Activists are now on US ground seeking support for an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands. A campaign, representing the largest and most diverse coalition in the US is “working to change US policy” which unconditionally supports the Israeli colonial rule of the occupied Palestinian land.
The campaign in ‘the land of freedom and equality’ is meant to support human rights, international law and equality in the Occupied Territories. It is one of the campaigns of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. The scope of its activities covers campuses, communities, faith congregations, Congress and the US media, aiming to end American military aid to Israel.
Co-chaired by Peter Miller and Felicia Eaves, the campaign urges all people of conscience to take action, get involved and give, in order to sustain this work “that upholds freedom, justice and equality and the end of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, including east Jerusalem”. This campaign focuses on two main issues; one that seeks to “end US support of Israeli policies by challenging military and diplomatic support of Israel’s human rights abuses” and the other to carry out “boycott, divestment and sanctions to isolate Israeli apartheid”.
Moreover, special resources in the campaign are focused on “a unified stand against Israeli apartheid and a demand for human rights and equality for Palestinians” in addition to “commemorating the Nakba (catastrophe) by standing with Palestinian refugees and supporting their right of return”.
Indeed, nearly 380 groups and organisations — local, regional and national — have signed on to work in this campaign to uphold universal principles of equality and respect of human rights according to international law adopted by all member nations in the United Nations. The campaign is also challenging the American official policy which “supports Israeli occupation and apartheid through military aid, diplomatic backing at the UN and resolutions in the American Congress”.
The BDS which instigated this unprecedented campaign was established in 2005 by a large number of Palestinian civil society groups. The movement issued a call to the world to apply boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights. Its covenant, signed by over 170 Palestinian coalitions, within Israel and in exile, truly represents the principles adhered to by the various civil groups within the Palestinian people who wished to introduce their cause to peoples of conscience around the world and especially in the US.
It is important to note that many American Jewish organisations are participating in this campaign not only for the sake of adhering to the principles of human decency and international law, but also to protect all Jews around the world, especially in Israel, from the deadly danger presented by the current right wing Israeli government.
The US campaign is bound to evoke very painful memories of the sordid history in America of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), the extreme right organisation established in the southern states advocating the supremacy of the white race as ‘God’s people’ and considering black Americans as ‘sub-humans’. History is repeating itself. The Jewish colonial settlers in occupied Palestine see themselves as ‘God’s people’ who have been chosen above all nations.
The (KKK), dressed in white robes with masks and conical hats to hide their identities, used to burn homes, farms and churches belonging to black Americans, similarly, the right-wing Jewish organisation known as the ‘price taggers’ is now burning mosques, farms and homes of Palestinians to pressure them to leave their land as a prelude to Judaizing the entire land of historical Palestine.
The US campaign now focuses on reminding America and the world of the heinous system of apartheid that was enforced upon the original natives of South Africa, under which the rights of the ‘non-white’ were curtailed and white supremacy and Afrikaner rule were maintained by force.
In Israel today, the same system is being imposed on the Palestinians by social segregation enforced by the Wall and by numerous Jewish colonial settlements for ‘the chosen people of God’ designed to make an independent Palestinian State totally impossible to create. The US campaign represents, in reality, a wake-up call to America and the world to avoid a catastrophic storm that would surly hit the Middle East if the colonial/ apartheid policy of the government of Israel does not cease soon.
These days, a storm is gathering strength in the Arab and Islamic worlds with several established regimes, once considered untouchable, are being brought down. Internal changes sweeping the Middle East are about to spill over the borders of countries that have witnessed or still do, such developments. Rising up against corruption and dictatorship made the Arab streets erupt with unprecedented explosion.
The plight of the Palestinian people and the current Israeli designs to Judaise occupied Jerusalem are challenging every Muslim and every Christian Arab. The BDS has so far opted to follow a peaceful way to attain Palestinian rights which are guaranteed by international law.
Many keen observers around the world predict an imminent ‘Islamic Spring’ replacing the ‘Arab Spring’. Recent results of elections in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Morocco confirm such a prediction. Thus, these observers (including Israelis) think that the coming storm of an Islamic Spring is going to shake the world with its hurricanes and the western world and Israel are going to be in ‘the eye’ of the vortex if Israel does not end its apartheid/colonial policy in Palestine.
Professor As’ad Abdul Rahman is the chairman of the Palestinian Encyclopaedia.