the possible role of certain interpretations of Zionism be automatically assumed to have no role in this? Indeed, when prominent Israelis themselves have noted the racist character of the Israeli state in its treatment of Palestinians, it would be nonsensical to attempt to prevent open discussion of this important issue.
For instance, Ami Ayalon, retired head of Israel’s domestic security service Shin Bet, spoke against the Israeli policy of “separation” from the Palestinians at an annual meeting of the Israeli Finance Ministry’s budget division last year. “Is the option of a Jewish democracy with apartheid acceptable? In my view, it is not. That’s a dilemma we’ve always wanted to delay.” He added that the Palestinians should not be expected to be content living “in a Bantustan”, separated from Israel, as well as from Egypt and Jordan “for security reasons”. He also observed: “The things a Palestinian has to endure, simply coming to work in the morning, is a long and continuous nightmare that includes humiliation bordering on despair… We have to decide soon what kind of democracy we want here. The present model integrates apartheid and is not commensurate with Judaism… We will never attain security without an in-depth discussion about this issue.”
The Los Angeles Times reported Ayalon’s comments as follows:
In public remarks that shocked Israelis, a former head of the Israeli domestic security service blamed government policies for triggering the Palestinian revolt. Ami Ayalon, retired head of the Shin Bet security service, said Israel is guilty of ‘apartheid’ policies that go against the spirit of Judaism. He suggested that the Palestinians were following a logic in choosing violence, and spoke of the profound ‘humiliation’ that Israel inflicts on Palestinian workers and others who seek to enter Israel. [italics in original]
The UN Conference Against Racism provides an ideal international forum to openly and intensively engage with exactly this issue, in the manner Ayalon indicated is essential for peace and security in the Middle East. The role of Zionism in legitimising Israeli policies that are racist should also be investigated. Unless the international community is allowed to collectively scrutinise these matters in an open dialogue, the human rights of Palestinians will continue to be violated due to Israeli discrimination.
The Israeli human rights organisation, B’Tselem (The Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories), has similarly concluded that Israeli policies in occupied Palestine amount to nothing less than apartheid. Executive Director of B’Tselem Eitan Felner wrote in an article titled ‘Apartheid By Any Other Name: Creeping Annexation in the West Bank’ in an article for the French journal Le Monde diplomatique based on an extensive B’Tselem report, that Israeli settlement policies have been systematically “reinforcing the system of discrimination in the West Bank”. Describing what he labels “Apartheid in the Holy Land”, Felner observes:
The massive network of roads and highways in the West Bank that connect the major settlements to Israel represents the most overt aspect of Israel’s relentless efforts to incorporate the settlements and settlers into Israel. It makes it possible for settlers to commute to Israel each day… Another aspect of the integration of the settlements into Israel — less conspicuous but no less important — is the application of virtually the whole Israeli legal system to the settlements. Throughout the years Israel’s civil and military authorities have enacted a myriad of laws, regulations, and orders relating to settlers in the Occupied Territories to ensure that in almost every respect the lives of settlers are like those of Israelis living in Israel itself…
The result, he writes, is the establishment of a system of institutional racism against the indigenous Palestinians under the alien regime Israeli military occupation:
Israel has established a system of segregation and discrimination, in which two populations living in the same area are subject to different systems of law. While Palestinians are subject to military law and usually tried in military courts, Israelis who commit the same offence in the same place are subject to Israeli law and tried in civil courts inside Israel. Jewish settlers enjoy all the rights of Jews in Israel, including complete freedom of movement, speech and organisation, participation in local and national (Israeli) elections, social security and health benefits, etc. For Palestinians, on the other hand, even those living a few hundred metres from Jewish settlements, freedom of movement is limited. They cannot, obviously, vote to curtail the powers of the IDF and they do not enjoy Israel’s social security or health benefits. In Africaans they call it apartheid… [T]his institutionalised discrimination is spelled out in the government’s basic guidelines. [italics in original]
Afterwards, he proceeds to make a robust comparative study between Israeli racism and the nominally defunct but effectively alive Apartheid system in South Africa where economic realities, disparities of income, cultural slavery, and subservience of the black South African political establishment to the world strategy of U.S. and European imperialisms, speak of nothing but the survival of ugly Apartheid.2 To see how Ahmed establishes this important comparison, please follow the link provided in the footnotes.
Next: Part 3 of 12
Read also Part 1.
- Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, “Is Zionism racist? U.S. Manipulation of the UN Conference Against Racism,” Media Monitors Network, August 3, 2001. [↩]
- We agree with the deft argument put forward by Gary Zatzman (“The Notion of the “Jewish State” as an “Apartheid Regime” is a Liberal-Zionist One, Dissident Voice, 21 November 2005) that the apartheid in South Africa is a different creature than in historical Palestine, and this lack of distinction is abused by left Liberals to camouflage a slow-motion genocide that did not exist in South Africa:
“For all its serious and undoubted evils and the numerous crimes against humanity committed in its name, including physical slaughters, South African white-racist apartheid was not premised on committing genocide. Zionism, on the other hand, has been committed to dissolving the social, cultural, political and economic integrity of the Palestinian people, i.e., genocide, from the outset, at least as early as Theodor Herzl’s injunction in his diaries that the ‘transfer’ of the Palestinian ‘penniless population’ elsewhere be conducted ‘discreetly and circumspectly.’ The fact that the present day heirs of his outlook practice this genocidal policy in ongoing slow motion, so to speak, over decades rather than in one fell swoop, and that their assault on the Palestinians’ identity as a people is not confined to acts of physical extermination, does not make their practice any the less genocidal.” [↩]