Friday, 26 November 2010

Mustafa Barghouti, BDS leader awarded France's highest honour (1)

To the dismay of many, Palestinian politician Mustafa Barghouti was awarded the Legion of Honor, the highest decoration in France, by outgoing Foreign Affairs Minister Bernard Kouchner, a friend of 25 years and "a resistant for the freedom and independence of Palestine". Mustafa Barghouti made his views of Israel and the United States (Europe seems to be OK for him) clear in an op-ed (05/04/2010) in the Financial Times entitled "Israel knows apartheid has no future". He argued that "apartheid is here" and that "notions of racial supremacy and colonization" are "antiquated". He is a leader of the the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement of which he has "spoken on many American and European campuses". He also accuses Israel of  "ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem".


"After decades of military rule over Palestinians and theft of our land, Israeli leaders are increasingly seeing the writing on the wall. [...]

Apartheid is here. There is one set of Israeli laws applied to Palestinians in the West Bank and another set applied to Jews in the West Bank. Israeli settlers live illegally in beautiful subsidized housing on stolen Palestinian land while we are relegated to smaller and smaller bantustans. [...]

Presidents and congressional leaders will always face opposition to US calls for constraining Israeli growth in the West Bank and East Jerusalem -- if not from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Zionist Organization of America then from the John Hagees of the Christian right. [...]

We are now in the early stages of a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) directed at this Israeli government for its refusal to abide by international law. Such action successfully overturned Jim Crow laws in the American South and apartheid in South Africa, and we are slowly applying it to Israeli occupation and apartheid. But until students seize on it with the same moral fervency as earlier generations did against Jim Crow and South African apartheid, we will achieve only marginal success.

That day of student engagement is coming. I have spoken on many American and European campuses and see change in the more diverse audiences I address today as opposed to 20 years ago. These young people, including many progressive Jewish activists, recognize that this is not a conflict between Arabs and Jews, but between universal conceptions of freedom and antiquated notions of racial supremacy and colonization. These audiences are on the road to endorsing the BDS campaign because they are aware that their political leaders are, with rare exceptions, unwilling to challenge Israel's subjugation of Palestinians.

American politicians may be the last to embrace our struggle -- be it the urgency of a truly sovereign Palestinian state side by side with Israel or one state with equal rights for all -- but the equation is shifting and their calculus will not always be towards knee-jerk support for Israel. Our moral case is too powerful."

Mustafa Barghouthi is secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council

- Acte ultime de Bernard Kouchner : remettre la Légion d’Honneur à Moustapha Barghouti, H. Keller-Lind
- There Could Never Be Peace Without a Minimum of Justice

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