You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘United Nations Special Rapporteurs for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories’ tag.
If there is one thing that upsets supporters of Israel more than anything, in my experience, it is the notion that Israel is an Apartheid state. That the preferred identity in Israel is Jewish is undeniable. Jewish people own the state of Israel in a manner that no Arab ever could. If being Jewish in Israel conferred no special advantages to Jewish people over the Arab population, then for what purpose do the Zionists demand that Israel be a Jewish state? If it makes no difference in Israel what ethnicity one is, then why not allow the state of Israel to be non-Jewish, that is a democracy where nationality is conferred to all its citizens regardless of ones ethnicity? Would non-Aboriginal Australians find any problem with Australia being declared an Aboriginal state? Would they fear discrimination if such a situation eventuated? Would their fears be understandable?
The admission by Zionists that Israel is an apartheid state would constitute a total capitulation to the efforts of its enemies to delegitimize the Zionist state. They will fight this accusation to the bitter end, beyond all bounds of reason and argument. The following article appeared on the Mondoweiss website on November 1st 2011.
The law and practice of apartheid in South Africa and Palestine
Oct 31, 2011 11:36 pm | John Dugard
Editor Note: Richard Goldstone has just published a new Op-Ed on the New York Times website titled “Israel and the Apartheid Slander.” This recent article by South African international law expert John Dugard provides an interesting counter argument.
I spent most of my adult life in South Africa opposing apartheid, as an advocate, legal academic and, from 1978-1990, director of the Centre for Applied Legal Studies( a research institute engaged in human rights advocacy and litigation). In my work I compared and contrasted apartheid with international human rights standards and advocated a Constitution with a Bill of Rights in a democratic South Africa. Unlike many other South Africans, I was never imprisoned but I was prosecuted, arrested and threatened by the security police. My major book, Human Rights and the South African Legal Order (1978), the most comprehensive account of the law and practice of apartheid, was initially banned.
I had wide experience and knowledge of the three pillars of the apartheid state – racial discrimination, repression and territorial fragmentation. I lead lawyers campaigns against the eviction of black persons from neighborhoods set aside for exclusive white occupation by the Group Areas Act, and against the notorious “pass laws”, which made it an offense for blacks to be in so-called “white areas” without the correct documentation. These campaigns took the form of free legal defense to all those arrested which made the systems unmanageable. Through the Centre for Applied Legal Studies I engaged in legal challenges to the implementation of the security laws and emergency laws, which allowed detention without trial and house arrest – and, in practice, torture. I also challenged the establishment of Bantustans in the courts.
After South Africa became a democracy, I was appointed to a small committee of experts charged with the task of drafting a Bill of Rights for the 1996 South African Constitution.
I visited Israel and the OPT in 1982, 1984, 1988 and 1998 to participate in conferences on issues affecting the region. In 2001 I was appointed as Chair of a Commission of Enquiry established by the Commission on Human Rights to investigate human rights violations during the Second Intifada. In 2001 I was appointed as Special Rapporteur to the Commission on Human Rights (later Human Rights Council) on the human rights situation in the OPT. In this capacity I visited the OPT twice a year and reported to the Commission and the Third Committee of the General Assembly. My mandate expired in 2008. In February 2009 I lead a Fact-Finding Mission established by the League of Arab States to investigate and report on violations of human rights and humanitarian law in the course of Operation Cast Lead.
From my first visit to Israel/OPT I was struck by the similarities between apartheid in South Africa and the practices and policies of Israel in the OPT. These similarities became more obvious as I became better informed about the situation. As Special Rapporteur I deliberately refrained from making such comparisons until 2005 as I feared that such comparisons would prevent many governments in the West from taking my reports seriously. However, after 2005 I decided that I could not in good conscience refrain from making such comparisons.
Of course the two regimes are very different. Apartheid South Africa was a state that practiced discrimination and repression against its own people. Israel is an occupying power that controls a foreign territory and its people under a regime recognized by international humanitarian law. But in practice there is little difference. Both regimes were/are characterized by discrimination, repression and territorial fragmentation. The main difference is that the apartheid regime was more honest. The law of apartheid was openly legislated in Parliament and was clear for all to see, whereas the law governing Palestinians in the OPT is largely contained in obscure military decrees and inherited emergency regulations that are virtually inaccessible.
