Beyond John Kerry’s “Israeli apartheid” moment
By Nureddin Sabir
Editor, Redress Information & Analysis
It would seem that recurring exposure to Israel and its repulsive Zionist leaders over the past nine months is forcing the truth upon the US secretary of state, John Kerry.
Speaking at a closed meeting of the Trilateral Commission on 25 April, he warned that if Israel doesn’t make peace soon, it could become “an apartheid state”, like the old South Africa, the Daily Beast news website reports.
“A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative. Because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second class citizens – or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state,” Kerry told the gathering of senior officials and experts from the US, Western Europe, Russia and Japan. “Once you put that frame in your mind, that reality, which is the bottom line, you understand how imperative it is to get to the two-state solution, which both leaders, even yesterday, said they remain deeply committed to,” he added.
In a further outburst of truth at the same meeting, Kerry lashed out against Israel’s Jewish squatter colony-building programme. “There is a fundamental confrontation and it is over settlements. Fourteen thousand new settlement units announced since we began negotiations. It’s very difficult for any leader to deal under that cloud,” he said.
Kerry’s rendezvous with the truth about Israel had surfaced in earnest on 7 April, when he openly blamed Israel for the breakdown of peace talks during a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Tip of the apartheid iceberg
But Kerry doesn’t seem to be quite ready to admit the full extent to which Israel is already an apartheid state.
As the journalist Jonathan Cook has stated,
When people call Israel an apartheid state, they are referring to the crime of apartheid as defined in international law. According to the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, apartheid comprises inhumane acts “committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime”.
In this regard, Israeli apartheid is far wider than the institutionalized discrimination practised against the Palestinians in the occupied territories and the preferential treatment enjoyed by the Jewish squatters in the territories.
As Cook reminds us,
- Israel has nationalized 93 per cent of Palestinian-owned land in the country so that Jewish citizens can exclude Palestinian Arab citizens;
- Israel operates vetting committees, enshrined in law, in hundreds of rural communities precisely to prevent Palestinian Arabs from living in these communities;
- Israel has separate citizenship laws – the Law of Return (1950) and the Citizenship Law (1952) – based on ethnic belonging;
- Israel has designed its citizenship laws to confer rights on Jews who are not actually yet citizens or present in the state, privileging them over Palestinian Arabs who do have citizenship and are present in the state;
- Israel has more than 55 laws that explicitly discriminate based on which ethnic group a citizen belongs to;
- Israel defers some of what should be its sovereign powers to extra-territorial bodies – the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund – whose charters obligate them to discriminate based on ethnic belonging;
- Israel denies its citizens access to any civil institutions on personal status matters such as marriage, divorce and burial, requiring all citizens to submit to the whims and prejudices of religious leaders; and
- Israel does not recognize its own nationality, and makes it possible to join the dominant national group (Jews) or to immigrate only through conversion.
That is apartheid pure and simple.
John Kerry has taken a few small steps towards publicly acknowledging the unpleasant reality of Zionist Israel. His journey is reminiscent of that of a former US secretary of state, James Baker, who 24 years ago publicly rebuked the Israelis for obstructing US efforts to start peace talks with the Palestinians, and invited them to call the White House when they are ready for peace.
The question now is whether Kerry will go where Baker did not and actually do something about it, or whether he will sit back and content himself with airing his frustration, as if that would magically resolve the problem.
In his 25 April speech to the Trilateral Commission, Kerry hinted at what he might do if the Israelis continue to obstruct peace.
According to the Daily Beast, he said that he was considering publicly laying out a comprehensive US plan for a final agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, in a last-ditch effort to forge a deal before the Obama administration leaves office in 2017.
“We have enough time to do any number of things, including the potential at some point in time that we will just put something out there. ‘Here it is, folks. This is what it looks like. Take it or leave it,’” Kerry said
If that is literally Washington’s final trump card, then it does not take a genius to guess how the Israelis will respond.
But if Kerry’s “take it or leave it” is a diplomat’s way of saying “there will be consequences for taking it and other, unpleasant consequences for leaving it, then Tel Aviv might begin to take him seriously.