Winnipeg Jewish Review  
Site Search:
Home  |  Archives  |  Contact Us
Features Local Israel Next Generation Arts/Op-Eds Editorial/Letters Links Obituary/In Memoriam

Speakers at Israel Apartheid Week on University of Manitoba Campus.


By Rhonda Spivak

Brian Latour is a fifth-year civil engineering student at the University of Manitoba and was a spokesperson for Israeli Apartheid Week on University of Manitoba.

In an article in the Manitoban on February 22, Brian Latour did something that I noticed was a repeated pattern amongst IAW organizers and advocates—they like to criticize the two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but they often do not come out clearly and say they believe that Israel should be eliminated as a state altogether. That is they often don’t clearly come out and say they think that Jews should live as a minority in a Palestinian state, surrounded by 22 other Arab states---because that might get a few people questioning the radical agenda they are proposing( After all, Israel’s birth was ratified by the United Nations partition plan, remember?).

I’m very thankful that Latour has provided a gem of an example of this behavior with his Feb 22 article in the Manitoban “Why Our Generation Must Support Palestine.”

In it he doesn’t come right out and say that he supports “a one state solution”—as opposed to a two state solution, Israel and Palestine existing side by side. Let’s look at what he says:

‘The two-state solution itself …is also problematic. While I do not wish to tell the people of Palestine what form their national aspirations must take, given the realities of Israeli settlements and the apartheid wall, I am skeptical that a two-state solution will result in anything more than a system of Bantustans.

In the online version of  his article, when you click on  the words “a system of Bantustans” you get to an article by  Virginia Tilley from November 19, 2009, “Bantustans and the Unilateral declaration of Statehood” in  a publication entitled The Electronic  Intifada. Tilley is the author of a book entitled   “The One-State Solution (U of Michigan Press, 2005)   ----  surprise! surprise!

In her article, Tilley chastises PA President Mahmoud Abbas and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad for considering making a unilateral declaration of a state of Palestine in  the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. According to Tilley—this would be a rather disasterous mistake since they ought to be advocating a one-state solution, which would mean that Israel would be dismantled altogether.

Interestingly enough, Palestinian journalist and comedian, Ray Hanania, who is part of “The Israeli-Palestinian Comedy Tour and was brought to Winnipeg last month, wrote an article in the Jerusalem Post on February 24, 2010 referring to The Electronic Intifada, the  publication I  was referred to on  reading Latour’s article.

Hanania referred to the founder of The Electronic Intifada , author Ali Abunimah, as the “the canonized saint of the ‘one state’ plan.” As Hananina wrote:

Based at the University of Chicago, Abunimah is one of four founders of the online "Electronic Intifada," where Palestinian moderation is regularly browbeaten and defamed. Abunimah is also the author of the convoluted manifesto and the rejectionist's bible titled One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Basically, the "one-state" theory goes like this: If Palestinians will just refuse to compromise and to create two states, Israelis and Jews will simply give up so Palestinians can replace the Jewish homeland with an Islamic homeland.

Just like that.

Wow. If we only knew that, how many suicide bombers could we have spared in the past? A stupid notion, it has gained huge support among Arabs, maybe because it is just that, a stupid notion.

But "one state" advocates have an ulterior agenda. They know their idea is impossible to achieve and it allows them to exploit Palestinian anger and frustration, turning suffering into hatred and hatred into violence.

My suggestion to Latour is that he read a little more of Ray Hanania and a lot less of   The Electronic Intifada.

And there is something else that he might like to read, an article by Dore Gold, former Israeli Ambassador to the U.N.  and head of the  Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, which is reprinted below (with permission).

