By Maurice Ostroff
With "Israel apartheid week" (IAW) currently spreading its hate message around the world, it is timely to consider some little-known facts about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) that very successfully promotes these activities. IAW is a well-funded highly professional annual series of events that take place in over 250 cities.
.But did you know that BDS leaders oppose the Palestinian Authority?
Well-intentioned supporters of BDS will be shocked to learn the real attitude of BDS organizers to the Palestinian Authority. Omar Barghouti is a founder and leader of BDS and this is how he described the PA in a 2004 article in The Electronic Intifada
“In the West Bank you have a largely quisling [traitor] government that is completely supporting Israel in anything it wants to do. They get immediate support from the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah, which is an unelected authority imposed by an American general”
On October 2009 he wrote in Electronic intifada
"The PA government there has illegally appropriated the PLO’s authority to conduct Palestinian diplomacy and set foreign policy, conceding Palestinian rights and acting against Palestinian national interests, without worrying about accountability to any elected representatives of the Palestinian people".
And did you know that BDS opposes the two-state solution
Many well-intentioned people believe the BDS movement is worthy of support because they mistakenly believe that BDS advocates the common goal to which the UN, the US, the EU and Russia as well as Israel all subscribe, namely two states, Israel and Palestine, existing side by side within agreed borders. But these supporters will be shocked to learn that in reality the BDS organizers actually oppose the two state solution.
Omar Barghouti disclosed in an article in The Electronic Intifada in 2004, that the true aim of BDS in his words is “euthanasia” for Israel. The objective of BDS, he said, is one state to which all Palestinian refugees and their descendants will “return”.
Barghouti is not referring to the original number of approximately 700,000 to whom the word “return” may apply but to the estimated 4.7 million presently defined by UNRWA as Palestinian refugees so as to kill the two-state solution. In his words
“The two-state solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is really dead. Good riddance”
While most well-intentioned BDS supporters consider calls to end the occupation as meaning adjustment of the 1967 lines in terms of resolution 242, Barghouti rejects this concept outright. He doesn’t recognize Israel’s right even to the pre-‘67 borders.
It is evident that well-meaning members of the public deserve to know a lot more about organizations and popular movements before giving them full support.
BDS use of the apartheid weapon
The word “apartheid” is widely used as a pejorative propaganda epithet in the full knowledge that the description is unjustified. As with every country in the world, there is much about Israel that justifies criticism, but apartheid is not among its warts.
Even Omar Barghouti, the most vocal critic of Israel admits that the apartheid description is inaccurate. In an interview with Electronic Intifada on May 31, 2009, he said,
” We don’t have to prove that Israel is identical to apartheid South Africa in order to justify the label “apartheid.”
Labeling Israel as an apartheid state comparable with the old South Africa is the most potent weapon in the armory of BDS promoters. The argument goes like this. Sanctions were justified against South Africa because of apartheid. Therefore if we merely associate Israel with apartheid, no matter that the appellation is unjustified, the world will simplistically support sanctions against apartheid Israel.
In fact, real apartheid enforced by legislation is currently practiced in many countries including Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, but not in Israel.
Even the new South Africa has been criticized for apartheid by none other than Al Jazeera. In a TV program titled "South Africa's new apartheid" Riz Khan asked
“Is class-based discrimination South Africa's new apartheid?”
In the Guardian of June 24, 2010, American Palestinian writer Ahmed Moor wrote that the vast majority of the 400,000 Palestinian refugees born and raised in Lebanon don’t have anything approaching the privilege that he enjoys in the US. He said Lebanon is the most hostile country to Palestinian refugees after Israel.
“They are second-class citizens here. Racism is so widespread that African and Asian guest workers are openly barred from attending the beaches where Lebanese people frolic. And that's saying nothing of the often inhumane working conditions they are subjected to on a daily basis”.
Former US Ambassador to the UN, Daniel Patrick Moynihan declared categorically that the situation in Israel is not apartheid. He added that racism under apartheid was skin color. “Applied to Israel that's a joke: for proof just look at a crowd of Israeli Jews and their gradations in skin-color from the blackest to the whitest”.
In “The apartheid analogy: Lessons for Israel” (Jerusalem Post Feb. 20, 2011), Professor Gideon Shimoni, an acknowledged expert on the subject, wrote
“While Israel's democratic constitution is certainly flawed, only hostile prejudice explains the ever-growing trend of comparing it with apartheid South Africa ..in the propaganda war against Israel an equation is fabricated insidiously between the present State of Israel and the former apartheid state of South Africa. This must be exposed as a malicious slander, and utterly refuted”.