Ovi -
we cover every issue
Stop human trafficking  
Ovi Bookshop - Free Ebook
Join Ovi in Facebook
Ovi Language
Murray Hunter: Essential Oils: Art, Agriculture, Science, Industry and Entrepreneurship
Stop violence against women
Tony Zuvela - Cartoons, Illustrations
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
BBC News :   - 
iBite :   - 
Khaled Abu Toameh's Journalism Tries to Buy Legitimacy for the Apartheid State
by Dr. Habib Siddiqui
2009-07-29 10:57:51
Print - Comment - Send to a Friend - More from this Author
DeliciousRedditFacebookDigg! StumbleUpon

These days Khaled Abu Toameh (KAT), an Israeli Arab journalist who writes for the Jerusalem Post, is often touted as a ‘real’ journalist with a ‘unique’ voice of ‘straightforward’ reporting from the West Bank and Gaza. Soon after publication of my article “Israel – the Apartheid State”, a reader who has been following KAT’s version of reporting from the Occupied Territories wrote to me stating that before criticizing Israel for apartheid policies, I should urge Palestinians to stop murdering fellow Palestinians. He continued, “Abu Toameh thinks Israel should simply wait until the Palestinians stop killing each other and create a credible political entity that can make a deal. If the Palestinians cannot live in peace with each other, it will be futile to think that a Palestinian state and a Jewish state can live peacefully side by side.” I am sorry to say that such are jaundiced views of the reality within the Occupied Territories of Palestine.

I am aware of the fact that for his pro-Israel Zionist views, in recent years, KAT has become a darling in the anti-Muslim and Islam-bashing media. KAT first came to the attention of most American Muslims before the last year's presidential election in the USA when some 28 million copies of a DVD - Obsession - Radical Islam's War Against the West - were distributed freely as an advertising supplement in newspapers in key battleground states. It was paid for by the Clarion Fund, a nonprofit group established by the film’s Israeli producer with the goal of exposing what it called the threat of radical Islam. The hour-long film featured graphic, violent images and made comparisons of Islam to Nazism.[1] The theme of the DVD was that all Muslims want to take over America, they want to impose their culture on the rest of the American people; they want to destroy the indigenous culture, they want even to lust after women of other cultures. KAT appeared in that video and was heard saying: “They want to defeat the West. They want to defeat Christianity. They want to defeat Judaism.” Interestingly, the arguments used to attack Islam and Muslims in America were the same arguments that anti-Semites used in pre-World War II Nazi Germany to attack the Jewish community. It was a clear case of Islam-phobia at its worst since it was scripted, produced and distributed by the same group that smells anti-Semitism with the slightest criticism of the rogue state of Israel. As former victims they seemed to have learned the trade of xenophobia, bigotry and hate-speech quite well from their former tormentors!

Hearing KAT in that DVD and reading his pro-Israeli views in the Jewish media have made it abundantly clear that his deranged views are not of a fact-finding journalist who understands or cares about the pains of a people that were robbed of their ancestral land and denied basic human rights, who face daily discrimination and persecution in a dehumanizing, apartheid state called Israel.

In my earlier article, I have compared the Zionist state with the Pretoria regime and shared enough citations from credible sources to prove that the Israel is an apartheid state.[2] Since her illegitimate birth, Israel’s behavior has not been of a civilized nation but of a rogue state that has no human concern for others. That is why for every single death of her people she has no remorse, no moral qualm in killing some 200 Arabs. It is pure savagery! It is not difficult to understand why Norwegian writer Jostein Gaarder, winner of several awards, said: "We no longer recognize the state of Israel. We could not recognize the apartheid regime. We call child murderers 'child murderers'. We do not recognize the principle of a thousand Arab eyes for one Israeli eye."[3] (Aftenposten, Op/Ed, August 5, 2006)

Let me also share the views of South African ex-Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils, who is Jewish. He was co-author of a petition that was circulated amongst South African Jewry protesting at the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory. On May 10, 2007, Kasrils accused Israel of conducting a policy against the Palestinians that was 'worse' than (South Africa's system of) apartheid. He said, “South Africa's townships had never been attacked by helicopter gunships and tanks."[4] Kasrils accused Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinians. He said, "Israelis claim that they are the chosen people, the elect of God, and find a biblical justification for their racism and Zionist exclusivity… This is just like the Afrikaners of apartheid South Africa, who also had the biblical notion that the land was their God-given right. Like the Zionists who claimed that Palestine in the 1940s was 'a land without people for a people without land', so the Afrikaner settlers spread the myth that there were no black people in South Africa when they first settled in the 17th century. They conquered by force of arms and terror and the provocation of a series of bloody colonial wars of conquest."[5]

