‘I wouldn’t want to put this out on the 24th. I believe that Christmas Eve is a time to feel happy. But, today, I wanted to remind everyone of the situation in my hometown of Bethlehem. In the streets of western cities many will be singing of Joy and Goodwill to all. It makes everyone feel they know a thing or two about morality. Sadly, as this map shows, morality, is a much more complicated affair and it doesn’t come in a pre-packaged box even at Christmas.’
Leila Sansour, Producer/Director of Cinema Documentary Open Bethlehem
‘The Triple Evils of economic exploitation, racism and militarism are forms of violence that exist in a vicious cycle. They are interrelated (and), all-inclusive…’’
Martin Luther King 1967
Today July 18th we mark the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth.
In 2018 the world marks anniversaries of three inter-linked movements that spanned the 20th and into the 21st century.
Civil Rights, Anti-Apartheid and Palestine Freedom Struggles
Mandela Centenary 1918-2018
Palestine Nakba -‘Catastrophe’ 1948.
MLK Assassination 1968
All three struggles faced King’s ‘triple evils’: racism and far right organising; bearing the brunt of a massive security and military establishment; economic exploitation. But the power of effective domestic and international solidarity economic, academic, cultural and sporting boycotts is also a critical part of their shared story.
In 1948, the same year as the Palestinian Nakba which saw zionist militia ethnically cleanse more 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland and destroy more than 500 palestinian villages, South africa formally adopted the apartheid regime.
“Apartheid was an extension of the colonial project to dispossess
people of their land. That is exactly what has happened in Israel and the occupied
territories; the use of force and the law to take the land. That is what apartheid
and Israel have in common.’’
Ronnie Kasrils, the Jewish South African cabinet minister and former ANC guerrilla, Jerusalem, February 2009.
“Expelling people from their homes is a war crime. As well as preventing them from returning. Israel didn’t just commit a war crime in 1948 but continues to commit one to this day.’’
Salman Abu Sitta, Author of Atlas of Palestine 1948
MANDELA, the ANC & the PLO
June 1961 Letter From Underground, Nelson Mandela wrote:
“The histories of our two peoples, Palestinian and South African, correspond in such painful and poignant ways, that I intensely feel myself being at home amongst compatriots’’
“We identify with the PLO, because just like ourselves they are fighting for the right of self determination.”
“Yesterday’s South African township dwellers can tell you about today’s life in the Occupied Territories… More than an emergency is needed to get to a hospital; less than a crime earns a trip to jail… If apartheid ended, so can the occupation. But the moral force and international pressure will have to be just as determined. The current divestment effort is the first, though certainly not the only, necessary move in that direction.”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
CIVIL RIGHTS FREEDOM RIDERS INSPIRE THE PALESTINIAN MOVEMENT
MARTIN LUTHER KING & MANDELA
In 1955, at the age of 25, young Memphis pastor Martin Luther King was asked to become the churches lead on the Montgomery Bus Boycott. It took more than a year, but it was successful in its aim to desegregate the buses. Economic boycotts were to become a critical tool in King’s strategy – right up to the end. In his final ‘mountaintop’ speech, the night before he was murdered, he was calling for the boycott of Coca-Cola.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr City Temple London 7th December 1964
Clearly there is much in Mississippi and Alabama to remind the South Africans of their own country… great leaders, like Nelson Mandela and Robert Sobukwe, are among the many hundreds wasting away in Robben Island prison… It is in this situation, with the great mass of South Africans denied their humanity, their dignity, denied opportunity, denied all human rights; it is in this situation, with many of the bravest and best South Africans serving long years in prison, with some already executed; in this situation we in America and Britain have a unique responsibility, for it is we, through our investments, through our governments’ failure to act decisively, who are guilty of bolstering up the South African tyranny…. If the United Kingdom and the United States decided tomorrow morning not to buy South African goods, not to buy South African gold, to put an embargo on oil, if our investors and capitalists would withdraw their support for that racial tyranny that we find there, then apartheid would be brought to an end. Then the majority of South Africans of all races could at last build the shared society they desire.
BOYCOTT DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS
This movement is led by Palestinian civil society and inspired by the South African apartheid movement and boycott effort. It calls for BDS until Israel complies with international law with regard to occupation of land, discrimination against Palestinians and refugees right of return. Ending Israeli apartheid is at its heart.
