In 1966 the United Nations called for an International Day of remembrance for the 69 Africans who were killed and the 189 injured by the Apartheid Police in Sharpeville, South Africa. The Police opened fire on a peaceful demonstration against the apartheid “pass laws” on March 21 1960.
The Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC), a splinter group of the African National Congress (ANC) created in 1959, organized a countrywide demonstration for March 21, 1960, for the abolition of South Africa’s pass laws. Participants were instructed to surrender their passes and invite arrest. Some 20,000 Blacks gathered near a police station at Sharpeville, located about 30 miles south of Johannesburg. The police opened fire on them with submachine guns without warning.
Following the dismantling of apartheid, South African President Nelson Mandela chose Sharpeville as the site at which, on December 10, 1996, he signed into law the country’s new constitution.
Since then, the Apartheid System in South Africa has been dismantled but Apartheid in Israel has only been strengthened. In 2018 Israel officially declared itself an Apartheid State with the passage of the Jewish Nation State Law which removed Arabic as an official language and designated ‘Jewish Settlement’ as a national goal.
Although Israel’s propagandists describe accusations of apartheid as ‘anti-Semitic’ this charge has now become accepted. 25% of American Jews believe that Israel is an apartheid state, a figure that rises to nearly 40% among young Jews.
After an interview in which the openly fascist Israeli ‘Culture’ Minister Miri Regev warned that if Benny Gantz was elected he would form a government with Arabs, actress Rotem Sela wrote on social media that Israel is a country of all its citizens. She continued:
and what’s the problem with Arabs???’ Oh my god, there are also Arab citizens in this country. When the hell will someone in this government broadcast to the public that Israel is a country for all its citizens.
This was too much for Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who wrote in response that:
What happened at Sharpeville, horrific though it was, pales into comparison with the thousands of Palestinians who have been murdered for the crime of being Palestinian. In 2018 Israeli troops shot thousands of Palestinians, deliberately disabling peaceful protestors at the Gaza fence and killing hundreds in the process.
In the past year three major human rights organisations have declared that Israel is an Apartheid State. The first was B’Tselem which, on January 122021, declared that:
The Israeli regime enacts in all the territory it controls… an apartheid regime. One organizing principle lies at the base of a wide array of Israeli policies: advancing and perpetuating the supremacy of one group – Jews – over another – Palestinians.
The next human rights organisation to describe Israel as an apartheid state was Human Rights Watch in April 2021. It declared that:
For the past 54 years, Israeli authorities have facilitated the transfer of Jewish Israelis to the OPT and granted them a superior status under the law as compared to Palestinians living in the same territory when it comes to civil rights, access to land, and freedom to move, build, and confer residency rights to close relatives.
HRW described Israeli Apartheid as a crime against humanity ‘which stands among the most odious crimes in international law.’
The third organisation to describe Israel was Amnesty International this January. It described Israeli apartheid as ‘a cruel system of domination and a crime against humanity.’
Yet despite this, in Scotland for 3 years the Confederation of Friends of Israel Scotland and Glasgow Friends of Israel, two far-Right Zionist organisations which have worked with fascists, have been allowed to take part in the annual Stand Up To Racism march. A wide variety of organisations such as Scotland Against Criminalising Communities condemned SUTR’s willingness to welcome them taking part in their march.
The Socialist Labour Network is therefore holding a Public Zoom Meeting this Saturday March 19th at 6.30 p.m. with a number of distinguished speakers. Please register here. The speakers are:
Ramzy Baroudis editor of the Palestine Chronicle. Ramzy has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist and author of several books. His latest book is These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons
Professor David Miller until his recent sacking by the University of Bristol, which resulted from an outrageous censorship campaign led by the UK’s Israel lobby, taught political sociology. He also set up the UK’s lobbying watchdog, Spinwatch, which has tracked corporate power for 15 years.
Professor Haim Bresheeth-Zabner is a former Israeli and a filmmaker and photographer and Professorial Research Associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies. He is the co-author of The Holocaust for Beginners and his latest book is An Army Like No Otherfor Verso.
Huda Ammori needs no introduction (but I’ll give one anyway!). She is of Palestinian and Iraqi descent, and an active campaigner against the military industrial complex and Israel’s apartheid regime. She is a co-founder of Palestine Action, a direct action network targeting Israel’s largest private arms company, Elbit Systems.
Professor Farid Esack is a South African Muslim scholar, writer, and political activist known for his opposition to apartheid. He was appointed by Nelson Mandela as a gender equity commissioner, and his work for inter-religious dialogue.
Tony Greenstein is a member of the Steering Committee of the Socialist Labour Network and a co-founder of PSC. He is bringing out a new book Zionism During the Holocaust which has already been condemned as ‘anti-Semitic’ without the Zionists having read a word of it!