By Arsen Ostrovsky
This week begins an annual part of the global campaign to delegitimize and vilify the Jewish state, as anti-Israel activists and student groups on campuses around the world, including United States and Canada, mark the eighth annual Israel Apartheid Week [IAW].
According to organizers of the IAW, the purpose of the movement is to "to educate people about the nature of Israel as an apartheid system and to build Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns."
First, let's make one thing crystal clear -- attempts to brand Israel as an "apartheid" state or compare it to white South Africa are at best uninformed; and at worst, maliciously dishonest and anti-Semitic. It also does a great injustice to the real victims, who had to endure institutionalized segregation and apartheid in South Africa.
The irony is that, despite problems in Israel (as in any democracy), Arab citizens still enjoy more rights, freedoms, and liberties than do their neighbors in any number of Middle East countries currently fighting and dying for these very same privileges.
As the Muslim Arab Israeli journalist Khaled Abu Toameh says: "Israel is not an apartheid state...[it] is a free and open democratic country. The law of Israel does not distinguish between a Jew and an Arab... I would rather live as a second class citizen in Israel, even though I'm not, than a first class citizen in any Arab country."
Notably, those using the IAW to demonize Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, and which respects the rights of women, minorities, homosexuals, and people of other faiths, are holding no such events for Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad has already butchered some 7,500 pro-democracy protestors.
Nor are they holding similar events against Saudi Arabia, where homosexuality is a crime, in Egypt, where the Copts continue to be persecuted both pre- and post-Mubarak, or Iran, where women and the Baha'i are repeatedly tortured and executed.
Of course, other great bastions of human rights and democracy, like Russia and China, which recently vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling for the ousting of al-Assad, get a free pass too.
So why is Israel the only country singled out for special opprobrium?
During the IAW, you will hear all sorts of lofty humanitarian labels like "justice," "equal rights," and "peace." But don't be fooled. It is all a charade. They have no such interest. The sole purpose of the BDS movement is the vilification, delegitimization, and destruction of Israel as a Jewish state.
Just listen to what their leaders say.
Omar Barghouti, one the founders of the BDS Movement (and ironically, also a PhD student of ethics at Tel Aviv University), has said that the Palestinian refugees "Right of Return" is the "litmus test of morality for anyone suggesting a just and enduring solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict."
To put it a little more bluntly, he added: "I clearly do not buy into the two-state solution...[I]f the refugees were to return, you would not have a two-state solution, you would have a Palestine next to Palestine, rather than a Palestine next to Israel."
Other BDS leaders are equally forthright.
Ali Abunimah is the executive director of the anti-Zionist website, Electronic Intifada, and one of the leading proponents of the one-state solution as a supposedly "just" and "non-violent" solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He sees the BDS as key to achieving this. But only last month, he tweeted: "Isn't it the time for a popular Palestinian revolution in the form of a third intifada?" Is that because the first and second intifadas were so "non-violent" also?
And then only two week ago, in what came as a major blow to the legions of Israel haters, anti-Zionist poster-boy Norman Finkelstein said the BDS Movement's call for the "Right of Return" was just "a cover for its desire to see the destruction of Israel," calling the movement "disingenuous" and a "cult."
Granted, Finkelstein made these comments not out of a new found Zionism or desire to advance peace in the Middle East, but rather he believes there are other "more efficient" means for anti-Israel activists to achieve the goals.
But undoubtedly the most illuminating of all the statements by BDS leaders came from Ahmed Koor (another proponent of the Palestinian "Right of Return'", who wrote in April 2010: "Ending the occupation doesn't mean anything if it doesn't mean upending the Jewish state itself...BDS is not another step on the way to the final showdown; BDS is The Final Showdown."
The similarity between Koor's "Final Showdown" and Hitler's "Final Solution" is as unmistakable as it is chillingly revealing about the BDS Movement's true motives.
Whereas Hitler's "Final Solution" sought to bring about the end of the Jewish people, the BDS Movement's "Final Showdown" seeks to bring about the end of Israel as the Jewish state, by endorsing a one-state solution and flooding Israel with millions of Palestinians.