In my work as Commissioner and Special Rapporteur I saw every aspect of the occupation of the OPT. I witnessed the humiliating check points, which reminded me of the implementation of the pass laws (but worse), separate roads (unknown in apartheid South Africa) and the administrative demolition of houses, which reminded me of the demolition of houses in “black areas” set aside for exclusive white occupation. I visited Jenin in 2003 shortly after it had been devastated by the IDF. I spoke to families whose houses had been raided, and vandalized by the IDF; I spoke to young and old who had been tortured by the IDF; and I visited hospitals to see those who had been wounded by the IDF. I saw and, on occasion, visited settlements; I saw most of the Wall and spoke to farmers whose lands had been seized for the construction of the Wall; and I traveled through the Jordan Valley viewing destroyed Bedouin camps and check points designed to serve the interests of the settlers.
A final comment based on my personal experience. There was an altruistic element to the apartheid regime, albeit motivated by the ideology of separate development, which aimed to make the Bantustans viable states. Although not in law obliged to do so, it built schools, hospitals and roads for black South Africans. It established industries in the Bantustans to provide employment for blacks. Israel even fails to do this for Palestinians. Although in law it is obliged to cater for the material needs of the occupied people, it leaves this all to foreign donors and international agencies. Israel practices the worst kind of colonialism in the OPT. Land and water are exploited by an aggressive settler community that has no interest in the welfare of the Palestinian people – with the blessing of the state of Israel.
John Dugard is a South African international lawyer who headed the Centre for Applied Legal Studies in Johannesburg during the Apartheid era. In 1995 he assisted in the drafting of the Bill of Rights in the South African Constitution. For seven years he was Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory to the UN Human Rights Council and Commission on Human Rights. This article originally appeared in the Autumn 2011 issue of Al-Majdal.
It is a brave (or stupid) person that gets up and claims that something, or someone, is not anti-Semitic when Jewish people have already declared it, or them, to be so. You would think that if Jewish people have declared something, or someone, to be not anti-Semitic, then a reasonable response would be, who are we to disagree with them? Surely Jewish people would be pretty reasonable judges as to what is or isn’t anti-Semitic in nature?. To say that there were any Jewish people who endorsed the actions of the Nazis during Kristallnacht would be ludicrous. Nazi attitudes to Jews were utterly based in a brutal racist ideology. No Jewish person would have endorsed them.
Then what are we to make of the tens of thousands of Jewish people, both inside Israel and in the Diaspora, who have endorsed the BDS campaign, if that campaign is based in an anti-Semitism that Andrew Bolt tells us is analogous to the pogroms of the Nazis in the 30′s in Germany? Are these Jewish people (many of them Holocaust survivors) mad?
And what do we make of South Africans who judge that Israel is an Apartheid state? Surely their testimony should have as much veracity as the Jewish peoples testimony relating to who or what is anti-Semitic and who or what is not? With that in mind I have decided to post this article from the Mondoweiss website on 6/08/2011.
South African student bodies declare, ‘We recognise apartheid when we see it’
Aug 06, 2011 09:40 am | annie
An Israeli mission to South African campuses is expected to arrive on August 11. Palestinian students have written to South African colleagues asking them to challenge and boycott the Israeli delegation. Three South African student bodies– the South African Union of Students, the South African Student Congress, and the Young Communist League of South Africa issued the following statement at a joint press conference yesterday at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. The groups included South Africa’s oldest and most representative student bodies.
JOINT STUDENT STATEMENT
There is no doubt, Israel is an Apartheid state; There is only one word, boycott!
We, students and youth of a post Apartheid South Africa, who bear the scars of a racist history and who continue to fight for complete liberation, have a duty and responsibility to stand in solidarity with those facing oppression worldwide. Israeli apartheid is one such form of oppression.
Israeli media boast that a mission of 150 Israeli propagandists will be sent to universities in 5 countries to fix Israel’s “serious image problems”. The Israeli mission will begin on South African campuses on the 11th of August, with a delegation that includes at least two aides from the Israeli parliament. A delegation member was clear about the intention of their trip: “We have to create some doubt in their [South African students’] minds.”
