Obama must attack Israel’s apartheid

By Raffique Shah
Sunday, November 9th 2008

Barack ObamaPALESTINE. Afghanistan. Iraq. Cuba. These countries form the pillars on which President-elect Barack Obama, if he is to achieve his stated aim of a peaceful world, must rebuild America’s image abroad. I deliberately chose the order I did because I am convinced that for as long as three million Palestinians remain enslaved in an apartheid system worse than what prevailed in South Africa, there can be no peace in Iraq or anywhere else in the world.

I have also chosen to focus first on America’s foreign policy rather than its more urgent economic dilemma. The domestic mess that George Bush has saddled his successor with must be of prime concern to Obama. But the new president can call on hundreds of highly competent American patriots, even some foreign experts, to help him wrestle with this monster.

America’s foreign policy priorities are more complex, and, I suggest, of equal importance. Based on statements he made during the campaign, clearly Obama sees extricating America from Iraq as his most urgent challenge. Most Americans want out of that hellhole that is partly responsible for their economic woes. For some time now, top military officers have advised there is no way either to consolidate America’s occupation of Iraq, or to hand it over to a strong central government.

The fact is the Bush Gang-Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, to name the top three-took America into two unjustified, unnecessary, costly wars. They have lied, conspired and sacrificed young American lives like the heartless beasts they are. They have murdered millions of Iraqis, tens of thousands of Afghans. They destroyed Iraq, a once thriving country, even if its ruler, Saddam, was a son-of-a-bitch. On the campaign trail Obama vowed to withdraw from Iraq but focus on Afghanistan and bin Laden.

That would be a grave error. Because the source of the problem in almost all these theatres of war and the root of Islamic “terrorism”, lie in Palestine. America must come to terms with the reality that there are three million of these people condemned to living in the most atrocious conditions, many for generations, because of Zionist inhumanity. Another five-or-so million live in the Diaspora in neighbouring Arab states, while many more have migrated to distant lands.

Their daily struggle for bare existence seems to escape our minds as we focus on Darfur, the Congo and scores of other trouble spots. The Zionists (very distinct from Jews in general), have imposed apartheid in and around Israel. America has kept Israel’s war machine well oiled. By proxy, America is supporting one of the last bastions of this kind of rabid and brutal racism. Obama should be able to identify with that: if he can’t, just ask Jesse Jackson or Nelson Mandela.

A few months ago a delegation from the ANC in South Africa visited the West Bank and Gaza. In their report, they said they were shocked at the inhumane conditions under which millions of Palestinians lived. “It is worse than anything we ever experienced in South Africa, under the apartheid system,” one of them said. We did not need the ANC to tell us that. But the world-and this includes many wealthy Arab countries-has ignored this problem for far too long.

It is not why bin Laden became what he is today: that has its genesis in another American misadventure, back in the 1980s, during the Soviet Union’s occupation of Afghanistan. But what followed with 9/11 and the globalisation of “terrorism” in many countries across the world, can be traced to the “Palestinian question”. Bear in mind the Palestinians are not all Muslims: among them are Druze and Christians. There is no distinction when Israel brings its massive firepower to bear on them. As recent as last week many were killed, Israel’s usual excuse being they went after “a militant hideout”.

Obama must ask himself why is it whenever the Israelis or American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan target “militants”, it’s always ordinary people, especially children, who suffer most? Every time a drone strikes in Pakistan, it flattens schools or parts of villages with no regard for the lives of ordinary people. How can America win friends when it engages in genocide, when you kill people because of their race or religion?

These inhumane acts against different people who have only one thing in common-Islam as their religion-are what spawn more bin Ladens. If there is peace in that part of the world, there would be little reason for fundamentalist Muslims to attack “enemies”, perceived or real. Al Qaeda would have fewer recruits seeking vengeance if apartheid is dismantled.

On the night Obama won the US presidential election, people across the world saw in his victory hope for a better world. Among them must have been Palestinian women and children, victims of the Darfur genocide as well as the thousands fleeing for their lives in the Congo. He cannot afford to disappoint the wretched of the earth. Sure, he needs to “fix America first”. But coming after a disaster named Bush, his challenge is to repair America’s image across the world.