In 2012, Mandela’s party, the African National Congress (ANC) which is also the ruling party of South Africa, formally endorsed and adopted as part of its official policy, the Palestinian call for Boycott,Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.
“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
’Only through hardship, sacrifice, and militant action can freedom be won…’’
It’s time to MAKE APARTHEID HISTORY – Once and For All.
Find out more
MAKE APARTHEID HISTORY
1948-2018: a 70 YEAR COMMEMORATION OF the NAKBA
Israel was founded 70 years ago today, on 14th May 1948. Palestinians commemorate the next day, 15th May, as their ‘Nakba’ – day of catastrophe.
This Arabic term refers to the mass expulsion of Palestinian Arabs from British Mandate Palestine during Israel’s creation (1947-49) when between 750,000 and one million Palestinians were expelled and made refugees by Zionist paramilitaries, and subsequently Israeli forces, during Israel’s creation in 1947-49.
Brian Eno is a supporter of Palestine . He was born on the same day as the founding of Israel. Here he speaks to MAH of his support for Palestine and in particular, his reasons for backing the BDS campaign.
NAKBA 2018 -CALENDAR EVENTS
Every May, along with so many other organisations and projects around the world, Make Apartheid History commemorates the ‘Nakba’. MAH is recording both ICAHD and @70 cultural events.
@70: A CELEBRATION OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN CULTURE
A week-long festival of theatre, dance, films and talks commemorating the Palestinian experience of dispossession and loss of a homeland.
Israeli Committee Against House Demolition UK Annual Conference
The PSC Right of Return conference – @70: Palestinian Refugees and the Right of Return – aims to provide the tools and education necessary for activists in the UK to continue to campaign for the right of return of Palestinian refugees, as enshrined in International law.
Make Apartheid History has an extensive video gallery from a wide range of contributors. MAH connects civil rights, anti-apartheid and Palestinian struggles. This year, 2018, has three momentous anniversaries: 100 years since the birth of Nelson Mandela, 70 years since the Nakba and 50 years since the murder of Martin Luther King.
KEEP IN TOUCH!
Marking the centenary of 1917 Balfour Declaration
In November 2017 we marked the centenary of the Balfour Declaration. It was to usher in 100 years of settler colonialism in Palestine. The parallels between the apartheid nature of Israel and South Africa – both settler colonial projects in their origins – are clear.
Palestinian campaigners have long condemned the Balfour Declaration as a pledge issued by a British government that gave away land it did not own.
In 2017 the British Government rejected a Palestinian request for an apology over the 1917 Balfour Declaration. Instead, it celebrated the centenary.
Here is our latest MAH film:
It explores exactly how and why the origins of Israel and South Africa have parallels and how it was that they both came to have ‘apartheid’ at their heart.
You can read more in our MAH article ‘Balfour Declaration –Settler Colonialism 100 years on https://makeapartheidhistory.org/2017/04/27/balfour-declaration-settler-colonialism-100-years-on/.
Throughout July, Make Apartheid History is promoting the UK Tour of the utterly brilliant one man show AND HERE I AM, directed by Zoe Lafferty, performed by Ahmed Tobasi and based on his life story. On Mandela Day, we will screen a selection of MAH films at the Edinburgh dates 17/18 July.
And this Mandela Day We also join the effort to help raise awareness and funds for MahraJazz Festival – the first-ever Palestinian music festival to take place in Haifa (Palestine) on 24-26 August – 31-2 September. MahraJazz is a non-profit, volunteer based event which aims to reach a wider Palestinian audience as well as through radio broadcasting. Most importantly, it also offers an alternative for international musicians to divert from performing for Apartheid Israel and contributes to the importance of the Palestinian effort to boycott Israel.
Find out more here
MAKE APARTHEID HISTORY –ONCE AND FOR ALL.
To help you understand more about why apartheid applies to Israel, our MAH video page has a number of short films where Palestinians, Israelis and South Africans explain why.
As the pressure to close down the BDS movement by Israel increases, so the movement gets stronger and the success of the campaign grows. Companies are now responding (albeit reluctantly) to the boycott effort; artists are being made more and more aware of the cultural boycott; and the academic boycott has been highly effective at raising awareness of the injustices perpetrated on Palestine by the Israeli government and military.
Barcelona has just joined the list of cities now supporting the BDS movement, along with the European Union and the governments of Sweden, Ireland and Netherlands.
