Image of the apartheid wall in West Bank
Israel’s racist right wing regime is turning the heat on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists. Is this any different to the “total onslaught” against freedom struggle activists by the former apartheid government in South Africa? In fact, it is much worse. Daily accounts reveal severe repression whereby Palestinian men, women and children face the tragic, yet deliberate, effects of Israel’s state violence. This, above all else, is testimony of the Zionist regime’s “total onslaught”.
Despite being blinded foolishly by its all-encompassing power, Israel is well aware that a “total onslaught” didn’t save apartheid in South Africa. Neither mass arrests, nor executions of political activists, allowed the power-house of apartheid which resided in the National Party and was supported by capitalist corporations and their backers in the West, to rule South Africa forever. Indeed, not only did the brutal assault on fundamental human rights in South Africa fail to stem the tide of liberation, but the strategy of all-out war to destroy opposition to apartheid was also an utter failure.
In its mindless pursuit of “total onslaught” underpinned by ruthless “kragdadigheid” (“naked power”), the ideologues of Pretoria believed then as vainly as Netanyahu does now that state terrorism will crush and wipe out the struggle for freedom. Nevertheless, there is a stark difference between the Apartheid South African regime and Apartheid Israel; it is the elephant in the room: the United States of America.
Unlike the late 1980s, when America gradually became a less visible ally of Apartheid South Africa, the Trump administration looks set to escalate US support for Israel to unprecedented levels. The mantra “America First” also translates to “Israel First”, with “no questions asked” as an addendum. This comes as no surprise when we look at the ideological leanings of his cabinet appointees, White House advisers, speech writers and inner circle strategists, many of whom hold positions far to the right of the hard-line Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. His appointment of David Friedman, who sits on the board of an illegal settlement called Beit Al, as US ambassador to Israel is a case in point. Friedman’s stance on settlements dovetails with Israel’s own; he wants to legalise all such colonies, which the UN has outlawed since 1971.
Jason Dov Greenblatt, who has written a travel book glorifying Israel, is also part of Trump’s team. Friedman and Greenblatt released a memo prior to the presidential election which stated that a Trump administration would not automatically support the creation of a Palestinian state.
A man admired by Israel’s racist Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman is Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is involved intimately as a White House insider and tipped to be a Middle East peace envoy. His pro-Israel credentials are well known, and not just because his family foundation is a donor to the Beit Al settlement.
Trump’s chief strategist Stephen Bannon — who made Breitbart News a home for extreme pro-Israel views — holds almost complete sway over the administration. His expressions of hate towards minorities, particularly Muslims, forms the backbone of Trump’s “Muslim Ban” and the convergence of Israel First and America First policies.
Israel’s short-sightedness is clearly evident in the fact that it’s faith in America’s unconditional support for illegal settlements and continuous violations of international law and conventions is almost fanatical. Its belief that Trump will deliver on his promises, though, is as weak as its own foundations.
To insist upon and demand US support is to draw the Trump administration into a long, drawn-out, messy war with the UN. With all the self-lit flames which he is now trying to douse — from Obamacare to the Mexico Wall, Putin’s Russia and much more — Donald Trump is licking his self-inflicted wounds. His campaign promises may have given him the White House but non-delivery will lead to more problems. Yet Israel remains adamant about adding fuel to the fire. Is it likely that Trump and his team of hard-line bigots will jeopardise their fragile hold on power by continuing to protect Israel from global censure?
The most recent declaration by the UN Human Rights Council that Israel is the world’s number 1 human rights violator, follows on the heels of the UN’s ESCWA report which declared the reality of Israel’s apartheid status. These damning findings are indicative of a growing global momentum demanding justice for Palestine and support for worldwide campaigns such as BDS.
The elephant in the room will thus have to contend with imperatives such as sustainability, legality and morality. Global opinion in favour of justice for the Palestinians is growing at a rate which is alarming to, and to the dismay of, Israel; the world is concerned about the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the imposition of apartheid.
South Africa’s apartheid regime seemed impenetrable yet collapsed when global resentment against its racist, inhumane policies became unstoppable. Israel today stands where South Africa once stood; it knows that the clock is ticking on its apartheid system, which faces inevitable collapse.