21 thoughts on “Obama must attack Israel’s apartheid”

  1. this is outright slander
    how about the hundreds of innocent israeli civilians killed by suicide bombings there is a big difference between israel’s operations which target militans and suicide bombings that target civilians
    besides the fact that if the PA wouldnt spend all its money that it recieves in aid on terrorism the situaion would be much better

  2. Israel is the only state in the middle east in which Arabs have freedom of speech, including absolute freedom to criticize the government and all parties in the country. Israel is the only state in the middle east in which all Arabs have the right to vote and run for office in free and fair elections.

    The claim that Israel is an apartheid state is sheer propaganda, and is absolutely false.

    In Israel, there is an Arab cabinet minister. A Druze Arab was recently acting president of the country and had previously served as a close aide of the prime minister. 10% of the members of parliament are Arabs, who participate in a broad range of political parties. A Druze Arab sits on the Supreme Court. There are Arab (Bedouin and Druze) colonels and generals in the army. There are Arab mayors and policemen and diplomats. There are Arab doctors and lawyers. There are Arab university professors. There are Arab entrepreneurs. There are Arab sports heroes, and a recent Miss Israel was an Arab.

    In Israel, Arabs use the same hospitals as Jews (and these are the most advanced hospitals in the middle east). Arabs eat in the same restaurants as Jews. Arabs use the same buses and restrooms as Jews. Arabs have the same health insurance as Jews. Arabs have the same right to vote, the same right to run for office, the same right to speak up for political causes. Arabs are not drafted into the army the way most Jews are, but can freely choose to do so. Israeli Arabs have a higher standard of living, on average, than Arabs in the neighboring countries.


    The real apartheid regimes in the middle east are Saudi Arabia (which denies public worship other than the state religion, and where Jews are not even allowed into the country), Iran (whose Shia Persian dominated regime treats its 51% ethnic minorities as second class citizens and denies them political and human rights, Sudan (where non-Arabs are being slaughtered in Darfur), Syria (where a minority Alawite sect rules a majority Sunni country with an iron fist) and Algeria (where the Berber culture is being systematically eradicated as part of an Arabization program).

    Peace with the Palestinians and the other Arab countries (even the hard-core dictatorships, as long as they abandon violence as a tool of policy against their neighbors) is important. I do support a plan based on 1967, mutually modified based on the consent of both Israel and the PA.

    The author is wrong, also, about fundamentalist Muslims attacking others. Jihadi violence is fueled by a long-standing industry of lies and dehumanization of Jews, and the jihadis do not need excuses for their violence beyond the fact that they hate any “Other” who lives nearby (Jew, Christian, Druze, Shia, Alawite or Bahai’i). Jihadi violence existed before 1776 and will probably continue to exist, alongside peaceful and constructive forms of Islam, until the broader Muslim world decides that such violence is unacceptable, regardless of the “cause du jour”.

    Propaganda such as this column does not assist the cause of peace; rather, it inhibits peace.

  3. The systemic state killing of individuals on a daily basis is apartheid. The disproportionate use of force is apartheid. The denial of basic human rights, the right to food, is apartheid. The illiegal occupation of a people’s land is apartheid. To ignore the directives of the UN that created the occupation in the first place is apartheid. To seek to justify the continuation of people living under horrendous conditions in spite of independent observers is apartheid.

  4. As long as each side continue to dehumanize and demonize the other it is apartheid.

    As long as the dominant side refuse to accept that terror is a double edged sword: Israelis who are attacked and killed by Palestinians experience the impact as “terrorism”. Palestinians who are attacked and killed by Israelis experience the impact as terrorism. Both sides engage in terrorism. Until excuses for imhumane ungodly acts commited by both sides is abandoned, there will be no peace. As long as the dominant side refuses to pursue justice for istself and that of the other, it is apartheid. All arguments to the contrary to a thinking feeling human is therefore hollow and should be accepted as such. Until both sides do onto the other as they would have done to themselves and begin to actualize loving thy neighbour as thy self; in this context, it is apartheid.

    And, frankly this barbarism on both sides has become so draining on the rest of the world is unbearable and boring. It is time both sides figure out a way to co-exist. The world has in it so many ills, that the effort this issue diverts is abominable. For christ’s sake both side must take the responsibility to sit down and work out a solution of their problem. It is a problem that is a major drain on the oxygen capacity meant to serve the entire world.

  5. P.S. Really, it is amazing that neither side has come to the realization that this issue has had the benefit of a great deal of talent,time and money and that it is time for other issues/parts of the world to get a turn.

