Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Since it IS Apartheid, what should we do? Part 2

As I mentioned in Part 1, recently on the Israel Palestine Forum, there have been a number of comments posted on the topic Palestine: Occupation not Apartheid. I have argued that it is apartheid. I am posting excerpts from some of my posts where I suggest that international law be used since it says that apartheid is a crime against humanity.

Quote from Y
I see a point in what DOK is saying here. While I agree that Israel's Occupation IS apartheid, I don't think being "right" on this issue" is what's important. And unlike Ron I think it is important that the Israeli government "get it" when it is called a perpetrator of apartheid. You won't achieve a peace agreement by waving international conventions in Israel's face. You can be right till the cows come home about all of this & still not get any traction. So what we peace activists have to do is walk a fine line. We have to pay attention to morality but also to the practicalities of suasion. How do we convince Israel--its government & its citizens to change? I'm not saying that we stop calling a spade a spade morally or legally. But we must realize that being right isn't enough.

Hi Y

We “may” have a consensus that the situation in the West Bank amounts to apartheid (although X is reluctant to use the term.)

We disagree about whether to use the term when approaching the Government of Israel.

We disagree about whether being right is enough.

What I am saying is that being right is an essential precondition to getting to the solution. The solution would then be a moral or legal action.

Let me suggest another way to look at it.

There are a number of values of Judaism that are non-negotiable; one of them is the demand that we “pursue justice”; another is that even in times of war, we do not uproot a fruit (olive) trees; a third is that we do not oppress the stranger because we were strangers in the land of Egypt.

For 40 years the Government of Israel has steadily taken action that it dreams will one day lead to its annexation of the Land of Israel from the Jordan River west with Palestinians no longer present or forced into small Bantulands totally encircled by Israel.

For that reason NO appeal to the Government of Israel has been effective in keeping it from building 120 settlements. NO arguments have convinced it not to build separate walls, separate roads and over 500 checkpoints. No pressure has kept it from stealing the land of Palestinians, denying them building permits and demolishing their homes. No persuasion has dissuaded it from making the life of the Palestinians a living hell of humiliation, poverty, homelessness and unemployment.

I know that apartheid is NOT a Jewish value?

I would be prepared to provide additional evidence to convince a reader that for 40 years the Government of Israel has violated these three core values of Judaism.

And NO refraining of the use of provocative words (or, in the alternative, the use of diplomatic tactful language) has resulted in its working for a just peace.

I would then conclude that the Government of Israel is “wrong”.

If a reader were to be convinced, I would like to think that he or she would agree that it is important and an obligation for those of us who are Jewish to criticize the Government of Israel for acting contrary to the primary teachings of Judaism; i.e., immorally?

At what point do we decide that the harm and injury and suffering that is being caused by the immorality of the occupation is SO grievous that the "fine line" has been crossed and we can no longer wait for the “practicalities of suasion” to be effective?

And if we have reached that point, as I have, what other realistic and feasible option is there?

I am suggesting that once we have concluded that we are "right" and there has been a "wrong" such as apartheid, we appeal to the world Jewish and other faith communities (cc'ing the Government of Israel) based on its immorality - right/wrong, guilt/innocence, good/bad (and, at the same time, file a lawsuit in the international courts of law based on its illegality under the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.)

And, in both places, seek “judgments” and “remedies.”

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