Thursday, December 1, 2016

Israel is a Democracy & Other Fairy Tales

In reacting against the hypocrisy of Americans (and Australia's little Americans) over Fidel Castro's death, Sydney Morning Herald columnist Ruby Hamad argues, with the best of intentions, that:

"Israel is both a democracy (flawed but a democracy nonetheless) and an oppressive occupier that gets away with shocking human rights abuse. Yasser Arafat was indeed resisting this Israeli oppression and occupation, and in doing so he turned a blind eye to terrorism and the victimisation of innocent Israelis." (All heroes have their dark side, no matter what side they're on, 30/11/16)

However, these two sentences are more fairy tale than fact:

1) Israel is a democracy. Palestine had an indigenous majority and a non-indigenous settler minority up to 1948. The settler minority then drove out the indigenous majority and has refused to allow them back in ever since. Only when those driven out (and therefore disenfranchised) in 1948 are allowed back and given the vote, will Palestine/Israel be a democracy. All it is now is an ethnocracy, just like white South Africa before apartheid was consigned to the dustbin of history.

2) Arafat is a terrorist. You simply cannot place the reactive, retail violence of an occupied, oppressed, and colonised people on the same level as the wholesale violence of those who occupy, oppress, and colonise them. International law rightly recognises the right of an occupied, oppressed, and colonised people to resist occupation and colonisation by any means. It does not, however, recognise anyone's right to occupy or colonise another people's land. Arafat was not a terrorist. He was a freedom fighter. The settler-colonial apartheid state of Israel is the only terrorist here.


Anonymous said...

International Law also explicitly gives the occupied the right "to take the fight to the territory of the occupiers".

Grappler said...

I may have posted this before here MERC, if so apologies but it bears repeating:

Israel is classified as a "democratic facade". This was in 2014 and it certainly has not improved. According to the Economist the only democracy in the Middle East and North Africa is/was Tunisia.

Vacy said...

Arafat was a freedom fighter for about a decade and then he turned everything he touched into lead, kicked out of Jordan, kicked out of Lebanon, his secret dealings with the zionists on Oslo betrayed the Palestinian commitment to resistance and to the liberation of Palestine - all to to boost his ego.. he was corrupt, a tyrant, fostered nepotism, and collaborated with the zionists all of which facilitated the expansion of the illegal settlements. Palestine deserved better and deserves better than Abba$ who is a clone of Arafat.

MERC said...

Or, as Edward Said put it at the time of the Oslo Accords:

"Clearly the PLO has transformed itself from a national liberation movement into a kind of small-town government, with the same handful of people still in command. PLO offices abroad - all of them the result of years of costly struggle whereby the Palestinian people earned the right to represent themselves - are being deliberately neglected, closed, or sold off. For the over 50% of the Palestinian people who do not live in the Occupied Territories - 350,000 stateless refugees in Lebanon, nearly twice that number in Syria, many more elsewhere - the plan may be the final dispossession. Their national rights as a people made refugees in 1948, solemnly confirmed and reconfirmed for years by the UN, the PLO, the Arab governments, indeed most of the world, now seem to have been annulled." (Peace & Its Discontents: Essays on Palestine in the Middle East Peace Process, 1993, p 4)

Vacy said...

Great Said quote, thanks MERC.. here's another To its discredit, Oslo did little to change the situation. Arafat and his dwindling number of supporters were turned into enforcers of Israeli security, while Palestinians were made to endure the humiliation of dreadful and noncontiguous ''homelands'' that make up about 10 percent of the West Bank and 60 percent of Gaza. Oslo required us to forget and renounce our history of loss, dispossessed by the very people who taught everyone the importance of not forgetting the past. Thus we are the victims of the victims, the refugees of the refugees.

Arafat, backed by Washington, is daily more repressive. Improbably citing the 1936 British Emergency Defense Regulations against Palestinians, he has recently decreed, for example, that it is a crime not only to incite violence, racial and religious strife but also to criticize the peace process. There is no Palestinian constitution or basic law: Arafat simply refuses to accept limitations on his power in light of American and Israeli support for him. Who actually thinks all this can bring Israel security and permanent Palestinian submission?