  6. It is apartheid. All the ingredients are there. This does not negate the suffering of Israeli victims of retaliatory violence that is interpreted as terorism.

    Look, why is Barack Obama being asked to do what you guys never ask the Egyptian, Syrian, Iran ian or leader in any other Muslim country to do. I have never read anywhere on this post of you asking the leaders of those nations I mentioned to speak out against the atrocties in the Sudan. This is the intelligence insulting BS that defines the mindset of the producers. You are obviously comfortable with what is transpiring in the Sudan, since you never saw the need to call out leaders to denounce it. But look at the expediency and alacrity with which you call on Obama to speak out. You guys are real characters, you really are.

  7. Come on all you jews, own up to your atrocities. West Bank and Gaza are concentration camps for the past 30 years. You’ve used every opportunity to nick land from palestinians (even as we speak) and use every news deflecting itesm elsewhere to attack Palestinians e.g. last week’s US election to demolish Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem. I sympathise with Jewish people for the suffering in WW II, but sometime wonder …

  8. Dear Raffique Shah. The Palestinians living in the Gaza strip were never offered Egyptian citizenship or freedom of movemement – into Egypt. The thousand of Palestinian laborers in surrounding Arab Countries, mainly Sadia Arabia – were never offered a chance of citizenship. Israel signed peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt – who recognized the State of Israel. Fatah and Hamas leadership in the West Bank and Gaza refused to sign peace treaties. To protoect itself – Israel constructed a safety fence. So, could you please explain how can there be “apparthied” when Israel does not “Rule” those people. Their corrupt leadership that authorized suicide bombing and on-going barrage of rockets into Israeli civilian targets are terrorists. How about you deal with them first?

  9. How many of those who call the situation in Israel “aparthied” have ever been there? I would bet none of you have, including the author of the piece. I doubt that those who make the charge are anti-Semitic.
    I suspect that you are for those you perceive to be the underdogs. I think your perspective, though honest in your motivation, has led you to a very mistaken view of what the situation is actually like there and also of the historical facts.

  10. Hopefully another neglected part of the globe would finally get some attention outside of the Middle East , Asia or Europe , for it is long overdue.

  11. Hey mr “Zvi”, i love your type of reply.

    You shift on 1 million palestinians into Gaza and then say there is no Apartheid in Israel. I remember in South Africa they allowed no blacks into johannesburg, it was against the law. I suppose you could say there was no Apartheid in this city, since there were no blacks in it to discriminate. They all lived in shanty towns….by law.

    identical situation with Israel and Gaza. except the shanty towns were not fenced and closed like a prison as with Gaza.

    If you allow the palestinians back into Israel from Gaza, then maybe this would be closer to no apartheid.

  12. Be careful Phil1 , remenber Jimmy Carter? His political foray in the whitehouse was a dismal fauilure except for the fact that he spent most of his time trying to bring some semblance of peace in that region that eventually cost the life of Egypt’s Anwar Sadat, and the continued subjugation of Arabs. Today he has reedemed himself with his many astounding humatarian efforts in terms of housing for the poor and other useful political efforts. He had the gall recently to prod the once suffering Jerwish people about the babaric genocidal manner in which they were treating Palestinian Arabs and likened it to the behaviors of their close friends , the infamous white savages that onced – or perhaps still indirectly- ruled Apartheid South Africa. He was strongly condemmed for his efforts as being antisemetic and every vile characterization in the dictionary. Go figure , talk about ungrateful , selfish and evil .
    I once had a old Jewish ,radical , left wing Political Science Professor ,that always admonished us to pay attention to who has power when attempting to address such delicate issues as power , abuse, and the responses of desperate and much maligned freedom fighters that are often categorized as terrorist.

  13. Obama wants 4 more years, so he wont do anything to tick off the Jewish vote, like every presdent before him. He will want the Cuban vote in Miami so he wont tick off the anti-Castro people. He will want the mid-west vote so he wont cuddle Iran. Obama had no record this election cycle but 4 years from now he will, and people will look at him more closely on Jan. 20th as to how he handled thier personal issue. Obama needs New York and California, Jews, Florida, Cubans, and the mid-west, white people, to be president again so he wont be doing anything to alienate those people.