In an earlier article, dated September 2, 2006, written shortly after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, Kasrils wrote, “With the illegal Jewish settlements, security road network and the construction of the monstrous wall around the militarily occupied West Bank, the remaining Palestinians are ghettoised within 12% of their original territory. This dispossession is reminiscent of apartheid and its 13% of Bantustan homelands. For many this is the fundamental cause of the conflict.”[6]

Achmad Cassiem is an ANC member who was arrested at the tender age of 17 for opposing the apartheid regime in South Africa. He spent many years in prison at Robben Island with Nelson Mandela. In an interview with the IHRC in February 2002, he had this to say: "1. Both the Zionist regime and the apartheid regime were racist based on statutory racism - they use the police, the courts of law, the judiciary and the army to impose racism on its inhabitants. 2. Both are chauvinistic - they believe that they are above all others, they are the superior group. 3. Both are expansionist in their political concepts - they wanted to conquer the surrounding territories... 4. Both are colonialist entities - these are not indigenous people who are controlling the territories and the government. 5. Both are imperialist outposts and up to this date they remain imperialist outposts - South Africa as well as Israel, because they are implementing the policies of the super powers... But my submission is that the Zionist regime is worse than the apartheid regime because the Zionist regime claims that Jews are superior on the basis of Biblical scripture and they claim the land of Palestine on the basis of scripture - that makes it a more serious issue...”[7]

Historian John Kaminski has this to say about Israel: “When you read the history of Israel from objective sources, you discover that it is an outlaw state, created by the powers that be by stealing the land from its original inhabitants, and systematically exterminating them ever since.”[8]

KAT cannot be unaware of the despicable state of affairs prevailing inside the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In August 26, 2002, he reported that “approximately 80,000 Palestinians have left the West Bank and Gaza Strip since the beginning of the year, a rise of 50 percent compared to last year” and that another 50,000 Palestinians were trying to leave through the Jordan River bridges and the Rafah border crossing; of those who had left, half would settle in another country. As to the reason for the exodus, he quoted Jordanian writer and columnist Fahed Fanek, who said: “One cannot blame them as individuals, because life in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is intolerable for both economic and security reasons.”[9]

Now we don’t hear such reporting from KAT. He earns a living by justifying Israel’s crimes against his own society. He has become their parrot. He says, “Israel is a wonderful place to live and we are happy to be there. Israel is a free and open country.  If I were given the choice, I would rather live in Israel as a second class citizen than as a first class citizen in Cairo, Gaza, Amman or Ramallah.”[10] With comments like those it is only a question of time when this much touted “brave” journalist from the Occupied Territories would be honored with the Pulitzer Award in journalism!

A quick browsal of the daily reports from the International Middle East Media Center is sufficient to belie KAT’s assertions. A glimpse of Palestinian life inside the Occupied Territories can also be obtained from murdered anti-war activist Rachel Corrie’s letters to friends and family members that were made available by the Guardian, UK (see, e.g., the March 18, ’03 issue). On Feb. 7, 2003, Corrie wrote, "I have been in Palestine for two weeks and one hour now, and I still have very few words to describe what I see. It is most difficult for me to think about what's going on here when I sit down to write back to the United States. Something about the virtual portal into luxury. I don't know if many of the children here have ever existed without tank-shell holes in their walls and the towers of an occupying army surveying them constantly from the near horizons. I think, although I'm not entirely sure, that even the smallest of these children understand that life is not like this everywhere. An eight-year-old was shot and killed by an Israeli tank two days before I got here, … Nevertheless, no amount of reading, attendance at conferences, documentary viewing and word of mouth could have prepared me for the reality of the situation here. You just can't imagine it unless you see it - and even then you are always well aware that your experience of it is not at all the reality: what with the difficulties the Israeli army would face if they shot an unarmed US citizen, and with the fact that I have money to buy water when the army destroys wells, and the fact, of course, that I have the option of leaving. Nobody in my family has been shot, driving in their car, by a rocket launcher from a tower at the end of a major street in my hometown."