The BDS movement is nothing short of racist, insidious, and anti-Semitic. Its goal is not to advance Palestinian rights, but to deny and strip Israel of its rights, with the ultimate objective being the destruction of the Jewish state.
The most unfortunate thing is that supporters of IAW and BDS do nothing to advance the cause of peace or well-being of Palestinians or Israeli Arabs. But then again, that has never been their goal in the first place. They only breed further hate and extremism at a time when peace and cooperation is needed most.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
More Quotes About "Palestine"
"There is no such country as Palestine. 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented. There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria. 'Palestine' is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it".
- Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, Syrian Arab leader to British Peel Commission, 1937 -
"There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not".
- Professor Philip Hitti, Arab historian, 1946 -
"It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern Syria".
- Representant of Saudi Arabia at the United Nations, 1956 -
Concerning the Holy Land, the chairman of the Syrian Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in February 1919 stated:
"The only Arab domination since the Conquest in 635 c.e. hardly lasted, as such, 22 years".
"There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent (valley of Jezreel, Galilea); not for thirty miles in either direction... One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings. For the sort of solitude to make one dreary, come to Galilee... Nazareth is forlorn... Jericho lies a mouldering ruin... Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and humiliation... untenanted by any living creature... A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds... a silent, mournful expanse... a desolation... We never saw a human being on the whole route... Hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil had almost deserted the country... Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes... desolate and unlovely...".
- Mark Twain, "The Innocents Abroad", 1867 -
"In 1590 a 'simple English visitor' to Jerusalem wrote: 'Nothing there is to bescene but a little of the old walls, which is yet remayning and all the rest is grasse, mosse and weedes much like to a piece of rank or moist grounde'.".
- Gunner Edward Webbe, Palestine Exploration Fund,
Quarterly Statement, p. 86; de Haas, History, p. 338 -
"The land in Palestine is lacking in people to till its fertile soil".
- British archaeologist Thomas Shaw, mid-1700s -
"Palestine is a ruined and desolate land".
- Count Constantine François Volney, XVIII century French author and historian -
"The Arabs themselves cannot be considered but temporary residents. They pitched their tents in its grazing fields or built their places of refuge in its ruined cities. They created nothing in it. Since they were strangers to the land, they never became its masters. The desert wind that brought them hither could one day carry them away without their leaving behind them any sign of their passage through it".
- Comments by Christians concerning the Arabs in Palestine in the 1800s -
"Then we entered the hill district, and our path lay through the clattering bed of an ancient stream, whose brawling waters have rolled away into the past, along with the fierce and turbulent race who once inhabited these savage hills. There may have been cultivation here two thousand years ago. The mountains, or huge stony mounds environing this rough path, have level ridges all the way up to their summits; on these parallel ledges there is still some verdure and soil: when water flowed here, and the country was thronged with that extraordinary population, which, according to the Sacred Histories, was crowded into the region, these mountain steps may have been gardens and vineyards, such as we see now thriving along the hills of the Rhine. Now the district is quite deserted, and you ride among what seem to be so many petrified waterfalls. We saw no animals moving among the stony brakes; scarcely even a dozen little birds in the whole course of the ride".
- William Thackeray in "From Jaffa To Jerusalem", 1844 -
"The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is of a body of population".
- James Finn, British Consul in 1857 -
"The area was underpopulated and remained economically stagnant until the arrival of the first Zionist pioneers in the 1880's, who came to rebuild the Jewish land. The country had remained "The Holy Land" in the religious and historic consciousness of mankind, which associated it with the Bible and the history of the Jewish people. Jewish development of the country also attracted large numbers of other immigrants - both Jewish and Arab. The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and carts... Houses were all of mud. No windows were anywhere to be seen... The plows used were of wood... The yields were very poor... The sanitary conditions in the village [Yabna] were horrible... Schools did not exist... The rate of infant mortality was very high... The western part, toward the sea, was almost a desert... The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants".
- The report of the British Royal Commission, 1913 -