Every May, along with so many other organisations and projects around the world, Make Apartheid History commemorates the ‘Nakba’ – meaning “catastrophe” in Arabic. It refers to the mass expulsion of Palestinian Arabs from British Mandate Palestine during Israel’s creation (1947-49) when between 750,000 and one million Palestinians were expelled and made refugees by Zionist paramilitaries, and subsequently Israeli forces, during Israel’s creation in 1947-49.
This year, we are also marking the tenth year of the blockade of Gaza; the 50th anniversary of the Israeli military occupation in Gaza, Jerusalem and the West Bank; and the centenary of the notorious Balfour Declaration.
Read our recent MAH article ‘Balfour Declaration –Settler Colonialism 100 years on https://makeapartheidhistory.org/news/
NAKBA anniversary events in May
PSC NAKBA Diary of UK wide events, films, talks
Monday 15 May 7.30pm
NAKBA SONGS OF EXILE. Curated by Bethlehem Unwrapped Producer Justin Butcher. A fabulous line-up of singers and performers from many parts of the world, including Palestine, and covering the musical spectrum from classical to folkloric.
Venue: Priory Church of St John, Clerkenwell
Programme & tickets here
Thursday 18 May 7.30pm
CAMOUFLAGE A new play by Ahmed Masoud. Camouflage is about the experience of a Palestinian refugee trying to flee the conflict in Syria, a young girl in Ramallah who is in denial of the situation, a boy in Gaza falling in love for the first time and an aspiring actor in Haifa who has to come to terms with the unjust society he lives in. The play has been written to mark the 50th anniversary of the Israeli military occupation in Gaza, Jerusalem and the West Bank
Venue: Amnesty International 25 New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EA
Keep in touch!
From Balfour to the present day: a century of colonialism in Palestine
This year’s November 2nd marks the centenary of the Balfour Declaration of 1917. It signifies 100 years of suffering of the Palestinian people and the colonisation of their land.
In 1917 the British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour wrote a letter to the wealthy British banker and Zionist Lord Rothschild, in which he declared :
“His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”
This short letter had no legal status, but was later incorporated within the terms of Britain’s Mandate for Palestine. Thus it became one of the most significant documents leading eventually to the creation of the state of Israel and the on-going quagmire of the Israel-Palestine conflict.
From the outset the Declaration was controversial, and almost all the opposition came from within the Jewish community itself, because very few Arabs were even aware the existence of such a proposal. The Declaration was seen largely as a means for diverting Jewish immigration from Britain to Palestine. The most prominent British Jewish politician of the day, Sir Edwin Montagu, opposed it vigorously. Later, when the language of the Balfour Declaration was included in the Mandate for Palestine, the House of Lords voted to reject this in a motion passed by 60 to 29, on the ground that the Declaration was opposed to the “wishes of the great majority of the people of Palestine”.
Balfour himself wrote in 1919
“in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country …. The Four Great Powers are committed to Zionism. And Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land.”
The Balfour Declaration of 1917, Colonial Settlement and Apartheid
“Neither the Balfour Declaration nor the Mandate ever specifically concede that Palestinians had political, as opposed to civil and religious, rights in Palestine. The idea of inequality between Jews and Arabs was, therefore, built into British – and, subsequently, Israeli and US – policy from the start.”
Professor Edward Said
Israel/Palestine, created as a consequence of British Colonialism, was formed in a similar to the South African state and both have segregation, ‘apartheid’ at their heart. Looking through this lens, Palestinians are learning lessons from the South African struggle.
In a commemorative lecture to the late Egyptian scholar and writer Abdelwahab Elmessiri, Ronnie Kasrils said:
In 1976 he (Elmesseri) wrote Israel and South Africa: The Progression of a Relationship, one of the earliest works to compare Zionism with Apartheid. (Abdelwahab M. Elmessiri (1976), Israel and South Africa: The Progression of a Relationship, (New Brunswick, NJ: North American).
He observed: “Despite differences between Israel and South Africa from the perspective of their initial formational period, subsequent historical developments ensured that the similarities between the two settlement enclaves outweighed the differences and gave them a higher explanatory power.”
He pointed out that both began from different origins as settlement enclaves. These were to serve Western interests on multiple functional levels in exchange for support and protection.
