Monday, February 15, 2010

Time.com asks: Would sanctions imposed on (apartheid) Israel help Palestinians?

Tony Karon has a piece at Time.com that highlights Israeli apartheid and asks the obvious question--if sanctions were necessary to end South African apartheid, won't they be required to end the modern day version? Karon notes a recent statement by Israeli 'Defense' Minister Ehud Barak ("If the Palestinians vote in elections it is a binational state, and if they don't vote it is an apartheid state.") and points out an interesting historical connection:
"Barak sounded his warning in the same week that South Africa marked the 20th anniversary of the decision by the then President F.W. De Klerk to free Nelson Mandela and begin negotiating an end to apartheid. It was certainly a courageous decision by De Klerk, but it's important to remember that it was not some epiphany about the immorality of apartheid that changed his mind. By 1989, with the Cold War essentially over, Pretoria had gotten the message that it could no longer count on U.S. support to head off sanctions and other international pressure in the name of anticommunist solidarity. Financial sanctions were beginning to bite and the price of maintaining the status quo was beginning to appear prohibitive....Political leaders typically change course not because they change their philosophy, but because the cost-benefit ratio in maintaining the status quo no longer makes sense.... [I]f his efforts are to bear any fruit, Obama and his international partners will have to change the cost-benefit analysis for the Israelis and Palestinians by raising both the inducements to act and the consequences of inaction. As long as the status quo remains more politically comfortable than the alternative, there's no reason to expect any progress."
Read the full article here. We've said it before and we'll say it again--the discourse in this country is changing. Words like "apartheid" and "sanctions" are becoming increasingly acceptable to relate to Israeli policy. Of course, we don't think that Israeli apartheid is a thing of the future--it's a thing of the present. That's why we're promoting Israeli Apartheid Week 2010 from March 1-7. Click here to find out more, to see what other groups are organizing, and to get resources for organizing your own Israeli Apartheid Week actions and events.