LONDON – The Amnesty International report about Israel’s apartheid system states that, since its founding in 1948, Israel has in fact constituted a “cruel system of domination and crime against humanity.” It further states:
Amnesty International has analyzed Israel’s intent to create and maintain a system of oppression and domination over Palestinians and examined its key components: territorial fragmentation; segregation and control; dispossession of land and property; and denial of economic and social rights. It has concluded that this system amounts to apartheid.
Crimes against humanity
The report correctly states that the designation of Israeli apartheid places it firmly in the category of “Crimes Against Humanity.” This is not an insignificant conclusion. The report says that the inhuman or inhumane acts committed by Israel “amount to the crime against humanity of apartheid under both the Apartheid Convention and the Rome Statute.”
According to the Cornell Law school Legal Information Institute (LII):
Crime against humanity refers to a category of crimes against international law which includes the most egregious violations of human dignity, especially those directed toward civilian populations. The modern understanding of crimes against humanity is codified in the founding statutes of the international criminal tribunals, including the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Court (ICC).
As codified in Article 7 of the ICC Statute, the following acts are punishable as crimes against humanity when perpetrated by a state actor as part of a systematic or widespread attack against a civilian population:
- Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health. The intent requirement for liability is “knowledge of the attack.”
The Amnesty report states clearly that Israeli apartheid falls under this category and provides data to show that these crimes were perpetrated with intent.
Opportunities for campaigns
The reality that this report has brought forward opens doors to a much more aggressive anti-apartheid campaign than we have seen so far. When Zionist organizations hold events, they do so in support of Israel; they encourage others to support Israel financially and politically. These organizations need to reserve conventions centers and hotels, the corporate offices of which should have copies of the Amnesty report on their desks alongside a demand that they refuse to cater to Zionist organizations.
According to the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, “[i]nternational criminal responsibility is to apply to individuals, members of organizations and representatives of the State who commit, incite or conspire to commit the crime of apartheid.”
Furthermore, according to Article III of the Convention:
International criminal responsibility shall apply, irrespective of the motive involved, to individuals, members of organizations and institutions and representatives of the State, whether residing in the territory of the State in which the acts are perpetrated or in some other State, whenever they:
(a) Commit, participate in, directly incite or conspire in the commission of the acts mentioned in Article II of the present Convention;
(b) Directly abet, encourage or co-operate in the commission of the crime of apartheid.
Article III (a) and (b) both apply both to the Zionist organizations that lobby and promote Israel in the United States. The corporations that provide services to these organizations need to know that they are providing services to criminal elements and that this will be used against them in campaigns that demand accountability.
Each year in cities across the United States, Zionist pro-Israel organizations like AIPAC, J-Street, the ADL – and the largest Zionist organization of them all, Christians United for Israel, or CUFI – hold their multi-million dollar events. These events require an enormous amount of planning and logistics, including a major convention center, hotel rooms, catering, transportation, and more products and services.
These conferences provide millions of dollars of revenue to the cities and to the establishments that host them. While the money these organizations provide is a strong incentive for businesses that cater to them to look the other way, the companies and corporations that provide the services to Zionist organizations need to understand that they are playing with fire.
Hosting racist, violent organizations that perpetuate hate may be protected by the right to make a profit, but now we are talking about serving organizations that are perpetrating crimes against humanity. CEOs and members of the boards of Hilton, Marriott, and other major hotel chains, as well as the cities that rent out the convention centers, must know that catering to pro-Israeli groups is no longer acceptable. The recommendations of the Amnesty report make it clear that supporting Israel in any way constitutes collaboration with a crime against humanity and that anyone who does this will be outed and held responsible.
No longer terrorists
In September of 2020, Palestinian leader and resistance commander Leila Khaled was scheduled to participate in a panel hosted by San Francisco State University. The event was to take place via Zoom but, bowing to pressure by Zionist groups, Zoom canceled the event. The event was then shared live via Facebook and YouTube, both of which later deleted video of the event.
The reason given for the cancellation by Zoom was that Khaled belongs to the PFLP, an organization listed by the United Stated as a terrorist organization. However, since Israel has been committing crimes against humanity by imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people, Palestinians who resist cannot be considered terrorists, but freedom fighters. What people would not stand up and fight a racist, violent regime that is imposed upon them? Americans certainly hold dear the line “Live Free or Die,” and so do Palestinians.
The data and the detailed investigations that brought about the Amnesty report must also be used to free Palestinians that resist apartheid from the weight of the “terrorist” designation and open the doors to allow them to participate freely in the discussion on how to bring an end to the apartheid regime.
The endless possibilities created by the Amnesty report can bring about change in Palestine for the better. However, things will not change unless people who care for justice and freedom take this report and use it wisely.
Feature photo | A journalist holds a copy of Amnesty International’s report “Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians,” at a press conference on the release of the 278-page report compiled over a period of four years, in Jerusalem, Feb. 1, 2022. Maya Alleruzzo | AP
Miko Peled is MintPress News contributing writer, published author and human rights activist born in Jerusalem. His latest books are “The General’s Son. Journey of an Israeli in Palestine,” and “Injustice, the Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.”