  14. Welcome to the world of politics non- sectarian style David . Remember , a good politician always understands that politics is the ultimate art of compromise. Perhaps this habit is contagious and political leaders in our local neck of the woods call T&T can emulate. Take the two of us quick learning students , a ten year old child could decifer what our sole interest are after gleaning a few entries of various blogs through the past months.
    Good sense would show that we sometimes had the exert descipline to temper our individual needs a bit so as to accomodate thoes of others that are equally important.
    The fact that many of our local selfish political figures cannot follow such a partway is an indication that the majority prefer to maintain the status quo for narrow , sadistic reasons . I am optinmistic that we can soon erradicate the sheeplike mindset in our quest to move forward.

  15. Neal I agree with your points. I hope Obama does open dialog with Cuba. The U.S. should have started talking to Cuba after the fall of the Soviets. Most Americans want to open up to Cuba but the politicans who value the Cuban vote in Florida keep this 50 years old policy just to get votes. As for the Isreali/Palestinian question, maybe Obama need a full time peace negotiator. Someone like Ambassador Mitchell who spen years talking to both sides of thr Irish/English conflict, he was there for almost 10 years from Bush sr. to Clinton.
    As a person who voted for Obama I have great hope for him and would love to see him succeed. Unfortunately alot of people are already asking what will Obama do for us, rather than asking what can we do to help Obama succeed. because lets face facts if Obama fails it will be a long long time before middle america allow a person of color into the oval office.
    I hope Obama goes down in history as one of the great american presidents and not just the first president who was black.

  16. David is right. Barack Obama will be constrained by the traditional affiliated influences on the Democratic party. The people who will get the least attention are those that his opposition are most likely to accuse him of giving the most attention.

    I mean left to his own devices the brother would probably change the world for the better. However, the forces in control of the way things are ain’t ever gonna allow them to change to the way they should be. Belie that!!!!!!

  17. Its Interesting to see so many people fixated on “Obama must attack Israel’s apartheid” yet neglecting the Apartheid taking place in Trinidad and Tobago. I’m not sure if all those people are seeking “foreign policy.”

  18. Felix please enlighten us as to who you deem as the oppressed and oppressors in Trinidad and Tobago. Do us a favor while you are at it however and remember as you pontificate that we are not all on this forum a gullible group from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce willing to fall for anything you feel inclined to spew while ignoring their years of oppression and theivery against Native Indo Canadians , or simplistic bunches of illiterate idiots from Penal , Chickland ,or Carapichima , or Arouica that in desperation will settle for anything that selfhating , anti- nationalistic zelots wish to proclaim for sinister reasons.

  19. Felix the only aparthied in TnT is a self inflicted one. People look at the other race as different and do not want to get to know them. They would rather live apart and suffer under PNM and UNC, both parties promote this “aparthied”, than come together as citizens of Trinidad & Tobago. And do what is right for the country and themselves.
    Neal I currently live among those simplistic bunches of illiterate idiots from Penal, thier only view of politics is what Raja Panday and his princlings in the UNC tells them. If ignorance is bliss, then the people of Penal are one with God.

  20. The aparthied of the Palestinians is in the best interest of the Arab countries. As long as they are under the boot of the Isrealis the Arab countries can distract thier own people from the fact that they live under totalitarian regimes. Where the leaders are extremly rich and the vast majority of the population are dirt poor, very few are middle class.
    If the Palestinians and the Isrealis fix thier problems and started getting along like brothers and sisters. The Arab nations cannot scream Zionist opression of Islamic people, and thier population will start asking how can they get the democracy the Palestinians have. There will then be a peoples revolution in the Arab world and these despots will fall one by one. No more villas, yatchs, penthouses around the world, and slaves from Sudan for these proctectors of Islam. Yes the slave trade is still alive and those African brothers and sisters are kidnapped in Sudan and sold in Saudi Arabia to the royal family. Why do you think light skinned Arabs are waging a war on the darker peoples of Sudan.
    So as you see it is in the best interest of the Arab world to keep the Isrealis and Palestinians fighting. Peace means that the leaders today will be out of power tomorrow.

  21. The U.S. should have never got involved with land redidstribution. How would they have felt if the Soviets would have redistributed land back to the native Americans?

    Obama won’t be able to do anything about that problem. If the U.S. embargo is lifted on Cuba, then Jamaica will be the next Haiti. The Cubans in Miami will complain regardless. Once U.S. business infiltrates Cuba, the Cuba that Miami exiles once knew will be lost. It will be the Carribean version of Vegas with the theme hotels, casino’s, and resorts that it was going to be before Fidel stopped them from exploiting his people and his country.

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