Don’t patronize us! We lived apartheid, we suffered apartheid, we know what apartheid is, we recognise apartheid when we see it. And when we see Israel, we see a regime that practices apartheid. Israel’s image needs no changing; its policies do! We urge Israeli students to instead join the growing and inspiring internal resistance to their regime, particularly the boycott from within movement, rather than waste time and money on these propaganda trips to deceive us Black students, South Africans have no need for these Muldergate-like trips.
A “major focus” of the Israeli trip will be the University of Johannesburg (UJ). On 1st April 2011 UJ’s Senate, with the full backing of UJ’s Student Representative Council, terminated its institutional relationship with Israel’s Ben-Gurion University. Indeed, UJ set an academic boycott of Israel precedent that all other South African and international universities can follow.
Following UJ’s decision, and in response to a letter sent to us by Palestinian students, we urge all SRCs, student groups and other youth structures to strategize and implement a boycott of Israel and its campaigns. We declare that all SA campuses must be Apartheid-Israel free zones.
As with the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, international solidarity is key in overcoming Israeli Apartheid. In Nelson Mandela’s words: ‘It behoves all South Africans, erstwhile beneficiaries of generous international support, to stand up and be counted among those contributing actively to the cause of freedom and justice….we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.’
FOR THE RECORD
A. On Education
1. The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories has had disastrous effects on access to education for Palestinians. Palestinian students face poverty, harassment and humiliation as a result of Israeli policy and actions.
2. Israel mounted direct attacks on Palestinian education, including the complete closures of two Palestinian universities in 2003 and the targeting and bombing of more than 60 primary and secondary schools during the Israeli attacks on Gaza in 2009.
3. Israel’s assault on the education of Palestinians is illegal under international law. The right to education is a fundamental human right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international instruments.
4. The Israeli blockade of Gaza has had a detrimental impact on students. Gaza’s electricity supply is controlled by Israel and shut-down for several hours most days, making it difficult for students to study. Moreover, the blockade means insufficient quantities of educational equipment, such as paper, desks and books, reach students.
B. On Israeli Apartheid
5. Several of our senior leaders have compared Israel to Apartheid South Africa, including Comrades Kgalema Mothlantle, Blade Nzimande, Zwelinzima Vavi, Rob Davies, Jeremy Cronin, Ahmed Kathrada, Winnie Mandela, Ronnie Kasrils, Denis Goldberg, the late Kader Asmal and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
6. Both the former and current United Nations Special Rapporteurs for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories have requested that Israel be investigated for the crime of apartheid.
7. In an official report commissioned by the South African government in 2009, the Human Sciences Research Council confirmed that Israel, by its policies and practices, is guilty of the crime of apartheid.
8. In November 2010, South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation called upon the Israeli government “to cease their activities that are reminiscent of apartheid forced removals…”
C. On Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)
8. Palestinian civil society, including student groups, have called for a policy of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel until it abides by international law.
9. This call has the endorsement of the largest and most representative coalition of civil and political society in Palestine. The call also has the support of a growing number of progressive Israeli groups.
10. In 2010, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Professor Richard Falk, said: “It is politically and morally appropriate, as well as legally correct, to accord maximum support to the BDS campaign.”
11. COSATU, South Africa’s largest trade union federation was one of the first unions to endorse the BDS call. Subsequently, numerous other international trade unions have also adopted a pro-BDS position.
12. Several international groups have began to advance the BDS call in the cultural, consumer, sports, economic and academic spheres. Earlier this year the largest student union in Europe, the ULU, passed a motion in support of BDS.”
ISSUED AT WITS UNIVERSITY ON THURSDAY THE 4th OF AUGUST 2011 BY
South African Union of Students, South African Student Congress and the Young Communist League of South Africa
* SASCO is South Africa’s oldest and largest student organization.
** The SA Union of Students (SAUS) comprises all South African university Student Representative Councils and is the most representative student union in the country.
*** The Young Communist League of South Africa (YCL) has local branches at all South African universities