Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Zionism is Racism: How Israel's founding ideology, Zionism, is the basic obstacle for the full integration of minorities into its mainstream political systems

In Israel, Arabs constitute twenty percent, around 1.5 million, of the Israeli population.   The marginalization and refugee crisis of Arabs in Israel began in 1948, with the creation of the state of Israel, based on Zionist ideologies that set to create a Jewish state in the Holy Land where a predominantly Arab and Muslim population was currently living under the British mandate.  Theodor Herzl declared in 1897, that the aim of Zionism, or Jewish nationalism, “was to establish a national home for the Jewish people secured by public law.”  The politics of Zionism were influenced by nationalist ideology and by colonial ideas about Europeans’ right to claim and settle other parts of the world.  Ultimately though, the fundamental ideology of Zionism itself, is the idea of a legally ethnocentric Israel.  Zionism depends on the notions of divine entitlement and civilizational superiority that justified previous colonialist settlement projects in South Africa, Algeria, and North America. 
There are several forms of Zionism that evolved throughout the 1920 until the 1970s, the dominant form was Labor Zionism, which set to link socialism and nationalism.  Later in the 1920s, and into the 1930s, the second form of Zionism emerged as the Revisionist movement.  The Revisionist movement of Zionism supported a revision of the boundaries of Jewish territorial claims beyond Palestine to include areas east of the Jordan River.  The Revisionists declared their objective was to establish a Jewish state in Palestine. 
Following the Arab rejection of the 1947 partition plan (which provided for two, albeit not ethnically-cleansed, entities), the 1948 war and the ensuing flux of Palestinian refugees epitomized the crux of the identity-cased conflict.  Today, these aspects relate to the fate of the Palestinian refugees as well as to the status of the Palestinian minority in Israel.  Touching on the key issue of the nature of the State of Israel, they represent by far the most intractable issues of the conflict.  With the 1967 war, the conflict acquired a distinct territorial aspect.  Through the occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the conflict became largely focused on territory: on the one hand, there is Israel’s construction of settlements, roads and walls and its seizure and destruction of land and property; and on the other hand, there is the Palestinians’ violent resistance, including the use of terrorism, against Israeli policies.  “Consequently, Israel’s victory in 1967 gave rise to amore religious variation of Zionism.  Some existing political parties representing orthodox Jews came to embrace religious nationalism, and new parties and movements forms to advocate Israel’s permanent control and extensive Jewish settlement in the West bank and Gaza” (http://www.merip.org/palestine-israel_primer/zionism-pal-isr-primer.html). 
Since the Oslo Process, the territorial aspects of the conflict (concerning settlements, borders and water) have become a major focus of negotiations.  Yet, paradoxically these represent the most amenable issues for compromise, with the exception of Jerusalem, which has both a territorial and religious meaning.  The PLO’s 1988 effective acceptance of a two-state solution potentially meets the Zionist left’s priority to secure a ‘Jewish democratic state,’ and its consequent understanding of the need to withdraw from the Palestinian-inhabited occupied territories” (http://www.merip.org/palestine-israel_primer/zionism-pal-isr-primer.html). 
Palestinians in Israel are politically marginalized and economically underprivileged, according to a recent International Crisis Group report (“Back to Basics: Israel’s Arab minority and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, 14 March 2012 [PDF]). Adalah, an organization giving legal aid to Palestinians in Israel, stated last year that 30 laws in Israel discriminate either directly or indirectly against Palestinian citizens (“The Inequality Report: The Palestinian Arab minority in Israel,” March 2011 [PDF]).  “That puts Israeli democracy under a big question mark,” said Mossawa’s Laham-Grayeb (http://electronicintifada.net/content/racism-pushing-palestinian-citizens-israel-ramallah/11664).
Zionism is at the very core of the marginalization of Palestinian Arabs at the time of the British Mandate, and remains to be the at the very core of the continued marginalization of Palestinian Arabs today. The UN General Assembly Resolution 3379 determined on November 10th, 1975 that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination after the assembly recalled the multiple international laws that call for the elimination of forms of racism and racial discrimination, including the following: 
       “First, the United Nations resolution 1904 proclaiming the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and in particular its affirmation that "any doctrine of racial differentiation or superiority is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous" and its expression of alarm at "the manifestations of racial discrimination still in evidence in some areas in the world, some of which are imposed by certain Governments by means of legislative, administrative or other measures; Second, resolution 3151 G (XXVIII) of 14 December 1973, the General Assembly condemned, inter alia, the unholy alliance between South African racism and Zionism;  Third, the Declaration of Mexico on the Equality of Women and Their Contribution to Development and Peace, proclaimed by the World Conference of the International Women's Year, held at Mexico City from 19 June to 2 July 1975, which promulgated the principle that "international co-operation and peace require the achievement of national liberation and independence, the elimination of colonialism and neo-colonialism, foreign occupation, Zionism, apartheid and racial discrimination in all its forms, as well as the recognition of the dignity of peoples and their right to self-determination",  Fourth, resolution 77 (XII) adopted by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity at its twelfth ordinary session, hold at Kampala from 28 July to 1 August 1975, which considered "that the racist regime in occupied Palestine and the racist regimes in Zimbabwe and South Africa have a common imperialist origin, forming a whole and having the same racist structure and being organically linked in their policy aimed at repression of the dignity and integrity of the human being" (http://imeu.net/news/article005878.shtml).
The right of return for Palestinians has been endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in the form of Resolution 194, has been reaffirmed every single year - bar one - since 1948. Israel’s founding ideology of Zionism has caused, and continues to cause today, the marginizaliation of Arabs in Israel and the continuation of the Palestinian refugee crisis.  International law has found Israel’s founding ideology of Zionism illegal under international law due to the ideology’s racist, discriminatory behaviors that violate Arab Palestinians’, in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, fundamental human rights.
For further analysis of the Palestinian refugee crisis and Israel's multiple violations of human rights please see my previous article: "Escalation in the Israeli Assault on the Gaza Strip and the Upcoming Palestinian Bid at the UN: The Role of Human Rights and the Palestinian Refugee in the Palestinian-Israeli Peace Process"