Why Israel is an apartheid state”

By   /   February 16, 2018  /   3 Comments

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I wanted to address an issue that I think is important in terms of the ongoing campaign around human rights for the people of Palestine, justice for the people of Palestine, and that is what is our attitude to the Jewish people in that state of Israel.

Kia Ora, thank you.


I wanted to address an issue that I think is important in terms of the ongoing campaign around human rights for the people of Palestine, justice for the people of Palestine, and that is what is our attitude to the Jewish people in that state of Israel. What should be the stance of people who believe in justice to those who have settled there and are making their lives there, because they demand of the world certain things.


The Israeli state and its political leaders demands of the world that the world recognises Israel. Not only that, they have escalated that a little bit you see, because there was a litlle bit of a problem and I want to take a little bit of time and I’m sorry about that, but they have excalated that demand from not just recognising the State of Israel but recognising the State of Israel as a “Jewish” state, the State of Israel as an exclusive state, the State of Israel as effectively a racist and apartheid state, because that is what they are asking the world when they ask the world to recognise that state as a Jewish state.


Because even on their own citizenship numbers one quarter of the people who live in that state, at least in the internationally recognised borders that were established in 1948, the people who live in that state, at least a quarter of its citizens are Palestinians of Christian or Muslim belief in today’s world, or non belief as the case may be, but they are not and have never been Israelis of the Jewish faith. So their demands of the world to recognise this state is, in my view to demand somethin akin to the world “recognising” the New Zealand state as a “White, Protestant, Republic” of some sort. Anyone who proposed such a demand that the world should recognise this state as a White, Protestant or Anglican or catholic of Christian republic because that is the beliefs of the majority of the people who live here would be considered raving mad. A raving racist, a raving lunatic to want to exclude the indiginous people of the land in which they are living as partners to be equals in society.


The problem the world has is that they demand we recognise them, they demand we recognise them as religious or ethnically exclusive state. But there is a problem with it. They will not, and have never, defined the borders of that state. There is no israeli document that has the borders defined for the State of Israel. Not one, Never has been. Never has been. Not the ’48 border, the 1967 border. In fact every publication that is put out in Israel has areas. And the areas have biblical names. Judea and Samaria for the area of the West Bank, for the area we commonly know as the West Bank, this is simply Judea and Samaria in the Israeli definition. They do not define their own borders. The 1948 borders, the 1967 borders, the wall they have established within the occupied lands from 1967, the annexation of half of the Jerusalem City after the 1967 war, none of these are defined on any Israeli map or citizenship document. So when they demand that we recognise this thing we should demand of them – What is it? What is that thing you want us to recognise. Because they will not and never have defined that thing. Thy have made demands on the world that are intolerable.


They have made demands on the world that have allowed them to establish their state as an apartheid state. Yes, they recognise the one quarter of the population that lives within the land they conquered in 1948. There is a thing about that, you see. Even the 1948 borders were a product of conquest. The land was divided by the United Nations into Palestinian and Jewish lands. And the people who established the jewish state conquered signifcantly more of the territory in 1948. So Israel, the 1948 Israel, which was recognised by the United Nations, was a land already of conquest and expluslion, but that state is the only state in the United Nations that had a condition put on its recognition. That condition was that those people who had fled as refugees in 1948 would be allowed to return. The United Nations said we will recognise your conquest – “loathsome” or not “approved” or not – we will recognise this new state so long as you allow those people who fled as a consequence of that war the right to return. And they have never allowed those people the right to return. They lost the right to have the recognition of their state, their 1948 state, they lost the right to have that state recognised by refusing to meet a condition the United Nations established for that recognition.


Furthermore, the 1967 state, which is a bigger state, which includes all of the West Bank, and for a long time and still de facto includes the Gaza Strip, the 1967 state has actually existed longer than the 1948-67 state. This state, the post-1967 state, has existed for half a century. And the millions of people who lived in subjugation and apartheid, military control, and all the rest of it that is asociated with that occupation, those people have lived there longer than the people of South Africa lived under their apartheid state before it was finally destroyed. We do not and should not recognise apartheid states, we should demand they be dismantled, we should demand that all of the people in that region live in freedom.


Kia Ora


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About the author

Mike Treen

National Director of Unite Union


  1. Lois Griffiths says:

    I don’t like the phase ” what is our attitude to the Jewish people in that state of Israel”… The issue for everyone including our media and political elite NZ should be “what is our attitude to the regime of the state of Israel?” The call for BDS is a plea from Palestinians for non-violent solidarity from civil society everywhere, to pressure Israel into becoming a state that recognizes UN Resolutions, humanitarian norms, including the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child.

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