When Israel steals Palestinian land … Image: imgflip.com
COMMENTARY: By John Minto
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has exposed so much hypocrisy in Aotearoa New Zealand and around the Western world that’s it’s hard to keep track.
Israel has racism down to a fine art.
While the world was putting their hand up for Ukrainian refugees — Israel put its hand up only for Jewish Ukrainian refugees (at least one grandparent must be Jewish).
- READ MORE: What the war in Ukraine taught us, Palestinians
- A threshold crossed: Israeli authorities and the crimes of apartheid and persecution
As early as January 2022, Israel began planning to transfer Ukrainian Jews to become colonists in the land of the Palestinians. Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption proclaimed: “We call on the Jews of Ukraine to immigrate to Israel – your home.”
The refugees/colonists began to arrive in early March, receiving preferential treatment, while Ukrainians who could not prove their Jewishness according to Israel’s racist criteria for refugees face myriad difficulties.
Meanwhile, the World Zionist Organisation’s Settlement Division has begun preparing 1000 housing units for Ukrainian Jews on stolen and occupied Palestinian and Syrian land in the occupied West Bank and the occupied Golan Heights.
When there was an outcry from Israeli liberals saying, quite rightly, that this was not a reflection of Jewish values, the government said they would take non-Jewish refugees as well.
The predictable reaction from racist Israelis was “We are a Jewish state — why are we taking in these gentiles?”
The government, however, says the non-Jewish refugees won’t be able to claim Israeli citizenship — they will have to leave when the fighting stops.
Important to point out here that Israel is NOT a Jewish state. Twenty percent of Israeli citizens are Palestinians. Israel is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multicultural state dominated by a racist regime which has made indigenous Palestinians second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth class inhabitants in the land of their birth and the land of their ancestors, Palestine.
This is well described in Amnesty International’s short video on Israeli apartheid.
The Amnesty International video.
Jewish Ukrainian refugees are being welcomed because it helps Israel maintain a majority Jewish population. It’s a country obsessed with demographics and determined to maintain what Israel’s largest and most respected Human Right Group, B’Tselem, calls “A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea”.
It is proposed that most of the Jewish Ukrainian refuges will be settled in illegal Jewish-only settlements on stolen Palestinian land while Israel’s apartheid government continues its refusal to allow Palestinians to return to their homes and land after around 800,000 were ethnically cleansed from vast swathes of Historic Palestine by Israeli militias in 1948 — a process which continues to this day.
And Jewish Ukrainian refugees will qualify for automatic Israeli citizenship — something denied the big majority of Palestinians in their homeland Palestine – all of which has been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali — “I’ve killed a lot of Arabs in my time and there’s nothing wrong with that” — Bennett has been promoting himself as an international mediator.
Israel didn’t join the international condemnation of Russia and has repeatedly refused Ukrainian appeals for military assistance, but Bennet flew to Moscow for a three-hour meeting with Putin and was then on the phone to Zelensky suggesting to him he should think about the cost in death and destruction in Ukraine and agree to Russian terms.
Bennett followed up by trying to get the parties together for a mediation meeting in Jerusalem.
This is the same Israeli leader who refuses to meet with Palestinian leaders, refuses to negotiate any peace deal with Palestinians and says he will never agree to a Palestinian state being established on his watch. Not the credentials for an international mediator.
And in case readers missed the recent news a further two high-profile groups have joined the international human rights condemnation of Israel as an apartheid state.
A short summary of the highest profile groups that have described Israel in this way over the past 18 months is here:
- Numerous Palestinian civil society organisations
- The late South African Archbishop and Nobel Peace prize winner Desmond Tutu — “Name Israel an apartheid state and boycott”.
- B’Tselem — Israel’s largest and most respected human right organisation, in their January 2021 report “A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is apartheid”
- Human Rights Watch, the US largest human rights organisation, in their April 2021 report “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution”
- Amnesty International, in their February 2022 report “Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians”
- Addameer prisoner support group and Harvard Law School label Israel an apartheid state
- UN Special Rapporteur to the United Nations Human Right Council, Michael Lynk, Israel has imposed upon Palestine an apartheid reality in a post-apartheid world
Racism on steroids
It’s racism on steroids in Israel just as it was in apartheid South Africa. And increasingly Jews around the world are seeing it as such. From an opinion poll last year 25 percent of American Jews already regard Israel as an apartheid state and 38 percent of young American Jews say the same thing.
We need regime change in Israel and everyone living in historic Palestine enjoying equal rights.
John Minto is a political activist and commentator, and spokesperson for Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa. This article was first published by The Daily Blog and is republished with the author’s permission.