The Hidden Agenda Behind Those Charging Israel with Apartheid

By Dore Gold

The organizers of "Israel Apartheid Week" (March 1-March 13, 2010) are hoping to replicate what they claim was an unprecedented success for their cause last year when  they sponsored events in 40 cities around  the world. They have one central problem in making their case. The arguments against their charge-- that Israel is guilty of apartheid--are overwhelming. In fact, given the difficulty in applying the apartheid model to Israel, one wonders what is the true hidden agenda behind this campaign.
To begin with, in Apartheid South Africa (1948-1994), blacks were not allowed to vote or be candidates in the general elections, they could not attend white universities or be treated in white hospitals, and they were forcibly removed from white cities. Anyone the least bit familiar with Israel knows that Israeli Arabs vote for the Knesset and there are Israeli Arab Knesset members, who also serve as deputy speakers of Israel's parliament. An Israeli Arab judge sits on Israel's Supreme Court. Israeli Arabs study in all Israeli universities and there are mixed Arab-Jewish cities from Haifa to Jaffa to Ramla and Jerusalem.
In 2006 Benjamin Pogrund, a former anti-apartheid activist, who now lives in Israel (he also served as a deputy editor of Johannesburg's Rand Daily Mail) responded to a report in The Guardian comparing Israel and Apartheid South Africa. As a journalist, Pogrund had specialized in apartheid and was even imprisoned by the South African authorities for his reporting. When looking at the situation in Israel,  he noted that he had been hospitalized in Jerusalem for surgery, he looked around him and noticed that the patients, nurses, and the doctors were both Arabs and Jews. "What I saw in the Hadassah-Mt. Scopus hospital was inconceivable in the South Africa where I spent most of my life."  The apartheid system was based on legalizing racism. As former Foreign Ministry Legal Adviser, Robbie Sabel, has pointed out, in Israel, even incitement to racism is a criminal offense.
Israel's accusers also try to focus on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. But here too their arguments are also extremely weak. The majority of Israelis do not want to annex the whole West Bank, but rather feel they are entitled to "defensible borders" in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 242. This is not a case of establishing a different legal system for a specific racial or ethnic group within the Israeli state, but rather a territorial dispute between the parties over Israel's future borders. In fact, it is the Palestinian Authority, that has legal jurisdiction over the Palestinians in these disputed territories--not Israel.
Even one of the most vicious anti-Israel UN officials, John Dugard, a South African professor of international law, wrote in his annual report to the UN Human Rights Council in 2007 that Israel's "laws and practices" in the territories "resemble aspects of apartheid," but he could not bring himself to make a clear legal determination that Israel was an apartheid state. In any case, the organizers of Israel Apartheid Week do not confine their claims to the West Bank, either. In their official film clip that they put in Youtube, they also focus on Israeli Arabs and additionally demand "the right of return"--the infamous Palestinian claim to allow Palestinian refugees to move into Israel and demographically destroy the Jewish state.
Thus, what underlies the Israel Apartheid Week campaign is not international law, but rather a highly politicized interpretation of Israel's history that does not view the Jewish people as the authentic claimants to sovereignty in their historical homeland, but rather as a colonialist movement that recently came from Europe in order to usurp lands from the indigenous Palestinian population.
Years ago, Yasser Arafat picked up these themes, when he argued that the Palestinians date back from the ancient Canaanites and Jebusites. According to this narrative, the Jews arrived only in the late 19th century on the wings of European imperialism. This is why Arafat had to deny the existence of the Temple of Solomon in July 2000 at Camp David, for any evidence of Jewish civilization in the Holy Land clashes with the depiction of the Jewish people as Middle Eastern Afrikaners who came only lately to the land.
Here also the Palestinian case falls apart when it faces the force of history. Using Christian and Jewish sources, Prof. Moshe Gil of Tel Aviv University, wrote in his 900 page monumental work, A History of Palestine: 634-1099,  (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), that as late as the seventh century, Jews still had a massive presence in most parts of  what had been their sovereign territory up until the Roman invasion. There are some who suggest that the Jews were still the majority. According to Gil, on the eve of the Muslim conquests the Jewish presence on the land was nearly 2,000 years old. 
Moreover, there was a constant effort of Jews to return to their land in the centuries that followed, despite the dangers. By the 1860's the Jews, in fact, re-established their majority in Jerusalem, well before the arrival of the British Empire. When the League of Nations decided to recognize the Jewish claim to a national home in 1922, it specifically recognized the pre-existing right the Jewish people to what was to become British Mandatory Palestine, and did not create a new right by force.
Regardless of what the Palestinian propaganda machine asserts on this issue, many among the Palestinians were actually relative late comers. Many of the noble Palestinian families in Jerusalem, like the Nashashibis, the Nusseibahs and the Husseinis trace their origins to the Arab conquests in the 7th century under the second caliph, Umar bin al-Khatab or even later to the 12th century and the defeat of the Crusaders by Salah ad-Din.
In the Arab world, there is no special status to be derived by saying that your ancestors were Canaanite pagans as opposed to claiming that they came from those Arabian families who accompanied the Prophet Muhammad. In any case, the current Palestinian population also contains many new immigrants; it was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who commented in 1939 that more Arabs came into Palestine since the establishment of the British Mandate than Jews.
The resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict will not be reached by just waging historical debates, but by mutual recognition and accommodation. Israel Apartheid Week is not about respect for human rights; it is an incredibly hypocritical initiative that ignores the apartheid practiced by the Palestinians themselves, who make the sale of land to Jews punishable by death. It is also not a movement dedicated to making peace, but rather to denying the historical rights of the Jewish people. The answer to the challenge is to expose the true intentions of its backers, who clearly seek to dismantle the State of Israel and deny its people their inherent right of self-determination.

<<Previous Article       Next Article >>
Subscribe to the Winnipeg Jewish Review
  • Orthodox Union
  • Accurate Lawn & Garden
  • Coughlin Insurance Brokers
  • Munroe Pharmacy
  • Tel Aviv University Canada
  • Booke + Partners
  • Gislason Targownik
  • James Teitsma
  • Janice Morley-Lecomte
  • Obby Khan
  • Artista Homes
  • Fetching Style
  • Ronald B. Zimmerman
  • Chisick Family
  • Stringers Rentals
  • Winnipeg Beach Home Building Centre
  • KC Enterprises
  • John Wishnowski
  • JLS Construction
  • Ingrid Bennett
  • Gulay Plumbing
  • The Paper Fifrildi
  • Joanne Gullachsen Art
  • Laufman Reprographics
  • Levene Tadman Golub
  • Taverna Rodos
  • Holiday Inn Polo Park
  • Bruce Shefrin Interior Design
  • Bridges for Peace
  • Bridges for Peace
  • CVA Systems
  • Chochy's
  • Lakeside Roofing
  • Ambassador Mechanical
  • Shoppers Drug Mart
  • Shoppers Drug Mart
  • kristinas-greek
  • The Center for Near East Policy Research Ltd.
  • Sarel Canada
  • Santa Lucia Pizza
  • Roofco Winnipeg Roofing
  • Center for Near East Policy Research
  • Nachum Bedein
Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.