In another letter to her mother, on Feb. 27, Rachel Corrie wrote, "I have bad nightmares about tanks and bulldozers outside our house and you and me inside. Sometimes the adrenaline acts as an anesthetic for weeks and then in the evening or at night it just hits me again - a little bit of the reality of the situation. I am really scared for the people here. Yesterday, I watched a father lead his two tiny children, holding his hands, out into the sight of tanks and a sniper tower and bulldozers and Jeeps because he thought his house was going to be exploded. .. Sunday about 150 men were rounded up and contained outside the settlement with gunfire over their heads and around them, while tanks and bulldozers destroyed 25 greenhouses - the livelihoods for 300 people. … If any of us had our lives and welfare completely strangled, lived with children in a shrinking place where we knew, because of previous experience, that soldiers and tanks and bulldozers could come for us at any moment and destroy all the greenhouses that we had been cultivating for however long, and did this while some of us were beaten and held captive with 149 other people for several hours - do you think we might try to use somewhat violent means to protect whatever fragments remained? I think about this especially when I see orchards and greenhouses and fruit trees destroyed - just years of care and cultivation. … Just want to write to my Mom and tell her that I'm witnessing this chronic, insidious genocide and I'm really scared, and questioning my fundamental belief in the goodness of human nature."

Is this eye-witness account simply an imagination of a 23-year-old peace activist from Olympia, USA? No. Within weeks of her above letters, on Sunday, March 16, ’03, Rachel Corrie was crushed to death by a bulldozer as she tried to prevent the Israeli army destroying homes in the Gaza Strip. Greg Schnabel, 28, from Chicago, said the protesters were in the house of Dr. Samir Masri when the tragedy happened. "Rachel was alone in front of the house as we were trying to get them to stop," he said. "She waved for bulldozer to stop and waved. She fell down and the bulldozer kept going. We yelled 'stop, stop', and the bulldozer didn't stop at all. It had completely run over her and then it reversed and ran back over her," he said.[11]

Rachel Corrie’s views of Israel were no different than those made by Bishop Tito and former President Carter – two distinguished citizens of our planet. What value does Israel put to Palestinian lives when it could commit such a cold-blooded murder of an American citizen, whose government has been subsidizing the rogue state billions of dollars every year? Zero.

KAT should tell his ‘discoveries’ about Israel to Mohammed Omer (the Martha Gellhorn prize winner in journalism) who has been the voice to the voiceless in the besieged Gaza Strip since 2003. It was almost a year ago, on June 26, 2008 (the very date designated by human rights groups as the International Day Against Torture), that Mohammed was detained, interrogated, and tortured for several hours by Shin Bet and border officers after he returned from the award ceremony in London.[12] Detention is rather common with most Palestinian adults (i.e., anyone above the age of 12 per Jewish law). Last June, more than 380 Palestinians were detained after being kidnapped from the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem.[13] International human rights organizations estimate that since 1967 more than 630,000 Palestinians in the occupied territories have been detained at some time by the Israeli government.[14] A recently released report from the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), which is based on 547 cases of arrests and dozens of interrogations conducted over the past year, confirmed that Israeli army and the internal security forces routinely “shackle detainees in painful and humiliating manners that, in a number of instances, rise to the level of torture.”[15] In April of this year a Palestinian detainee, Ahmad Ismail Samara, arrested in 1989 who was sentenced to 21 years imprisonment after he was convicted on “criminal charges” and of staying in Israel without a permit died at the Hasharon prison. A few days earlier another detainee was found dead in a detention center.[16] It is estimated that of the current 8500 detainees, 10 per cent are children -- half of those aged 13 and 14.[17] In its 2008 Annual Report, released on 5 Feb. 2009, B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights group, says that of the 548 Palestinians Israel is detaining without trial, 42 have been held for over two years.[18] In that sense, Mohammed must count himself among the lucky ones to be now free and alive!

KAT’s views also differ from the 2008 annual report of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) entitled “The State of Human Rights in Israel and the Occupied Territories” that noted that “Arab Israelis are disadvantaged, persecuted, endangered, and live under third-world conditions.”[19] So, why this charade and myth-making to hide the ugly side of the apartheid state?

KAT is, as any psychiatrist would tell him, in a self-hating mode, a mental trauma caused by prolonged occupation and its cruel treatment of his own people. It is very similar to the Stockholm syndrome where the hostage identifies with the abductor and sees no evil with its criminal actions. KAT feels alienated from the very society that reared him and is committing acts that are ignoble, if not treasonous. He is incapable of independent analysis and, like embedded journalists of the post-9/11 period, is a joke to the noble profession of journalism!