He compared Britain’s aims in creating the Union of South Africa in 1909 and the Balfour Declaration of 1917: “The Zionist state is a settler enclave like any other. It is by no means a coincidence that the Balfour Declaration and the South Africa Act of Union of 1909 [was] affected in large part by the same handful of politicians (including) … and General Smuts. In implanting and backing white settlers in South Africa and Zionist settlers in Palestine, the British Empire was founding two little pockets of settler-colonists who would owe allegiance to the imperial metropolis and would serve as bases of operations when the need arose.” (Elmessiri (2007), “From functional Jewish communities to the functional Zionist State,” p. 153.)
… Arthur Koestler summed up Balfour’s perfidious legacy as follows: “One nation promised a second nation the land of a third nation.” And that was grabbed with ferocious barbarity in 1947-48.
The year 1948 was one of the darkest for both the Palestinian and South African people; truly an annus horribilis. For South Africans May 1948 marked the election of the apartheid government and the prelude to a 46-year maelstrom for the African people. For the Palestinians May 1948 marked the Nakbah – the catastrophic dispossession and ethnic cleansing at the hands of the rampant Zionist project. (Ilan Pappe (2007), The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, (Oxford: Oneworld).
Over 750,000 Palestinians were forcefully expelled from a land they had inhabited from antiquity; with some 500,000 managing to remain behind in spite of the terror unleashed by Zionism. Whilst apartheid South Africa has been replaced by a democratic unitary state, the suffering endured by the Palestinians worsens year by year.
The apartheid character of Israel was noted by Dr (Hendrik) Verwoerd in 1961: “The Jews took Israel from the Arabs after the Arabs had lived there for a thousand years. Israel like South Africa is an apartheid state.” (Rand Daily Mail, Johannesburg, November 23, 1961.)
Professor John Dugard, former Special Rapporteur to the UN Human Rights Council on the situation in the Palestinian Territories, wrote
Of course, the regimes of apartheid and occupation are different. Apartheid South Africa was a state that practiced discrimination against its own people. It sought to fragment the country into white South Africa and black Bantustans. Its security laws were used to brutally suppress opposition to apartheid. Israel, on the other hand, is an occupying power that controls a foreign territory and its people under a regime recognised by international law – belligerent occupation.
However, in practice, there is little difference. Both regimes were/are characterised by discrimination, repression and territorial fragmentation (that is, land seizures).
Israel discriminates against Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in favour of half a million Israeli settlers. Its restrictions on freedom of movement, manifested in countless humiliating checkpoints, resemble the “pass laws” of apartheid. Its destruction of Palestinian homes resembles the destruction of homes belonging to blacks under apartheid’s Group Areas Act. The confiscation of Palestinian farms under the pretext of building a security wall brings back similar memories. And so on. Indeed, Israel has gone beyond apartheid South Africa in constructing separate (and unequal) roads for Palestinians and settlers.
Apartheid’s security police practiced torture on a large scale. So do the Israeli security forces. There were many political prisoners on Robben Island but there are more Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails.
Apartheid South Africa seized the land of blacks for whites. Israel has seized the land of Palestinians for half a million settlers and for the purposes of constructing a security wall within Palestinian territory – both of which are contrary to international law.
Make Apartheid History
Starting by recognising that Israel, like the former South African state, is an apartheid state, it becomes clear there will not be a ‘solution’ to the Israel-Palestine conflict until the Apartheid ends. The Anti-Apartheid Movement of the yesteryear was integral to the end of the South African apartheid. The international BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel) movement is going from strength to strength. Together, through international solidarity and pressure o n many inter-connected fronts (academic, cultural, economic) we can rise to the call by Palestinian civil society for BDS and, finally, Make Apartheid History once and for all.
HC Lin/TPNS/MAH 04/17
NAKBA means ‘The Catastrophe’
On 15 May, people will remember the violent dispossession and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948. These events, which took place during the creation of the state of Israel, are known to Palestinians as ‘the catastrophe’ or, in Arabic, the ‘Nakba’. They are the events which have led directly to today’s situation, with Palestinians dispossessed, stateless and living under occupation in the West Bank, under occupation and siege in Gaza, or in exile around the world, including millions in refugee camps to this day. And the Nakba is not over for Palestinians, as the Israeli Government continues to steal their land in the West Bank through illegal settlement building and the construction of the separation wall.
And this is what displacement looks like today – one of many thousands of stories.
The refugee issue
Almost 800,000 Palestinians were forced from their homes in 1948-9 and during the June 1967 war a further 325,000 Palestinians became refugees. Under UN Resolution 194, the Palestinians have the right to return to their homes, but Israel has always refused to implement the Resolution. Today over 6 million Palestinians are refugees, hundreds of thousands of whom still live in overcrowded refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza, and in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.
