By Iqbal Jassat
Is turning the heat on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists as Israel’s racist right wing regime is doing, any different to the “total onslaught” against freedom struggle activists by former apartheid chiefs in South Africa?
It certainly is and much worse. Daily accounts of severe repression whereby Palestinian men, women and children face the tragic, yet deliberate effects of Israel’s violence is testimony of Zionist regime’s “total onslaught”.
But Israel is aware despite being foolishly blinded by its so-called power, “total onslaught” didn’t save apartheid in South Africa. Neither mass arrests, nor executions of political activists allowed the power-house of apartheid which resided in the National Party and supported by capitalist corporations along with their backers in the capitals of the West, to reign forever.
In fact the converse is true: not only did those despicable series of brutal assaults on fundamental human rights in South Africa fail to stem the tide of liberation; the strategy itself of an all out war to wipe out opposition to apartheid represented utter failure.
In its mindless pursuit of “total onslaught” underpinned by ruthless “kragdadigheid” (Afrikaans term symbolizing naked power), the ideologues of Pretoria vainly believed then as Netanyahu falsely does today that state terrorism will crush and wipe out the struggle for freedom.
The stark difference between these regimes is the elephant in the room: America!
Unlike the late 80’s when America gradually became less visible as an ally of apartheid South Africa, in Israel today under the Trump administration, the US has escalated its alliance to unprecedented levels.
The mantra “America First” also translates to “Israel First”. This comes as no surprise if one probes the ideological leanings of his cabinet appointees, White House advisers, speech writers and inner circle strategists.
Many of Trump’s advisers hold positions far to the right of hard-liner Netanyahu. His appointment of David Friedman who sits on the board of an illegal settlement called Beit Al as ambassador to Israel, is a case in point.
His stance on settlements dovetails with Israel’s: to support legalizing settlements which the United Nations has outlawed as illegal since 1971.
Jason Dov Greenblatt, who has written a travel book glorifying Israel is also part of Trump’s team of advisers on Israel. An interesting fact to note is that both Friedman and Greenblatt released a memo prior to the election which stated that a Trump administration would not automatically support the creation of a Palestinian state.
The man admired by Israel’s racist defense minister Lieberman is Trump son-in-law Kushner who is intimately involved as an insider and tipped to be a Middle East peace envoy. His pro-Israel credentials are well known and not just because his family foundation is a donor to the Beit Al settlement.
Of course his chief strategist Stephen Bannon who made Breitbart News a home for extreme pro-Israel views, holds almost complete sway over the administration. His expressions of hate towards all sorts of minority groups, particularly Muslims, forms the backbone of Trump’s Muslim Ban and the convergence of Israel First with America First policies.
Israel’s shortsightedness is clearly evident in the fact that it’s faith in America’s unconditional support for illegal settlements and continuous violations of international legal conventions is almost fanatical. That it believes that Trump will deliver on his promises is as weak as its own foundations.
To insist and demand American support is to draw the Trump administration into a long drawn messy war with the United Nations. With all the fires lit by him which he is now busy fighting to douse – from Obamacare to the Mexico Wall, Putin’s Russia and much more – Donald Trump is licking his self inflicted wounds.
His campaign promises may have given him the White House but non-delivery will lead to more fires. Yet Israel remains adamant about adding fuel to the fire. Is it likely that Trump and his hardline gang of bigots will jeopardize their fragile hold onto power by continuing to protect Israel from global censure?
The most recent declaration by the UN Human Rights Council that Israel is the world’s No. 1 human rights violator, follows on the heels of the UN’s ESCWA report on Israel’s apartheid status. These damning findings are indicative of a growing global momentum demanding justice for Palestine and support for worldwide sanctions campaigns such as BDS.
The elephant in the room will thus have to contend with imperatives such as sustainability, legality and morality. Global opinion is growing at an alarming rate much to the dismay of Israel and correctly is concerned about the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the imposition of apartheid.
South Africa’s apartheid regime seemed impenetrable yet collapsed as global resentment against its inhumane policies grew in leaps and bounds.
Israel is where South Africa once was. It’s inevitable collapse is staring it in its face.
– Iqbal Jassat is an acclaimed writer, analyst and commentator and one of the founder members of MRN. His analysis is featured regularly in mainstream and alternate media outlets around the world.