It is, however, true that there is inter-Palestinian rivalry. It is sad and must stop immediately. While condemning it, we should recognize that the violence between the Hamas and the PLO owes its origin to Bush administration’s decision to delegitimize Hamas’s victory in the general election and continues to be aided by the Israeli government which sees the internal strife as a great way to further cripple popular Palestinian resistance against the apartheid state and prolong its illegal occupation. That election was a fair election in which, as noted elsewhere by Toameh, “Hamas owes its victory to the corruption of Fatah.”[20]  Nor should we forget that such internal rivalries are not exceptions to the norm and did exist within almost all national liberation movements.[21] Gandhi’s Indian National Congress and Mandela’s African National Congress saw similar problems.[22] Bangladesh faced similar problems during and after her liberation in 1971.[23] (Nor should we forget that even the colonizers had faced similar problems, too, with some splinter groups with more aggressive agenda killing those deemed more moderate or treasonous to the cause.[24]) But such internal rivalries within the national liberation movements do not make apartheid, colonization and occupation legal or kosher. Israeli politicians have to learn that if they want to join civilized nations, they must dismantle the apartheid state apparatus fully and end occupation now.[25] No ifs and buts about it. They cannot prolong their apartheid system under Machiavellian claims that there is no unity amongst the Palestinians and as such they are not ready and don’t deserve freedom and equality.

It would be silly to play down Israel’s apartheid character and expansionist policy. She has continued her expansionist policy since day one, and even uses such as a bargaining chip for zero-sum peace-talks. She refuses to listen to Nelson Mandela who during his visit to the state in 1999 had said, “My view is that talk of peace remains hollow if Israel continues to occupy Arab lands.”[26] As any honest intermediary would do, Mandela told Israeli reporters that "Israel should withdraw from all the areas which it won from the Arabs in 1967, and in particular Israel should withdraw completely from the Golan Heights, from south Lebanon and from the West Bank."[27]

As the colonists know each other, so do the national liberation movements through their long struggle for freedom and equality. While the State of Israel was the foremost supporter of the Pretoria’s apartheid regime in South Africa (even to the very last day) the Palestinian leadership was supporting the ANC. As a long time supporter of the Palestinian cause, in his address at the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Dec. 4, 1997, President Mandela said, “I have come to join you today to add our own voice to the universal call for Palestinian self-determination and statehood. We would be beneath our own reason for existence as a government and as a nation, if the resolution of the problems of the Middle East did not feature prominently on our agenda. When in 1977, the United Nations passed the resolution inaugurating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, it was asserting the recognition that INJUSTICE AND GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS WERE BEING PERPETRATED IN PALESTINE. In the same period, the UN took a strong stand against apartheid; and over the years, an international consensus was built, which helped to bring an end to this iniquitous system. But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians ….[28]

It was no accident that, after Mandela’s release from prison in 1990, when almost all the countries had invited him to visit, Israel did not. Still, when he eventually visited Israel in 1999, Mandela showed a spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation when he said, "To the many people who have questioned why I came, I say: Israel worked very closely with the apartheid regime. I say: I've made peace with many men who slaughtered our people like animals. Israel cooperated with the apartheid regime.”[29]

The apartheid regime in South Africa is a distant memory today. But the pains of Israeli apartheid system still linger. It refuses to read the writings on the wall. Through its monumental crimes it gives a bad name to Judaism. We can only share Ronnie Karsails’s anguish who in 2006 wrote, “How much longer will the world permit Israel to get away with land theft and child murder? The sieges and check-points, the collective punishment and targeted executions, the house demolitions and ethnic cleansing, and the abduction of legally elected parliamentarians and government ministers. When Israel's new military chief, Dan Halutz, ordered a one-ton bomb dropped on an apartment block in Gaza City to take out a Hamas leader, he said that his only feeling was the sensation of the bump of the plane as the device was released. No remorse for the women and children blown to smithereens along with the target. He said he slept well at night…. Like Gaarder, we must call baby killers "baby killers" and declare that those using methods reminiscent of the Nazis be told that they are behaving like Nazis. May Israelis wake up and see reason, as happened in South Africa, and negotiate peace. And finally, yes, let us learn from what helped open white South African eyes: the combination of a just struggle reinforced by international solidarity utilising the weapons of boycott and sanctions.”[30]

Will the leaders of Israel today have the moral fortitude and vision to tear down its apartheid wall?

