On 3rd December a group of us were leafletting outside Barclays Bank. We were pointing that Israel is an apartheid state. Apartheid is a crime against humanity. The bank finances the Israeli military via eg Elbit and its demolition of Palestinian homes via eg JCB. We were pointing out that Barclays supported the South African Apartheid and it is supporting the new Israeli Apartheid.
One man refused to take a leaflet. I asked him why not, and he replied that he does not hate Jews and was gone.
It would have been nice if he spent time with the Jews that were with us or listen to our speakers that were saying we oppose anti Semitism, it is a crime. We in Palestine Solidarity Campaign have a material interest that Jews do not live in fear in the UK. A wave of anti Semitism in the UK can only lead to more Jewish colonisers in Palestine, and deepen the idea that Jews can only live with Jews and Palestinians have no rights in their homeland.
Is there any hint of anti Semitism in what we are saying? Only a minority of Jews live in Israel. Of that minority only a minority consciously support the policy of apartheid.
Yet this man “knows” we hate Jews. So much so that he would not take our leaflet nor discuss with us. This man’s closed set of ideas came from a brilliant but dishonest campaign by a combination of the Israeli Embassy, right wing Labour, a cowardly media and the Tories. The right wing campaign endlessly repeats “Israel is democratic” “Israel represents all Jews” “Only Jew haters oppose Israel’s policies”. The fruits of the campaign are in the routine claims of anti Semitism, the expulsions of Jews and others from the Labour Party, the lack of honest reporting, and the huge number of closed minds
We have a hard task – but facts are stubborn things. Israel practises Apartheid. Apartheid is a crime against humanity. Apartheid is anti-democratic. Look at the facts of domination by one group over another land and water thefts, the police checks, the jailings.
Over time Starmer’s “I don’t believe that Israel is an Apartheid state” will go the same way as “I believe the earth is flat” and for the same reason. Facts are stubborn things.
Here are a few organisations that looked at Isreali reality and came to the conclusion that Israel practices apartheid.
Yesh Din is an Israeli human rights organisation that came to the conclusion that Israel practised Apartheid in the West Bank in July 2020 The Occupation of the West Bank and the Crime of Apartheid: Legal Opinion – Yesh Din (yesh-din.org)
B’Tsalem is another Israeli human rights organisation. Apartheid | B’Tselem (btselem.org) Jan 2021
Human rights watch A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution | HRW 213 pages
Amnesty international produced a 280 page report Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians: Cruel system of domination and crime against humanity – Amnesty International