Anti-Zionist and anti-Israel Divestment Initiatives
The fight against Israel's Security Barrier:
Palestine Solidarity, South Africa and the Stop the Wall Movement
Main Zionism Boycotts Page
European Commentary on Boycotts
The Anti Israel Academic Boycott
The fight against Israel's Security Barrier:
Palestine Solidarity, South Africa and the Stop the Wall Movement
Which side are you on?
Whatever you think of Israel's security barrier (or fence, or wall) you have to consider some facts:
The barrier is the result of terror.
Israel constructed the barrier with great reluctance and against opposition by right wing groups.
Everyone must agree - walls between people's are bad, but terror is worse. If we want to Stop the Wall,
we have to stop the terror.
Many of the groups and media leading the struggle against the wall are not interested in peace, but in
destruction of Israel.
Many of the groups and media leading the struggle against the wall support terrorism.
The campaign against Israel's security barrier bills itself as a campaign for "democracy" and "open
borders. However, many of the organizations supporting this campaign, like the Palestine Solidarity Movement and its
member Palestine Solidarity Committees, are out to destroy Israel. The International Solidarity Movement (ISM),
supposedly a non-violent group that wants to end the occupation claims that these groups are independent of it, but in
practice, ISM and the Palestine Solidarity Movement and Palestine Solidarity Committees are just about inseparable.
Stopping the Wall or Stopping Israel?
What "occupation" do they want to end? The item below appears at the Stopthewall Web site. It states:
We demand ...establishment of a sovereign independent
Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital toward the establishment of a secular democratic state in historic
In other words, a "peace" settlement would in the would be just a step on the
road to genocide - wiping out the national identity and national aspirations of the Jews.
The declaration presents what is politely called "the Palestinian version of
history" and the Palestinian version of reality. It describes an alternate reality that never existed: After
giving a distorted "history" of the plight of the Palestinians, it states:
Electricity, sewerage, roads and water supplies are
provided free to Israeli households
Does anyone want to see my electric bill? My water bill? Tell me where this
Israeli state exists, which gives free water and electricity to Jews and I will move there. Here's another whopper:
We acknowledge the theft of the land and realise how today
the Jewish National Fund, a member of the World Zionist Organisation, administers 93% of the land of Israel. To live on
land, lease it, sharecrop or work on it, one must establish four generations of maternal Jewish descent. In
Israel, such a lineage is necessary in order to enjoy elementary rights.
Everyone can find out for themselves that there is no such provision in Israeli
law. It is just another tall tale about Jews. It says:
No significant industry has been permitted to develop in
the West Bank or Gaza.
The Palestinians can start any industry they want to start. What a pity that
"resistance organizations" have started so many workshops devoted to making Qassam rockets and suicide bomber belts. But
if there are so many of these workshops that are apparently "permitted," how could anyone believe that real industries
are not "permitted??"
The declaration distorts South African history as well and does a grave injustice
to those who struggled for South African freedom. It states:
We South Africans faced apartheid and exploitation, bullets
and prison, not with bouquets of flowers, but with resistance. We are proud of this, our history. This is the history of
all oppressed people. Why should it be different for Palestinians?
Where were the South African suicide bombers? How could this group, which claims
to favor nonviolence, justify suicide bombing? Not possible, but they do it:
The shocking suicide bombings answers this rhetorical
question. Apartheid Israel has created a situation in which people feel they have nothing to lose.
Apparently, Britain is also an Apartheid state that has to be dismantled, because
"desperation" has "forced" suicide bombings there too. Are they next on the list after Israel?
What a tragedy that the glorious South African struggle for freedom has been
cynically prostituted for despicable aims!
Some of the other dubious statements in this declaration have been highlighted in
The issues are simple. From the viewpoint of decent people, there
are two sides to the conflict. Perhaps they are not "Israel" and "Arab" or "Israeli" and "Palestinian." They are:
Those who believe in peace and self-determination for two peoples
Those who believe in genocide, justify terror and support
genocide, and who tell lies to attain their aims.
Which is the progressive side? Which side are you
|Declaration by South Africans on Apartheid Israel
Declaration, Palestine Solidarity Committee, May 31st, 2004
(endorsed by 10 000 South Africans of all faiths)
The Palestinian rebellion has been a long time coming. Over three decades of occupation is but one dimension of
their tragedy. Driven from their original homes, villages and land by sustained atrocities, condemned to miserable
camps, dispersed in a far-flung Diaspora, subjected to massacres like the Sabra
and Shatila slaughter of over 3000 refugees, and unending persecution.
