End Israel's Apartheid
Updated: May 17
Israel’s intoxication with power has reached its pinnacle. And unlike any other time, public opinion against Israel is also reaching a crescendo. Even within Israel it is said that this is breaking the moral fiber of Israelis
It’s been Heartbreak Hotel, no kidding. The 500,000 Covid deaths in the US, the Covid death of my classmate’s husband, and the near-death of my best friend just reached in and took a sliver of my soul it seemed. This happening in the sleep-deprivation environment of Ramadan forced me to take a week off to prevent complete burnout.
Here is what is left from Palestine
But it didn’t work out as planned. On the holiest night of the holiest month of the Islamic calendar, Israeli forces barged into the Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, threw stun grenades and fired rubber bullets, killing 13, including children and wounding 300. I awoke to images of Israeli soldiers walking into Al-Aqsa Mosque with boots on, billowing smoke, chaos, pushing, shoving and a man laying blinded in both eyes. That is seared in my mind and makes me cry.
Facts versus peddled fiction
There’s a lot of stimuli we deal with in our lives. But it is important for us to get our timeline, facts, and verbiage right. Netanyahu has failed to form a coalition government and is facing criminal charges. From the hackneyed playbook of power-intoxicated rulers, he used the diversionary tactic of evicting Palestinians from East Jerusalem and then attacking the Al-Aqsa worshippers. The plan for the following day was to do a ground assault and a 3000-strong settler march into Gaza. This was prevented by rocket fire from Hamas. So the rockets came after the Israeli attack.
A brief history
After the horrors of the Holocaust, Jewish refugees came to Palestine in 1947 with boats emblazoned with banners saying, “The Germans destroyed our families and homes-don’t you destroy our hopes”. The map of Palestine radically changed, and the Israelis dispossessed the Palestinians of their homes and established a Jewish state with rights only for Jews and not for Palestinians.
This so reminds me of the ironic story of the Arab and the camel. So an Arab was in his tent and the camel said that he was cold and could he put his head into the tent. The Arab said yes. Then the camel said his body was cold could he come in a bit more. And this happened successively and pretty soon the camel was in the tent and the Arab was out. Palestinian citizens of Israel do not have the same rights as their Jewish counterparts and the Occupied West Bank and Gaza are an open-air prison. 95% undrinkable water, 45% unemployment, 4 hours of electricity per day, 46% children have anemia, 50% children express no will to live and 2 million are denied freedom of movement. With checkpoint after checkpoint and a sickening penchant of Israeli soldiers to want to kill children.
The Derek Chauvin chokehold that killed George Floyd was perfected by Israelis on Palestinian necks and thereafter exported to the United States police departments.
A tiger and a bunny
Supported by 3 billion a year US taxpayer-funded dollars Israel has the fourth most powerful military in the world and the Iron Dome technology, a missile defense system that inactivates rockets coming into Israel. Important to remember that Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza before Hamas existed as part of the Zionist expansion project. Hamas has rockets that fizzle when they touch the Iron Dome. And of course, rocks. Don’t forget the rock-throwing terrorist Palestinian teenager. The imagery is good huh? A tiger versus a bunny or better yet an elephant versus an ant. Just like a spry bunny could aggravate a tiger or an ant could get into an elephant’s trunk, some rockets do get into Israel and cause the population to flee to underground shelters. Injury and killing are reprehensible, regardless of ethnicity or religion; but the death toll in Palestine is easily ten times that of Israel. The current death toll is 145 Palestinians including 41 children. And ten Israeli casualties.
Call it what it is-apartheid
The word apartheid is rooted in Afrikaans and means separateness or apart-hood, based on any discriminating factor be it ethnicity, national origin, religion, or gender. The apartheid in S. Africa began in 1948 and lasted until Nelson Mandela’s election win in 1994. 46 long years of barbarianism. The dehumanization of the Palestinians is a mirror image of the intense suffering in apartheid S. Africa. So why does the world shy away from calling it what it is? Is it that the United States government and many states of the European Union, as well as Hollywood and the media are controlled by Zionists?
US House of Representatives echoes with the word apartheid
US Congresspersons Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Cori Bush, Ayanna Presley, Andre Carson and Alexandra Ocasio Cortez spoke emotionally and eloquently about Israel’s apartheid policies. If the House walls could speak, they’d first shudder.
The wrong side of history
President Biden may well have taken millions from AIPAC-the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee and is thus soul-obliged to them. And as much as he is such a reprieve from Trump-trauma, his statement that the US stood with Israel for its right to self-defense, with no mention of the Palestinians whatsoever, is beyond reprehensible. His steady hand and impressive work with the Covid vaccine rollout, will be wiped away when history inscribes him as an enabler of the ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Palestinian people. These are war crimes, and the enabler is as much incriminated as the perpetrator. Israeli apartheid will end but Biden’s will be a sick legacy.
