The issue of Zionism equaling racism has come to the forefront again é this time, during the UN Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Racial Intolerance. The conference is taking place in Durban, South Africa, a fitting place for such important issues. Discussion topics range from “Trafficking in Women and Children” to “Racism against Indigenous People.”
Israel has called the sponsors of the Zionism debate — anti-Semitic. Among the sponsors, are Arabs, who are Semitic themselves. NGOs have already issued a condemnation of Israel or Zionism – the movement behind the creation of the modern state of Israel. The ideology is so controversial that the United Nations passed Resolution 3379 on November 10, 1975, stating that “Zionism is a form of racism and discrimination.” The resolution also noted “the unholy alliance between South African racism and Zionism.”
But Israelis will argue that the UN has always been anti-Israel. We’ll forget that the UN issued a resolution giving 55% of Palestine for a Jewish state in 1947 even though Palestine’s Jewish occupants owned less than 10% of the land.
How about these memorable quotes?
“After we become a strong force as the result of the creation of the state, we shall abolish partition and expand to the whole of Palestine. The state will only be a stage in the realization of Zionism and its task is to prepare the ground for our expansion. The state will have to preserve order – not by preaching but with machine guns.” — First Israeli Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, 1938.
“[The Palestinians are] beasts walking on two legs.” éIsraeli Prime Minister and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Menachem Begin, speech to the Knesset, quoted in Amnon Kapeliouk, ‘Begin and the “Beasts,” New Statesman, June 25, 1982.
Let’s consider a list of some of Israeli policies toward Palestinians.
When Jewish settler and doctor, Baruch Goldstein, murdered 29 Muslims at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, a curfew was imposed on the 130,000 Palestinian residents and not the 500 illegal Jewish settlers.
When a Jewish settler confessed last year to killing a Palestinian child in the West Bank and even pressing his shoe against the young boy’s neck, he received a trial, enjoyed the services of an attorney, and served less than a year in jail. Palestinian murder suspects generally don’t have the opportunity of a trial, no access to an attorney, and yet are sentenced for many years in jail.
When a Palestinian suicide bomber’s family is identified, their homes are generally demolished. When an Israeli kills even the prime minister of Israel, as was the case with Israeli terrorist/assassin Yigal Amir and Late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the unapologetic Amir and his family were mainly concerned with when they could soon visit Amir.
Israeli citizens and illegal Jewish settlers drive with yellow license plates, which allow them freedom to travel throughout the Holy Land. Palestinians drive with license plates that are different, making their cars easily identifiable and subjecting the drivers and passengers to rigorous questioning by Israeli border patrolmen.
Non-Jewish Israelis cannot buy or lease land in Israel.
There has always been a severe water crisis in the Palestinian areas. The immediate and direct reason for the water shortage is Israel’s discriminatory water policy, implemented through Mekorot, Israel’s water authority, which drastically cuts the water allocated to Palestinian towns and villages during the summer months in order to meet the increased consumption of water in Israel and the Israeli settlements.
Despite the Oslo Accords, an average of 37, 500 dunums of Palestinian land was confiscated every month for Jewish settlements/colonies. Israel’s policies have involved planning regulations – prohibiting Palestinian building on 40% of Gaza, 70% of the West Bank and 80% of Jerusalem. The building of these illegal settlements or colonies hasn’t even halted during the latest uprising.
A few years ago, the Israeli government was shown to have a 70:30 policy in the City of Jerusalem. Efforts to maintain a 70% Jewish population over 29% Muslim and 1% Christian populations. This has been accomplished through home demolitions, denial of building permits, ID card confiscations, and residency revocations.
But the racism and oppression are best demonstrated by the story of a bereaved Palestinian father who embraced his dead daughter and wailed at a checkpoint this past January. He was forbidden from even taking his dead baby girl through the checkpoint to get her cleansed before an Islamic burial, as is customary. “Is there more fascism than what those soldiers are doing? Is there more humiliation than what we are living?”
Sherri Muzher is a Palestinian-American activist, lawyer, and freelance journalist.