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Home arrow Blog arrow May 2010 arrow May 21, 2010

May 21, 2010
May 21, 2010: What John Lennon might say to Sir Elton and a Call for 21st Century Artists Against Apartheid 

 

 

"All I want is the truth. Just gimme some truth. I've had enough of reading things by neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians. All I want is the truth. Just gimme some truth."-John Lennon, 1971.

 

 

Sir Elton Hercules John, is scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv on June 17, 2010.

 

Four decades ago, Israel banned The Beatles fearing their revolutionary message of love and peace would corrupt their youth.

 

On Lennon’s 1974 release, Walls and Bridges, which yielded Lennon's only number one single in his lifetime; "Whatever Gets You Thru the Night" Elton played piano and sang backing vocals.


That led to Lennon’s last live performance, when the pair performed it at Elton’s Thanksgiving Day concert in Madison Square Garden, which also led to John and Yoko Ono reconciling after a 15 month estrangement.

 

 

In Ray Coleman's biography of John Lennon, he quotes the artist circa 1969, “I'd like to be like Christ, [he described himself as a Christian communist] in a pure sense, not in the way Russia or Italy think of Christianity or communism...Every body's uptight [fearful] and they're always building these walls around themselves. All you can do is try to break down the walls and show them that there's nothing there but people. I only know that peace can exist, and the first thing is for the world to disarm. I think I'll win because I believe in what Jesus said.” [1]

 

Jesus cried buckets over Jerusalem 2,000 years ago, and I IMAGINE if he walked the planet today; it would be the same, for the Jewish State has become an Apartheid State.

 

 

 

In 1985 Bono joined forces with a group of artists concerned about Apartheid in South Africa. Inspired by his meetings with several of them, he wrote "Silver and Gold."

 

Yep, silver and gold.
This song was written in a hotel room in New York City.
'Round about the time a friend or ours, little Steven,
was putting together a record of artists against apartheid.
This is a song written about a man in a shanty town outside of Johannesburg.
A man who's sick of looking down the barrel of white South Africa.
A man who is at the point where he is ready to take up arms against his oppressor.
A man who has lost faith in the peacemakers of the west while
they argue and while they fail to support a man like bishop Tutu
and his request for economic sanctions against South Africa.
Am I buggin' you?

 

 

In 2004 the International Court of Justice ruled that The Wall is a violation of International Law because it cuts through the West Bank appropriating Palestinian land and destroying Palestinian villages and economy to make way for further Israeli settlements, all of which are illegal under international law.

 

 

Six years ago this July, the International Court of Justice released its Advisory Opinion on the "Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories".

This opinion detailed the court's findings that the Wall violated Israel's obligations under international law, that the Wall should be removed, and that Israel ought to lift its travel restrictions on Palestinians. Today, construction of the Wall continues and Israel's restrictions on Palestinians have intensified.

 

 

To build the Wall Israel has uprooted tens of thousands of ancient olive trees that for many Palestinians are also the last resource to provide food for their children.

 

The Palestinian aspiration for a viable independent state is also negated by the Wall, for it isolates villages from their mother cities and divides the West Bank into disconnected cantons: bantusans and ghettos!

 

According to a UN report, Haaretz columnist Danny Rubinstein admitted that "Israel today was an apartheid State with four different Palestinian groups: those in Gaza, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Israeli Palestinians, each of which had a different status...even if the wall followed strictly the line of the pre-1967 border, it would still not be justified. The two peoples needed cooperation rather than walls because they must be neighbors." [2]

 

 

"An apartheid society is much more than just a 'settler colony'. It involves specific forms of oppression that actively strip the original inhabitants of any rights at all, whereas civilian members of the invader caste are given all kinds of sumptuous privileges." [3]

 

 

On May 14, 1948, The Declaration of the establishment of Israel affirmed that, "The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations."

 

 

On December 20, 2006, Israeli Minister of Education, Shulamit Aloni was quoted in the popular Israeli newspaper, Yediot Acharonot: "The truth which is known to all; through its army, the government of Israel practices a brutal form of Apartheid in the territory it occupies. Its army has turned every Palestinian village and town into a fenced-in, or blocked-in, detention camp."

 

How could a state founded on "equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants" come to be such a state of hypocrisy?