The suffering in the West Bank and Gaza is the continuation of the colonisation of all of Palestine. Zionist militias
seized 75% of the land and drove out 750 000 Palestinians through a series of
massacres between the partition of Palestine in 1947 and the formation of Israel. With the declaration of the
state of Israel, 531 Palestinian cities, towns and villages were razed to the ground, disappearing from the map. Those
remaining were denuded of land, confiscated without compensation.
We acknowledge the theft of the land and realise how today the Jewish National Fund, a member of the World Zionist
Organisation, administers 93% of the land of Israel. To live on land,
lease it, sharecrop or work on it, one must establish four generations of maternal Jewish descent. In Israel, such a
lineage is necessary in order to enjoy elementary rights. We cannot mistake the quintessentially racist character
of such a state. Israel is an apartheid state, founded on pillage and predicated on exclusivity. Rights flow from ethnic
and religious identity.
We, South Africans who have lived through apartheid cannot be silent as another entire people are treated as non-human
beings; people without rights or human dignity and facing daily humiliation. We cannot permit a ruthless state to use
military jets, helicopter gun-ships and tanks on civilians. We cannot accept state assassinations of activists, the
torture of political prisoners, the murder of children and collective punishment.
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.
We South Africans faced apartheid and exploitation, bullets and prison, not with bouquets of flowers, but with
resistance. We are proud of this, our history. This is the history of all oppressed people. Why should it be different
for Palestinians? Born in squalid refugee camps, living in poverty and believing the world community does not care, more
and more young Palestinians see empty futures, aborted hopes and feel unbearable frustrations. The great
African-American poet, Langston Hughes, asked: “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the
sun…or does it explode?” The shocking suicide bombings answers this rhetorical
question. Apartheid Israel has created a situation in which people feel they have nothing to lose. This dangerous
situation could be reversed, if the Israeli state and the one country that funds and supports it unconditionally- the
US, as well as the world community, act in a moral and just manner.
It’s Apartheid Again!
We note how the Israeli state rests on overt repression, a system of structural violence and institutionalised
discrimination that dehumanises one group to the advantage of another. Apartheid
Israel has developed an elaborate system of racial discrimination, embedded in its legal system-even surpassing
Apartheid South Africa’s laws. These laws include the Law of Entry, the Law of Return, Citizenship Law, legally
sanctioned discriminatory rabbinical rulings and the Military Service Law. Palestinians are denied various welfare
benefits, access to many jobs, and the leasing of homes and land controlled by government bodies. We realise that while
Palestinians within the ’48 borders may vote, they face these discriminatory laws and are treated like third class
citizens. Electricity, sewerage, roads and water supplies are provided free to Israeli households whereas many
Palestinian communities in Israel, let alone the occupied territories, have existed for decades without adequate
services. The Israeli education system is racist in practice and in content. Almost no Arab history is covered and there
are no Arab textbooks in the Israeli curricula. Palestinians also face significant barriers in gaining access to
universities. In South Africa similar factors contributed to the Uprisings in 1976 and the 1980s.
Laws governing land ownership such as the Law of Acquisition of Absentee Property and the Law for Acquisition of Land
blatantly discriminate against Palestinians. Although settlers constitute a tiny
minority in the West Bank, they own 60 percent of the land. Many of these settlers come from the US, the
ex-Soviet Union and South Africa. In Gaza, 6000 settlers live among a population of one million Palestinians yet they
own 42 percent of the land. Land ownership in Palestine is more unjust than it ever was in South Africa. At the height
of apartheid black people nominally ‘controlled’ 13 percent of the land, in Israel the oppressed control only 2 percent.
The Israeli government also pursues a grossly discriminatory water policy. In Gaza in 1985, for instance, settlers
consume about 2000 cubic meters of water per person; Palestinians are allowed to consume only about 120.
Despite the terminology, we recognise segregation when we see it. The policy of ‘closures’ is a policy of segregation.
Blockades which allow settlers free movement but restrict Palestinians have lost 100 000 workers their jobs. Some roads
are for settlers only. The Israeli government issues identification cards and car number-plates, colour coded, which
restrict travel for non-Jews. Palestinians in the West Bank are routinely prevented from travelling to the Gaza Strip
because they have to travel through ‘Israeli’ territory. No significant industry has been permitted to develop in the
West Bank or Gaza. Consequently, Palestinians are concentrated in the lowest paying jobs and form a super-exploited
labour force for Israeli capital. The occupied territories import 93% of goods but export a mere 7% of what they
produce. Palestinian exports to Western Europe are banned so as not to compete with Israeli exports. Ninety percent of
Palestinian workers must travel to Jewish towns for employment.
