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"Israeli Apartheid" a New guide for Beginners
The apartheid paradigm here fearfully evoked by Olmert has crept slowly but surely into mainstream political discourse on the Palestine issue, but is still avoided by many who are otherwise supportive of the Palestinian cause.
This is because the paradigm seems to offer a hostage to fortune: it is too easy for Israel's apologists to rebut it by instancing the many systemic differences between Israel and apartheid South Africa.
What has often been overlooked is that the UN General Assembly's International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (November 1973) extended the term to "similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practiced in southern Africa" while defining the crime in more general terms as "inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them." Israel's practices need not be compared with those of apartheid South Africa -- which they often resemble -- but evaluated on their own terms in the light of the Convention.
The UN itself contributed to the occultation of the Convention's relevance by omitting it from its 2002 "Compilation of International Instruments," apparently on the mistaken belief that with the end of South Africa's apartheid regime it had become obsolete.
In 1987 the Israeli academic Uri Davis published Israel: An Apartheid State, following it in 2004 with Apartheid Israel: Possibilities for the Struggle Within. In 2001 he founded the Movement Against Israeli Apartheid in Palestine (MAIAP). These hints were taken up by organizations like the Stop the Wall Campaign, which consistently proposed the apartheid paradigm as something more than a mere analogy with South Africa.
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