Source: The New Statesman
The farce of the climate summit in Copenhagen affirmed a world war waged by the rich against most of humanity. It also illuminated a resistance growing perhaps as never before: an internationalism linking justice for the planet with universal human rights, and criminal justice for those who invade and dispossess with impunity. And the best news comes from Palestine.
The Palestinians’ resistance to the theft of their country reached a critical moment in 2001 when a UN conference on racism in Durban, South Africa, identified Israel as an apartheid state. To Nelson Mandela, justice for the Palestinians is "the greatest moral issue of the age". The Palestinian civil society call for boycott, disinvestment and sanctions (BDS) was issued on 9 July 2005, in effect reconvening the great, non-violent movement that swept the world and brought the scaffolding of African apartheid crashing down.
“Through decades of occupation and dispossession," wrote Mustafa Barghouti, a wise voice of Palestinian politics, "90 per cent of the Palestinian struggle has been non-violent . . . A new generation of Palestinian leaders [now speaks] to the world precisely as Martin Luther King did. The same world that rejects all use of Palestinian violence, even clear self-defence, surely ought not begrudge us the non-violence employed by men such as King and Gandhi."
No more a taboo
In the United States and Europe, trade unions, mainstream churches and academic associations have brought back the strategies that were used against apartheid South Africa. In a resolution adopted by 431 votes to 62, the US Presbyterian Church voted for a process of "phased, selective disinvestment" in multinational corporations doing business with Israel. This followed the opinion of the International Court of Justice that Israel’s wall and its "settler" colonies were illegal. A similar declaration by the court in 1971, denouncing South Africa’s occupation of Namibia, ignited the international boycott.
Like the South Africa campaign, the issue of law is central. No state is allowed to flout international law as wilfully as Israel. In 1990, a UN Security Council resolution demanding that Saddam Hussein get out of Kuwait was the same, almost word for word, as the one demanding that Israel get out of the West Bank. Iraq was driven out while Israel has been repeatedly rewarded. On 11 December, Barack Obama announced $2.8bn in "aid" for Israel, part of the $30bn US taxpayers will gift from their stricken economy during this decade.