The People of Israel must liberate themselves by Liberating Palestine
The archbishop of South Africa and an icon in the anti-Apartheid struggle, Desmond Tutu,1 published an article in the Israeli daily "Haaretz" from 14 August 2014, in which he called on the Israeli people to liberate themselves by liberating the oppressed people of Palestine. Tutu asked a crowd at a demonstration to chant with him against the illegal occupation of Palestine and all the cruelties against the Palestinian people that were committed by the Zionist occupying regime in Palestine. But he also told the demonstrators that ""We are not opposed to Jews."
Tutu called for a worldwide support of the BDS movement, which calls on international corporations and organizations to withdraw their investments from companies that do good businesses with Israel. According to Tutu, 17 EU governments urged their citizens to avoid doing business in or investing in illegal Israeli colonial settlements. Besides a call for divestments, the BDS calls for boycott and sanctions against Israel as long as the Zionist occupation regime strangles the People of Palestine.
The archbishop condemned those in Palestine for firing missiles at Israel, but he blamed even more the Israeli side for causing thousands of death and devastating devastations in the Gaza Strip. "The State of Israel is behaving as if there is no tomorrow." Tutu was also very clear "that the people of Palestine have every right to struggle for their dignity and freedom. It is a struggle that has the support of many around the world." According to the late Professor of Sociology at the Hebrew University, Baruch Kimmerling, the Palestinian People have the right to use any weapons at their disposal to fight for their freedom and self-determination.
Tutu's plea for non-violence might have worked in South Africa, but will it also work under the prevailing dominance of Zionist ideology? Will his appeal be heard by a right-wing nationalist government or an ideologically intoxicated population that calls for the separation between Israelis and Palestinians or for the expulsion of the Arab minority from the State of Israel? "Death to Arabs" or "Arabs to the Gas" are common political slogans at demonstrations. Haven't just over 10 000 people demonstrated in Tel Aviv for the re-occupation of the Gaza Strip? Who in Israel could bring about a mind-set shift, when people like Gideon Levy be in fear of his life by just holding up the horror-mirror of Gaza to his compatriots?
With all due respect for the political achievements of Archbishop Tutu, Israel is not South Africa. The European Jewry had to go through the hell of the Holocaust, which makes the difference in the attitude of the Western governments in their support of whatever brutal occupying regime over the Palestinian people reigns in Israel. Successful boycotts that have been applied in South Africa will not lead to the same results in Israel. To get anywhere politically in Israel, one has to get rid of the racist and colonial ideology of Zionism. Without this ideological superstructure Israel could be a state like any other. Wasn't that the vision the founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, dreamed of, when he wrote his pamphlet "The Jewish State"? Why doesn't the international community help to make Herzl's dream come true, so Israelis and Palestinians can finally live together peacefully in a secular and democratic bi-national state?
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|Liaquat Ali Khan|