Israel is, simply, an Apartheid state. Apartheid laws, such as the pass system and influx control, bantustans, job
reservation, bantu education and laws resulting in unequal resource allocation live on. As one South African journalist
wrote after visiting Israel: “In both countries [apartheid South Africa and apartheid Israel] ‘subordinate races’ were
dispossessed of their land and crowded into marginal, drought-stricken ghettoes; their movement was restricted; access
to education and skilled jobs limited so that they inevitably sank into a pool of low wage labour. In both societies,
bans on inter-marriage and daily lives segregated by race did little to dispel the fear and ignorance that feeds racial
Israel is the highest recipient of US support. In return, it makes its own contributions to maintaining the imperialist
world order and stability for transnational corporations, particularly oil companies. In the ‘70s it supplied the
military dictatorships of El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua with more military hardware than the US. It supports
adventures and trains personnel of unpopular regimes the US does not openly want to be identified with. The latest
regime is Turkey, which brutally suppresses its trade unions, workers’ organisations and the Kurds. In its illegal
blockade of Cuba, the only support for the US now comes from Israel. Of course, we will never forget the support Israel
provided to apartheid South Africa. While the world condemned apartheid in South Africa as a crime against humanity,
Israel happily cemented trade, cultural, military and nuclear links with the white minority regime.
A Bantustan or a Democratic Secular State?
We realise that the ‘peace plan’ brokered by the US at Oslo, Camp David, and the
Wye River were recipes for continued misery and poverty for millions of Palestinians. Rather than promise a
future of peaceful co-existence they virtually guaranteed a continuation of conflict and violence.
They proposed a Bantustan, a ‘state’ with a dependent economy, no contiguous
territory and no substantial power, where Palestinians can be exploited, controlled, restricted and confined in
reservations. A dependent Bantustan alongside an apartheid state is a mockery of self-determination-as it existed in
apartheid South Africa and now in apartheid Israel. In Israel, no less than in South Africa, minimum justice requires
dismantling the apartheid state and replacing it with a democratic secular Palestine, where Jews and Arabs, Christians
and Muslims, live together with equal rights and opportunities.
We observe the stone throwing children of Jabaliya, the Beach Camp, Balata, Khan Younis and Dheisheh and we see the
response to over five decades of outrageous tyranny and occupation. It is echoed in those Israeli Jews who resist the
oppression of others, like Mordechai Vanunu who, in 1986, was sentenced by a secret security court to 18 years in prison
for exposing Israel’s nuclear plans and indirectly Israel’s nuclear collaboration with apartheid South Africa.
We reject the calumny that to condemn Israeli apartheid or Zionism’s ‘ethnic cleansing’ implies animus against Jews; or
that it attempts to diminish the Holocaust. The opposite is true. As the famed violinist Lord Yehudi Menuhin told the
French newspaper Le Figaro “It is extraordinary how nothing ever dies completely. Even the evil which prevailed
yesterday in Nazi Germany is gaining ground in that country [Israel] today”.
We, South Africans, extend our hands to the heroic people of Palestine. Theirs is the struggle, slingshots in hand, of
David against Goliath. Theirs is the vision of a country shorn of racist
dominion. Theirs is the passion for life without oppression. Theirs is the struggle for Arab and Jews to be free
from discrimination and injustice. As South Africans we understand these struggles, visions and passions. We support the
demand to isolate Apartheid Israel, the right of return and reparations for the 4,5 million Palestinian refugees and the
dismantling of racist settlements. We demand urgent and immediate international protection of Palestinians in the Gaza
Strip and the West Bank, the establishment of a sovereign independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital
toward the establishment of a secular democratic state in historic Palestine. We pledge ourselves to be part of a new
International Anti-Apartheid movement against Israel.
Issued by the Palestine Solidarity Committee
History of Zionism
A History of Zionism and the Creation of Israel
- A detailed history from the Zionist point of view that discusses and addresses some criticisms of Zionism.
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Friends and informative sites:
Zionism - Definition and Brief History - A balanced article that
covers the definitions and history of Zionism as well as opposition to Zionism and criticisms by Arabs, Jewish
Labor Zionism - Early History and Critique - Contribution of Labor
Zionism to the creation of the Jewish state, and problems of Labor Zionism in a changing reality.
Dvar Dea - Israel & Zionist advocacy
HSJE-Historical Society of Jews
Preserves the history and culture of the Jews of Egypt
La Bibliothèque Proche
Orientale- Le Grand Mufti Husseini
The Grand Mufti Haj Amin El
Shoa - a Dutch Web site with many useful Jewish, Zionism and Israel links (in English