Sunday, February 04, 2007
Zionism, racism and apartheid
I attended an interesting meeting organised by Jews Against Zionism (JAZ) the other night on Zionism, racism and apartheid.
The two speakers were Lenni Brenner and Ori Davis. Both speakers gave their own analysis of the situation in Palestine.
The talks involved explaining the history of Zionism, how it originated, its class dimension and its political organisation including analyses of spiritual, revisionist and Labour Zionism. Lenni, for example, explained how racism is integral to Zionism. He talked about the collaboration that took place between the Zionists and the Nazis (his book “51 Documents”).
There was a contrast of the way that the Zionist state operates to the way that the apartheid state operated in South Africa. In the South African example the state regulated racism through acts of Parliament. With the apartheid system in S. Africa there was boycott and international sanctions. Israel is better at veiling its apartheid: no petty apartheid, for example in South Africa there was “whites only” recreational facilities etc but nothing as similar in Palestine. This veiling is very effective. But also, what was argued, was the economic function of apartheid in South Africa while in Palestine there is no role for the Palestinians as migrant labour is brought in. In other respects the conflicts are similar: essentially settler colonial conflicts
The history of the 1947 UN Resolution (181) which was a mandate that set out a Jewish State along with a Arab State and Jerusalem under international control. This gave legitimacy to the state of Israel and from 1948 onwards Arabs were ethnically cleansed and displaced. The Madrid and Oslo agreements of the 1990s only legitimised and perpetuated the continued colonialisation of Palestine and also with the bantustanization of the occupied territories.
What are the Palestinians or anyone who opposes Zionism to do? I support the fight for a single secular state. Mention was made of the role and organisational strength of the ANC (African National Congress). No similar resistance in Palestine is mobilised and organised like the ANC, especially the international links that the ANC built.