Eyes wide open in the US on "Israel's" apartheid
More parallels are being drawn now more than ever between"Israel" has and white-ruled South Africa apartheid.
In an opinion piece for The Guardian, Chris McGreal details how the world community has increasingly pointed fingers at "Israel" for its aggressions against the Palestinians and its adoption of apartheid policies.
Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid told Israeli journalists at the beginning of the year that “We think that in the coming year, there will be debate that is unprecedented in its venom and in its radioactivity around the words ‘Israel as an apartheid state'."
Lapid's predictions were on point, as he cited two US investigations that he claimed were likely to declare that "Israel's" control of occupied Palestinian land constitutes the international crime of apartheid.
Last week, Amnesty International published a report titled: "Israel’s" Apartheid Against Palestinians: a Cruel System of Domination and a Crime Against Humanity.
The report, released Tuesday, presents a detailed investigation into how "Israel" maintains a system of apartheid against Palestinians, describing the theft of Palestinian land, unlawful murder, restriction of mobility, and other elements that clearly constitute apartheid.
What "Israel" is truly concerned about is the fracturing of the seemingly everlasting support it once had from its ally. Alon Ushpiz, the director-general of "Israel's" foreign ministry, has placed protecting longstanding bipartisan support for the Jewish state in the US at the top of a list of "Israel's" diplomatic priorities this year, as opinions of Democrats regarding the reality of "Israel" shift.
What exacerbated the view is the ample footage on social media, notably footage of Israeli attacks and mistreatment of Palestinians. The Israeli 2014 aggression on Gaza, which killed approximately 1,500 Palestinian civilians and over 600 fighters and destroyed schools and homes, caused support of "Israel" to greatly diminish in the US, particularly among those under 35.
In June, a poll revealed half of Democrats wish Washington would shift its approach to be more supportive of Palestine. The US Jewish community is also suffering from a change of heart. 25 percent of American Jews agree with the statement that "Israel is an apartheid state."
“People can see for themselves what’s happening in a way they didn’t before,” Sarah Leah Whitson, former head of Human Rights Watch's Middle East office and co-author of the study, A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution, says movements like Black Lives Matter fueled the reframing of the Palestinian narrative as a civil rights issue opposing Israeli dominance.
“It’s made it harder, particularly in the United States, for the emotional defenders of Israel, who’ve had this mythology about Israel and the kibbutz and sowing the land and this sort of fantasy of what Israel’s like, confronted with the reality of what they see in front of their faces.”
"Israel's" efforts to counter the shifting narrative have been hampered by its own actions, such as the passage of the "nation state" law in 2018, which established Jewish superiority over the country's Arab population. Occupation PM Naftali Bennett and members of his cabinet have a long history of opposing a Palestinian state.
Former Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu supported former US President Donald Trump's "peace plan" which prompted the Arab-Israeli normalization wave two years ago, further alienating some Democrats, who saw it as a pretext for Israeli annexation of the West Bank, creating Palestinian enclaves reminiscent of "Bantustan," South Africa's black homelands.
Daniel Seidemann, an Israeli lawyer who has spent decades exposing the occupation's land grab and settlement strategy in occupied Al-Quds, recently visited Washington to assess "Israel's" stance.
“The sands are shifting in the United States, in the Congress, in public opinion, and in the American Jewish community, and the apartheid discourse is part of it. There is a center but that center is not going to hold,” he said.
“Increasing numbers of people abroad are beginning to see Israel as an apartheid state and a pariah state, and Israelis are increasingly fearing that.”
US rejects Amnesty International report accusing "Israel" of apartheid
On Tuesday, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said the US rejects the view "Alleged in the aforementioned Amnesty International report that "Israel" maintains an apartheid state for Palestinians."
"We have our own rigorous standards and processes for making determinations on potential human rights abuses, for documenting what we see take place around the world, including on an annual basis in the human rights report. What I will say, however, is that we reject the view that Israel’s actions constitute apartheid," Price said during a press briefing.
"Israel" calls on Amnesty not to release report documenting crimes
Before the report was released, "Israel" demanded it is withdrawn and attempted to stop its publishing.
The organization described the report as an "official landmark", adding that it contained "new research and analysis detailing violations by Israel against the Palestinian people."
"Israel" requested that Amnesty International not publish an impending study accusing it of apartheid, claiming that the London-based international human rights organization's conclusions are "false, biased, and antisemitic."
The International Human Rights Watch said in a report last year that "Israel" is committing crimes of apartheid.