The policies and practices implemented by the Israeli regime on the people and land of Palestine are strikingly similar to those implemented by the South African apartheid regime and are in direct violation of the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.
Israeli apartheid is rooted in the state’s creation in 1948, when more than two-thirds of the indigenous Palestinian population were ethnically cleansed from their homes and lands to create the Jewish majority needed to establish the Jewish state. Since 1948, the Israeli state has implemented forcible transfer of populations, land expropriation, labour exploitation, ghettoization, humiliation and murder of indigenous Palestinian to maintain Israeli domination over Palestinians.
This crackling bit of prose – courtesy of the folks who are about to bring us Israeli Apartheid Week 2008 (after successful stints in 2005, 2006 and 2007) – is an odd combination of inflammatory and yet turgid, racist and yet mundane, tragic and yet comic in its mendacity and utter pomposity. But it’s also real. These people are coming to a campus near you in a few weeks (Feb. 3 to 10) to inform us that Israelis are occupiers and the Palestinians are their victims.
Never mind all those charming young men and women with Semtex and 10 pounds of nails strapped to their chests who are obliterating all of those wicked Israeli colonialists on their way home from Grade 3. A mere side point. For as we know from our friends on the left, there are no civilian targets, anyway. In between soccer results and bites of falafel, Israelis plan strategies of colonization, and suicide bombings are just the tactics of liberation.
So here’s another definition of the “postmodern”: any piece of delusional fantasy that gets an airing as serious discourse. Apartheid week is the postmodern in all of its perverse glory. One can, I suppose, close one’s ears until all of the shouting stops, but I think there’s a better way, and that’s to get informed on the utter deception that is being perpetrated here by people who yell apartheid and scream about freedom – usually within the cushy confines of some Western university – and then want to boycott Israeli academics.
Prof. Menachem Kellner, an internationally respected scholar of Jewish thought and head of the Jewish studies department at the University of Haifa, has spent much time and energy writing and lecturing on the lies that form the basis of the attempted boycott of Israel for being an “apartheid” state. In his words, a “pastiche of distortions” are used to generate support for the ultimate aim of Israel’s destruction.
Some months ago, I invited Kellner to speak about these issues in Toronto. As coincidence or providence would have it, his visit to Toronto coincides with the shenanigans of Apartheid Week. I urge every single person who is interested in being informed about what is happening on campus and about the assault that Jewish students are increasingly facing to attended Prof. Kellner’s lecture, sponsored by Torah in Motion, in Toronto at Yeshivat Or Chaim on Thursday, Feb. 7 at 8 p.m.