Life under occupation
The past 40 years have seen the establishment of over 200 illegal Israeli settlements, housing nearly 500,000 settlers, within occupied Palestine. The separation wall in the West Bank, construction of which was started in 2002, cuts deep into Palestinian land and, along with the “settler only” roads, cuts off many communities from water supplies, hospitals and their agricultural land. Palestinian residents face severe travel restrictions and for many it is impossible to enter Jerusalem or to travel abroad. The treatment of Palestinians, both within Israel and in the occupied Palestinian territory, is widely recognised as a system akin to the Apartheid regime of South Africa.
Palestinians are continually under attack from Israel’s occupying forces and are increasingly harassed by settlers, who attack farmers and steal their land. Collective punishments, such as prolonged curfews and house demolitions are frequently imposed.
Palestinians living in what is today the state of Israel, also face discrimination and are treated as second class citizens.
For more information on the historical background and the situation today, read this [pdf].
Google Earth can help bring the 1948 ‘Catastrophe’ up to date.
What does the ongoing ‘Land grab’ started in 1948 look like?
Established in 1979 to protect and promote human rights and the rule of law in the occupied Palestinian territory, Al-Haq is an independent Palestinian non-governmental human rights organisation based in Ramallah, West Bank. They have utilised the power of Google Maps to create interactive presentations that illustrate aspects of the occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and present Al-Haq’s written and visual documentation of human rights violations.
Virtual Field Visits http://alhaq.mits.ps/index.php/virtual-field-visits
Understanding why Israel’s occupation is ‘settler-colonial’ in nature – much like others in history
Ronnie Kasrils is a South African author and activist. He was Minister of Intelligence Services from 2004 to 2008, member of the African National Congress from 1987 to 2007 and a founding member of Umkhonto we Sizwe.
Here, he talks to Make Apartheid History about the similarities between South Africa and Israel. https://makeapartheidhistory.org/portfolio/from-south-africa-to-israel/
Find us at:
Dear Make Apartheid History supporter,
Thank you for signing up to our MAH e-list – and we’re delighted to share details of our latest MAH activity with you.
It’s our online Palestine Advent calendar which goes live today, Tuesday 1st December 2015.
Our calendar has 24 star symbols and each day a star will be unlocked to release new content, right up until 24th December and will largely carry videos & info-graphics.
From 1-6th December, we tell the story of how life is for Palestinians today; from 7-12th December, we explore what apartheid looks like for Palestinians; from 13th-18th December, we look at why BDS has evolved and how it is already making a difference; and from 19th to 24th December, we look at resistance, hope and Christmas in the Holy Land.
We start with this – our own MAH animation about Israel’s Separation Wall.
Best wishes from the MAH team
PS We run on shoestring! If you can help support this work, please visit
https://www.patreon.com/makeapartheidhistory Thank you!
MAKE APARTHEID HISTORY lead partners: OPGAI (Occupied Palestine and Syrian Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative), PSCC (Popular Struggle Co-ordination Committee), Bedouins Without Borders, Tipping Point North South, Pressure Cooker Arts, ICAHD UK (Israeli Committee against House Demolitions UK). In partnership with Artists for Palestine UK and Palestine Legal Action Network
ABOUT MAKE APARTHEID HISTORY
Our Intro film (3.5mins ) UK- Adjoa Andoh, Jeremy Hardy, Juliet Stevenson, Ken Loach, Leila Sansour; Mark Steel Palestine- Atef Abu Saif, Iman Aoun, Raja Shehadeh; Reem Talhami, Sliman Mansour
Make Apartheid History is a follow up to Bethlehem Unwrapped – a full-scale replica of Israel’s apartheid Wall revealed on Christmas Eve 2013 in front of St James’s Piccadilly.
October 24th was the 10th anniversary of the death of inspirational civil rights activist Rosa Parks. To mark this, we interviewed Huwaida Arraf, American-Palestinian human rights activist, lawyer, co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement and member of the Palestinian Freedom Riders.
Speaking with a deep personal and political passion, she talks about how the actions of Rosa Parks and the USA Freedom Riders inspired the Palestinian Freedom Riders; she also talks about collective international action against Israeli apartheid and the ever building success of the BDS movement.