July 22, 2009

<>[2]<> http://usa.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/64268

<>[4]<> As quoted in http://zionismexplained.org/apartheid/apartheid.html, see this site for an excellent comparative analysis between apartheid state of Israel and South Africa; iafrica.com, May 11, 2007.

<>[5]<> See an excellent article by Chris McGreal, The Guardian, UK, Feb. 7, 2006, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/feb/07/southafrica.israel.

<>[6]<> http://www.mg.co.za/article/2006-09-02-rage-of-the-elephant-israel-in-lebanon

<>[7]<> http://www.inminds.co.uk/qa-imam-achmad-cassiem.html

<>[8]<> http://johnkaminski.info/

<>[10]<> http://www.saujs.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=111&Itemid=101

<>[11]<> See this author’s article with footnotes on Rachel’s tragic death: http://www.mediamonitors.net/habibsiddiqui5.html

<>[12]<> A journalist beaten – one year later by Mohammed Omer, Agence Global, June 26, 2009, http://www.agenceglobal.com/Article.asp?Id=2042

<>[13]<> http://www.imemc.org/article/61070

<>[14]<> See this author’s article: Israel – the Apartheid State – for details.

<>[15]<> http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2009\06\25\story_25-6-2009_pg4_3

<>[16]<> http://www.imemc.org/article/59892 ; http://israelpalestinenewscompiler.wordpress.com/2009/04/12/palestinian-prisoner-dies-in-israeli-detention-center/

<>[17]<> “Stolen Youth: The Politics of Israel’s Detention of Palestinian Children” by Catherine Cook, Adam Hanieh and Adah Lay, http://www.mawared.org/english/?q=node/251

<>[18]<> http://www.btselem.org/english/press_releases/20090205.asp; see also http://www.actionpalestine.org/from-palestine/five-administrative-detention-orders-for-16-year-old/

<>[19]<> For the full report see: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=12546

<>[20]<> http://www.hudsonny.org/2009/05/islam-today-1.php

<>[21]<> For an interesting reading on internal fighting in Nkrumah’s Ghana, see http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/features/artikel.php?ID=163221

<>[22]<> Outside the INC, there were many religion- and region- based parties that competed for authority in India during the British Raj. Hostile manifestations against British rule became more and more frequent, particularly in Bengal. The more radical nationalists resorted to assassination, bombings, and other acts of terrorism. Gandhi himself was killed by a Brahmin Hindu - Nathuram Godse of the RSS, which was an offshoot from the Hindu Mahasabha that had opposed the INC bitterly. Subhas Chandra Bose, a charismatic leader within the INC, resented Gandhi’s brand of politics and later formed the Forward Bloc before forming Azad Hind Government. See, http://www.sa.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=567&Itemid=106 for an interesting reading on Gandhi’s politics, which was not so non-violent. Animosity between the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the African National Congress (ANC) is well known. In the past, there have been several dozen deaths a year from ANC versus IFP violence—mostly Zulu against Zulu. The elections of 1994 and 2000 were especially bloody; several candidates were killed, and many others were attacked or intimidated. There is further, less violent, division within the IFP itself between moderates who want greater integration into the South African system and extremists who want more autonomy/traditional power; http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/topic,463af2212,469f2f272,469f3ad2c,0.html.

<>[23]<> During and after the 1971 War of Liberation, pro-Chinese left-wing communists killed many Bangladeshi freedom fighters. They also targeted many leaders and workers of the Awami League and pro-Moscow National Awami Party and Communist Party of Bangladesh for assassination.

<>[24]<> See this author’s article – ‘Allegations’ of Israeli Terrorism - http://www.palestine-pmc.com/details.asp?cat=3&id=1698 – for an analysis on activities of extremists within the Jewish population before the state of Israel was created.

<>[25]<> For a report on Israeli violence against Palestinian children, see, http://lawrenceofcyberia.blogs.com/news/2009/01/poor-misunderstood-israel.html

<>[27]<> http://www.jweekly.com/article/full/11885/mandela-bears-message-of-peace-in-first-visit-to-israel/

<>[28]<> http://www.anc.org.za/ancdocs/history/mandela/1997/sp971204b.html

Print - Comment - Send to a Friend - More from this Author

Get it off your chest
 (comments policy)

© Copyright CHAMELEON PROJECT Tmi 2005-2008  -  Sitemap  -  Add to favourites  -  Link to Ovi
Privacy Policy  -  Contact  -  RSS Feeds  -  Search  -  Submissions  -  Subscribe  -  About Ovi