 

 

A Little History in a Time Line:

 

On July 5, 1950, Israel enacted the Law of Return by which Jews anywhere in the world, have a "right" to immigrate to Israel on the grounds that they are returning to their own state, even if they have never been there before. [4]

 

On July 14, 1952: The enactment of the Citizenship/Jewish Nationality Law, results in Israel becoming the only state in the world to grant a particular national-religious group—the Jews—the right to settle in it and gain automatic citizenship. In 1953, South Africa's Prime Minister Daniel Malan becomes the first foreign head of government to visit Israel and returns home with the message that Israel can be a source of inspiration for white South Africans. [IBID]

 

In 1962, South African Prime Minister Verwoerd declares that Jews "took Israel from the Arabs after the Arabs had lived there for a thousand years. In that I agree with them, Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state." [IBID]

 

On August 1, 1967, Israel enacted the Agricultural Settlement Law, which bans Israeli citizens of non-Jewish nationality- Palestinian Arabs- from working on Jewish National Fund lands, well over 80% of the land in Israel. Knesset member Uri Avnery stated: "This law is going to expel Arab cultivators from the land that was formerly theirs and was handed over to the Jews." [IBID]

 

On April 4, 1969, General Moshe Dayan is quoted in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz telling students at Israel's Technion Institute that "Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You don't even know the names of these Arab villages, and I don't blame you, because these geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either… There is not one single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population."[IBID]

 

On April 28, 1971: C. L. Sulzberger, writing in The New York Times, quoted South African Prime Minister John Vorster as saying that Israel is faced with an apartheid problem, namely how to handle its Arab inhabitants. Sulzberger wrote: "Both South Africa and Israel are in a sense intruder states. They were built by pioneers originating abroad and settling in partially inhabited areas." [IBID]

 

On September 13, 1978, in Washington, D.C. The Camp David Accords are signed by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and witnessed by President Jimmy Carter. The Accords reaffirm U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338, which prohibit acquisition of land by force, call for Israel's withdrawal of military and civilian forces from the West Bank and Gaza, and prescribe 'full autonomy' for the inhabitants of the territories. Begin orally promises Carter to freeze all settlement activity during the subsequent peace talks. Once back in Israel, however, the Israeli prime minister continues to confiscate, settle, and fortify the occupied territories. [IBID]

 

On September 13, 1985, Rep. George Crockett (D-MI), after visiting the Israeli-occupied West Bank, compares the living conditions there with those of South African blacks and concludes that the West Bank is an instance of apartheid that no one in the U.S. is talking about. [IBID]

 

In July 2000, President Bill Clinton convenes the Camp David II Peace Summit between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat. Clinton—not Barak—offers Arafat the withdrawal of some 40,000 Jewish settlers, leaving more than 180,000 in 209 settlements, all of which are interconnected by roads that cover approximately 10% of the occupied land. Effectively, this divides the West Bank into at least two non-contiguous areas and multiple fragments. Palestinians would have no control over the borders around them, the air space above them, or the water reserves under them. Barak called it a generous offer and Arafat rightly refused to sign. [IBID]

 

 

August 31, 2001: Durban, South Africa. Up to 50,000 South Africans march in support of the Palestinian people. In their Declaration by South Africans on Apartheid and the Struggle for Palestine they proclaim: "We, South Africans who lived for decades under rulers with a colonial mentality, see Israeli occupation as a strange survival of colonialism in the 21st century. Only in Israel do we hear of 'settlements' and 'settlers.' Only in Israel do soldiers and armed civilian groups take over hilltops, demolish homes, uproot trees and destroy crops, shell schools, churches and mosques, plunder water reserves, and block access to an indigenous population's freedom of movement and right to earn a living. These human rights violations were unacceptable in apartheid South Africa and are an affront to us in apartheid Israel." [IBID]

 

October 23, 2001: Ronnie Kasrils, a Jew and a minister in the South African government, co-authors a petition "Not in My Name," signed by some 200 members of South Africa's Jewish community, reads: "It becomes difficult, from a South African perspective, not to draw parallels with the oppression expressed by Palestinians under the hand of Israel and the oppression experienced in South Africa under apartheid rule." [IBID]

 

Three years later, Kasrils will go to the Occupied Territories and conclude: "This is much worse than apartheid. Israeli measures, the brutality, make apartheid look like a picnic. We never had jets attacking our townships. We never had sieges that lasted month after month. We never had tanks destroying houses. We had armored vehicles and police using small arms to shoot people but not on this scale." [IBID]

 

April 29, 2002: Boston, MA. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who received a Nobel Peace Prize for his relentless work confronting and challenging South Africa's Apartheid regime said he is "very deeply distressed" by what he observed in his recent visit to the Holy Land, adding, "It reminded me so much of what happened in South Africa [I saw] the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about.”

