This week marks the Sixth Annual Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) which is taking place across the globe in over 40 cities. Since it was first launched in 2005, IAW has grown to become one of the most important global events in the Palestine solidarity calendar. IAW 2010 takes place following a year of incredible successes for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement on the global level. Lectures, films, and actions will highlight some of theses successes along with the many injustices that continue to make BDS so crucial in the battle to end Israeli Apartheid.
Along with the growing support for IAW, there has also been a large, growing opposition from the “other side”. IAW is largely a campus-based event taking place on college and university campuses around the world. Last year saw the first real backlash in opposition from university officials who made numerous attempts to shut down the week-long events and to demonize the student organizers. This year the opposition movement has grown even further to include members of Parliament and even Toronto School’s Director of Education, who have come out and condemned even the use of the word “apartheid” claiming it incites hatred and anti-semitism.
I think when the opposition becomes so desperate as to you use the crux of anti-semitism to validate their arguments, this is when we know we are on the right side. Unfortunately, in today’s political climate, this term is being used to paint those of us who stand for equality and justice with a broad stroke of the brush. In my opinion, it’s this term (anti-semitism) that is hateful, not the term “apartheid”.
Let’s be clear about something: what is taking place in the Occupied Palestinian Territories today and for the past 60 years is indeed apartheid and anyone who denies this fact is completely delusional or ignorant of what this term really means. Even South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu used the term to describe Israel’s actions, as did Israel’s own Ehud Barak. So let’s take a look at the United Nations’ definition of the crime of apartheid (as stated in 1973, describing the apartheid regime in South Africa) and decide for ourselves whether or not this applies to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories:
“inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them”.
Sounds like Israel’s actions perfectly fit the bill of this definition…
Below is an episode from Al Jazeera’s hard-hitting program “Inside Story” which focuses specifically on Israeli Apartheid Week, the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions (BDS) movement, and the implications they have for the racist apartheid regime of Israel.
[youtube 7Ac1SnQfOfw Al Jazeera’s Inside Story – Israeli Apartheid Week]