Only one way to bring down Israeli apartheid
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As in all anti-colonial struggles there is an agonising high price to pay by the oppressed. The death toll rises hourly in Gaza, the West Bank and throughout Palestine. The international community cannot remain indifferent, and it has been uplifting for the beleaguered Palestinian people to see they are not alone in their struggle for survival.
Humanity’s voice and resolve must rise in sustained anger, to mourn and mobilise, as the best way to respect the dead. At times, virtually entire families have been obliterated. The spreading of awareness and the truth is necessary to break through Zionist Israel’s false narrative and mythology; the impunity provided by Western powers for its heinous crimes; and the need to counter mainstream media disinformation.
Our resolve is more vital with the barbaric onslaught on the people of Palestine as Israeli warmongers threaten unrestrained war and a final solution. This is a time for rededication as never before. We must protest our outrage at Israel’s war crimes, recognised as such in international law. As office blocks in Gaza are turned to rubble, Israel’s intentions to obliterate media outlets along with Palestinian lives shows its fear of its wicked crimes reaching the outside world. So much for the claim that it is the Middle East’s sole democracy.
Palestinians appeal to us to break the criminal international support and appeasement of Israel and match their courage. It is imperative we confront the shameless complicity of US administrations since 1948. How macabre President Joe Biden’s assertion that Israel is justified in bombing Gaza in self-defence. How insidious the connivance of perfidious Britain, hypocritical France, shameless Germany, the repugnant regimes from Austria, Brazil, Hungary to India, Lithuania and Poland; the white domains of Australia and Canada; along with the treachery of spineless Arab states.
It is South Africa’s sacred duty to mobilise to build the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign to new heights, and rally to the defence of the Palestinian people. We must counter Zionist lies with the truth. We must support international Jewish voices for justice, along with humanity, to expose Zionism equating criticising Israel with anti-Semitism. Racist xenophobia in Israel, with state complicity and police brutality, has let loose the pogroms so reminiscent of Czarist Russia and Kristal Nacht in Germany, 1938.
There are Nazi-era analogies. One of Ben Gurion's own ministers, Aharon Cizling, stated after the Deir Yassin massacre in May 1948: “Now we too have behaved like Nazis and my whole being is shaken.” Einstein and Hannah Arendt warned of the rise of fascist parties in Israel that very year Menachem Begin visited New York to raise funds. Future Prime Minister Begin, was leader of the terrorist Irgun, and forerunner of Likud and the butchers Sharon and Netanyahu.
A desperate Netanyahu, seeing the premiership slipping away, with the likelihood of a prison term on corruption charges looming, grasps an escape route by fermenting all-out war on Gaza. The Israeli armaments industry is licking its chops at the opportunity to show off its latest war-proven hardware. It's time again for good business. Every time Gaza is demolished and lives crushed, Israeli sales and shares rocket.
What Netanyahu and the criminal Israeli military did not bargain for was the way in which the forced displacement of Palestinian households in Sheikh Jarrah and across Jerusalem – to Judaize the Holy City – and the sacrilegious assault on the al-Aqsa Mosque, shooting and beating those at prayer, would unite as never seen before the people of Gaza, West Bank and Palestinians living within Israel itself.
President Biden has given Israel the green light to defend itself against home-made rockets, seemingly oblivious to the IDF raining death and destruction on a besieged city of 2 million people.
Israeli leader Ben Gurion was an arch-racist and coloniser like South Africa’s unlamented architect of apartheid Hendrik Verwoerd. Gurion told his followers in 1948, when he unleashed the terror and ethnic cleansing that saw 750 000 Palestinians driven from their homes and land, almost 600 villages destroyed, that the offspring of those set to flight would forget where they came from. That was the vacuous dream of all colonisers, made to eat their words by united resistance.
It is imperative that we of the international community redouble our efforts to aid the Palestinian people in solidarity actions. The BDS campaign remains the most formidable weapon in our arsenal. It worked to bring about the demise of South African apartheid behind the people’s resistance struggle. It is growing in scope and efficacy, to the extent that Israel has identified the non-violent global movement as a strategic threat.
Israel, like apartheid South Africa, must pay for its crimes. We must urge our government to break off all relations with apartheid Israel and become a world advocate for implementing the BDS programme. We must appeal to Africa to reject Israel’s sugar-coated bribes aimed at ensnaring them. Israeli war criminals must face the International Criminal Court, and Israel must pay reparations for all the death and destruction it has caused. Palestine, the last colonial struggle, will be free.
* Ronnie Kasrils is a former South African intelligence minister.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL and Independent Media.