 

Referring to Americans, he added, "People are scared in this country to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful—very powerful. Well, so what? The apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists." [IBID]

 

 

On December 20, 2006, Archbishop Tutu was quoted in The Guardian: "Israel will never get true security and safety through oppressing another people. A true peace can ultimately be built only on justice…if peace could come to South Africa, surely it can come to the Holy Land."

 

The following nine categories make up the necessary, sufficient, and defining characteristics of apartheid regimes: 

1. Violence: Apartheid is a state of war initiated by a de facto invading ethnic minority, which at least in the short term originates from a non-neighboring locality. In all main instances of apartheid most if not all members of the invading group originate from a different continent. The invading ethnic minority and its self-defined descendants then continue to dominate the indigenous majority by means of their military superiority and by their continuous threats and uses of violence. 

2. Repopulation: Apartheid is also a continuation of depopulation and population transfer. One example is seen in the obliteration of the indigenous Bedouins that Israel denies free movement to graze their herds and are silently transferring the Bedouins to new locales, such as atop of garbage dumps.

3. Citizenship: The indigenous people are often denied citizenship in their own country by the apartheid state authorities, which are ironically and irrationally, run and staffed by the recent arrivals to the country.


 4. Land: Apartheid entails land confiscation, land redistribution and forced removals, almost without exception to the benefit of the invading ethnic minority. Usually, members of the ethnic majority are forced on to barren and unfertile soils, where they must also try to survive under impoverished and overcrowded conditions.

5. Work: Apartheid displays systematic exploitation of the indigenous class in the production process and different pay or taxation for the same work.

6. Access: There is ethnically differentiated access to employment, food, water, health care, emergency services, clean air, and other needs, including the need for leisure activities, in each case ensuring superior access for the favored ethnic community.

7. Education: There are also different kinds of education offered and forced upon the different ethnic groups. 

8. Language: A basic apartheid characteristic is the fact that only very few of the invaders and their descendants ever learn the language(s) of the indigenous victims. 

9. Thought: Finally, apartheid contains ideologies or 'necessary illusions' in order to convince the privileged minorities that they are inherently superior and the indigenous majorities that they are inherently inferior. Much of apartheid thought is shaped by typical war propaganda. The enemy is dehumanized by both sides' ideologies, words and other symbols are used to incite or provoke people to violence, but mostly so by the invaders and their descendants. [5]

 


John Lennon said and sang:

 

"Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we're being run by maniacs for maniacal ends...I believe that as soon as people want peace in the world they can have it. The only trouble is they are not aware they can get it. …All we are saying is give peace a chance…All you need is love…Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will be as one."

 

 

Elvis Costello recently canceled both of his scheduled performances in Israel, as "a matter of instinct and conscience [when he came] to the following conclusions…Sometimes a silence in music is better than adding to the static and so an end to it. I cannot imagine receiving another invitation to perform in Israel, which is a matter of regret but I can imagine a better time when I would not be writing this. With the hope for peace and understanding."

 

 

Imagine the day when Artists and All People of Conscience will have the ears to hear and the integrity to heed the Palestinian civil societies call for BDS: Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel-until Israel changes her bad behavior.

 

I imagine that will be the day that ushers in a sister and brotherhood of man; and all people will share all the world and live a life in peace because of understanding, that "the other" is also them, just in different skin and in different places.

 


IMAGINE: A Sisterhood of Man

 


 

 

 

[1] "LENNON", Ray Coleman. McGraw-Hill, 1984. Pgs -374-381.
[2]
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3444320,00.html
[3] Apartheid Ancient, Past, and Present Systematic and Gross Human Rights
Violations in Graeco-Roman Egypt, South Africa, and Israel/Palestine, By Anthony Löwstedt. Page 77.
[4] The Link, "About That Word Apartheid", April-May 2007, Published by Americans for Middle East Understanding, Inc.

[5] Paraphrased from pages 71-73, Apartheid Ancient, Past, and Present Systematic and Gross Human Rights Violations in Graeco-Roman Egypt, South Africa, and Israel/Palestine, By Anthony Löwstedt. Page 77.    

 


   
 
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