ANTI APARTHEID IN THE SHADOWS OF 9/11

Commentary by Chippy Dee, Photos © by Bud Korotzer 
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View from the meeting hall at NYU … The building with red lights is the new WTC Building under construction.
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The evening of February 27th, on the occasion of the 8th Israeli Apartheid Week, NYU Students for Justice in Palestine hosted a meeting on the subject of Apartheid in Israel/Palestine: Legality and Morality.  The 2 extremely  knowledgeable and dynamic speakers were Noura Erakat, a Palestinian attorney and activist who is currently teaching international human rights law in the Middle East at Georgetown University and Omar Barghouti, an independent Palestinian commentator and human rights activist.  He is a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and the Palestinian Civil Society Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Campaign against Israel.  The large room was filled to capacity and the overflow crowd had to wait outside.

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Erakat began by defining apartheid and then, using a flow chart, went on to show the many Israeli laws (Israel has no constitution) that that have created that policy.  For example, citizenship, 2 categories, one, the more privileged, reserved for Jews only. There are very many other laws that impact quite differently on many aspects of the lives of Jews and non-Jews.  In ways, according to both Nelson Mandela and Bishop Tutu, the apartheid practiced in Israel is much harsher than what existed in South Africa.

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Barghouti spoke next and with the aid of a series of photos and graphics he discussed the anti-apartheid movement pointing out that with current communication technology the movement has taken about 6 years to accomplish what took 30 years for the South Africans to achieve.  He said that BDS is not a movement, it is a tactic, and that the anti-apartheid movement takes no position on the question of a one state or a two state solution. He made many references to Martin Luther King pointing out that his position, as well as the position of people fighting apartheid in South Africa was, “One man, one vote”. If equality did not destroy the U.S. A. or South Africa, why should we assume that real democracy will destroy Israel? He said  that many people say they support Palestinian rights but object to the right of return – this is a contradiction. Since about 68% of the Palestinian population are refugees one cannot deny them the right of return and say that one supports Palestinian rights.  One of his final points was that if people here are struggling for a more just world in general, that will impact positively on the lives of Palestinians because it is all part of the same struggle and no individual struggle exists in isolation.

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The meeting concluded with a Q & A period.  Some questions were somewhat hostile but they were responded to respectfully with an unshakable emphasis on human rights. Both speakers repeatedly emphasized that every refugee from anywhere should have a right of return, and that gays, women, and all racial and ethnic minorities should have full human rights.

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The slide show…

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The Q&A Period …

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1 Comment

  1. February 29, 2012 at 21:47

    […] ANTI APARTHEID IN THE SHADOWS OF 9/11 […]


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