Several years ago, I gave a talk at our local synagogue related to the commonalities between Jews and Muslims and creating an atmosphere of cooperation and understanding. In that process I was befriended by this lovely Jewish lady who was charmed with my writing skills. We would hang out and discuss writing and publication. I was invited for dinner with Jewish friends, which included a rabbi, and we had fun discussions in person and on an email group. One day I mentioned the horror of Palestinian women, unable to make it to hospitals and delivering at checkpoints. The emails suddenly got very hot. And I was told to apologize as I was “talking to people who broke bread with the Congresswoman”. That logic is foreign to me. I wondered why I had to apologize for what was a fact. And so, it continued till they threw me out of the email group. Very influenced with Quranic verses (4:9 and 33:70) which say to be mindful of God, to speak in a direct fashion and for justice, I had no regrets. A year or so later I ran into my Jewish friend and she apologized for the harassment and intimidation.
In retrospect, those months feel eerie to me and very choreographed and deliberate. Didn’t work for them like they had planned but they probably do with a lot of people; intimidation in academic, professional, and business circles are well known.
The Goebbels Method
Hitler’s Information Minister perfected a form of propaganda in which lies repeated often enough became the truth to the masses and the perpetrator themselves. We have been fed these “Israel has a right to self-defense” and “Hamas is a terrorist organization” type phrases till they have become internalized. The regular American has learned to not consider Palestinians human or worthy of acknowledgement.
Heads I win, tails you lose
Israel does not want a one-state solution for the Palestinians will outnumber Jews in less than 20 years. Giving equal rights to Palestinians, while it is the democratic and right thing to do, is not acceptable to the concept of Jewish supremacy.
The two-state solution is also not acceptable to Israel as it involves giving up land that Israel has acquired by forced displacement and dispossession of Palestinians since 1948.
Occupation, an open-air prison and the brutalization of the Palestinians is Israel’s sole focus.
The end of oppression
A beautiful couplet from a poem by Sahir Ludhianwi a famous Pakistani poet:
Zulm phir zulm hai barhta hai to kat jaata hai
Khun phir khun hai tapkey ga to jam jaye ga
Oppression is but oppression and when it reaches its peak it is destroyed
Blood is but blood, when it drips, it congeals to always be a testament to oppression
· Moral pressure and the tide of public opinion:
Like Sahir Ludhainwi said it appears that Israel’s intoxication with power has reached its pinnacle. And unlike any other time, public opinion against Israel is also reaching a crescendo. Even within Israel it is said that this is breaking the moral fiber of Israelis. In the past Israeli brutalization happened in pervasive silence. But now Peter Beinart’s New York Times article speaks of a one state solution, Senator Bernie Sanders wrote that Palestinian Lives Matter, Ali Velshi spoke courageously of Israel's apartheid and ethnic cleansing and Trevor Noah of The Daily Show explained the power inequality between Israel and Palestine
· BDS: Boycott, Divest, Sanction bdsmovement.net
Boycotts involve withdrawing support from Israel's apartheid regime. Divestment campaigns urge banks, pension funds and universities to withdraw investments from Israel and all Israeli and international companies that sustain Israeli apartheid. Sanctions campaigns pressure governments to fulfil their legal obligations to end Israeli apartheid.
· Boycott Israeli products, bar code 729
A bar code beginning with 729 on any product indicates that it is made in Israel. This can be our individual effort so we can rest the gnawing of our consciences and not keep feeling this intense helplessness. The BDS movement and the boycott of Israeli products can have an intense cumulative effect.
· Suspension of trade and diplomatic ties with Israel
Until a firm and equitable solution is found. Be it a one-state or a two-state solution.
· Filing war crimes cases against Israel in the International Criminal Court
The ICC is watching the current escalation in Palestine. Israel is not a member of the ICC and says the ICC does not have jurisdiction over the West Bank and Gaza but the main ICC prosecutor Ms. Bensouda says the ICC does have jurisdiction.
· American solutions
Americans in general and Muslim Americans in particular, must do their due diligence and work to elect candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Andre Carson, Ayanna Pressley, Cori Bush, Ilhan Omar, Keith Ellison and Rashida Tlaib. Our hard-earned money must not go for photo ops or favors with candidates servile to Israel.
The apartheid in S. Africa ended after 46 years. The Gaza and West Bank occupation, dispossession and ethnic cleansing began in 1967. Israel expected the extinction of Palestinians and is frustrated that they still exist. The world must end 54 years of Israeli apartheid. Free Palestine-it is more than time.
By Dr. Mahjabeen Islam.