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Friday, March 24, 2017

Why is Israel scared of accusations of apartheid?

Why is Israel scared of accusations of apartheid?
By: Nathan Feldman
              Recently, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) released a human rights report on Israeli practices that concluded, from Reuters, that “Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole”. This report, published by Richard Falk, is the first of its kind originating from the UN. Soon after, the Israeli government, the Trump administration, and the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres pressured Rima Khalaf, the head of ESCWA, to rescind the report. She refused and instead resigned in protest through a series of actions thoroughly outlined by Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept (article linked at bottom).

              Now, my personal view is that this report is both accurate and long overdue, and it was a pleasant surprise that a UN agency was finally recognizing the harsh reality of apartheid Palestinians face every day. While ideologues from all sides could debate this fact indefinitely, many legitimate responses were available to Israel and the Trump administration that were not used. The Trump administration could have merely issued a statement in line with its own ideological beliefs slamming the report as “offensive”, the Israeli government could have merely likened the report to “Nazi propaganda”, and allowed discussion to continue. The Secretary General of the UN could have, for his part, distanced himself from the report without taking further action. But these parties did not stop there.

              Instead, Antonio Guterres, in acquiescence to the Israeli and US governments, decided to pressure ESCWA to rescind its report from the Internet entirely, which it eventually did.  This was a blatant act of censorship against 18 Arab and Muslim majority nations, an act sure to inflame governments and individuals across the Middle East and North Africa. Blatantly censoring a human rights report for taking a particular ideological stance on a topic brings us just another step closer to authoritarianism both at home and abroad.  The ease with which President Trump was able to censor this report should especially concern other groups which he and his administration have targeted for their stance on Israel across the political spectrum from J Street to pro-BDS organizations. If the UN is not a valid stage for these groups to voice their concerns, where should they seek to address Israel’s ongoing apartheid and occupation?
               Ironically, this act of censorship only serves to confirm the beliefs of those sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, and rightly so. Moving forward, we at UMD SJP intend to hold Israel and other institutions complicit in the occupation accountable through our campus boycott effort and through open forums in which we discuss the conditions Palestinians must deal with every day of their lives. We will not succumb to bullying campaigns from outside groups wishing to silence our message.

The original UN report can be found here:
Referenced Links:
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1 comment:

  1. Once again more of the campaign to deligitimize israel.

    This report basically called for the end of the right of return, which is israels reason for being.

    This report was written by anti semites for antisemites.