Israel Today: The Other Apartheid

Against the Current, No. 1, January/February 1986

Israel Shahak

THE STRUGGLE for Palestinian rights, whether basic and individual rights or national rights did not begin yesterday. Whatever date we assume for its beginning, it is clear that it has continued now for decades.

Therefore, it seems to me that the first step we should all take today is self-criticism. It is not only the power and the cleverness of the oppressors which caused the neglect, here in the U.S.A., of the most basic human rights of the Palestinians, but also the mistakes and especially the relative lack of self-criticism displayed for a long time by many who have tried to defend the rights of Palestinians.

Justice and effectiveness, ideals and techniques are very different concepts, but for achieving justice (at least to some extent) and for a partial realization of ideals, effectiveness and correct techniques adapted to a particular situation are necessary. Without them the struggle for the most just cause will not make any progress.

Therefore, I will begin with a discussion of three sets of conditions which are in my opinion necessary in order to wage a successful struggle, here in the United States, in support of the just rights of Palestinians.

First, we should remember that in this country there are many enemies of Palestinians and their rights. Those enemies are powerful, at present more powerful than we are, as happens frequently in struggles for justice. We compete with them for public opinion.

In such a situation perfect accuracy in all details of what we say is the first and the most necessary requirement of our struggle. One technique of our enemies is well known, and in this technique they are very proficient: to find one single error or exaggeration in what we are saying and to use this in order to damn everything.

We should be determined to be perfectly accurate, and in fact there is no need for any exaggeration. The reality of conquest, of discrimination and of brutality is grim enough as it is.

But accuracy by itself is not enough. We should as the second necessary step think about the people whom we are addressing (I mean the American people) and try to imagine their situation and consequently their reactions: what under the best possible social circumstances they can be expected to do or not to do.

Let me begin with what cannot be expected. We cannot expect and therefore we should not hope that the average concerned American, interested in justice and in human rights and willing to oppose his own government and the majority public opinion of his country, will devote most of his spare time to defending the just rights of Palestinians.

His or her time is and will be limited by the urgency of other just struggles. Need I mention South Africa and what is happening there? And there are many other just struggles in the world.

The hope of many Palestinians, to turn a significant number of Americans into a sort of honorary Palestinians who will be intimately engaged in the struggle for Palestinian rights in all its aspects, cannot be realized and is therefore delusive and harmful.

It is also not necessary. A victory, even a partial victory, on a few basic issues is quite enough for the beginning of the right sort of process in this country.

For example, if it could be established, in the minds of at least a significant minority of Americans, that Israel practices apartheid in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and to a smaller but still very significant degree in Israel itself, how it would change the present situation?

This leads me to the final and the most crucial set of conditions which are necessary in order to bring the just cause of the Palestinians before an American or generally a Western public. We have not only to be accurate and imaginative, but also simply to explain those things which seem obvious to us in terms derived from the common experience (or lack of it) of people of this country.

Let me illustrate this last point, and indeed the whole case, by discussing with you one of the greatest abominations of the Israeli occupation regime, namely the collective punishment through the destruction of their houses of families of those accused of crimes. How should this be presented to Americans?

First, we should bear in mind that such “cruel and unnatural” punishment is unknown and unheard of here for many generations. Certainly murder, in all its forms, including very vicious ones, is well known in America, and there is no need to cite particular examples. Yet has any house of an American murderer been destroyed and his innocent family punished?

Or to take this into the next stage of absurdity: “You should imagine,” we should say to an average concerned American, “a situation in which the family of one kind of a murderer would be punished and the other would not.”

Or perhaps we should be even more explicit. What would an average American say, had it been proposed in the U.S.A. that the house of a Jewish American citizen be destroyed, when that person is arrested on suspicion of murder, and the house of a non-Jewish American citizen be left intact in the same circumstances? And what would he or she say, had the advocates of such a horrifying proposal (horrifying in the U.S., that is) tried to justify it by saying that “Jews are different” or that “our experts” or even “our academic experts” who have “investigated” them and “discovered” their supposed nature assure us that this is “the only way to deal with them”?

We should expect an answer that this a clear case of anti-semitism, one form of racism. Then we can go on and say that this is exactly what the Israeli regime does in Occupied Territories, but to Palestinians. In the case of the most horrifying murders committed by the Jewish settlers there is no punishment of families, no houses are destroyed, no babies thrown into the street, no pseudo academic experts pronounce that this is necessary. In the case of Palestinians all this happens, openly and immediately, on arrest. The conclusion which can follow is that the State of Israel is tyrannical in its attitude to Palestinians, and that America’s unconditional support of such tyranny is wrong.

In this light I will present to you some instances of violation of the basic rights of Palestinians. I will limit myself to such cases which, as I said before, admit of absolute accuracy (and can in fact be easily proven from Israeli sources) and which can be easily understood by an average American with some good will as conflicting with the most basic and the most universal standards of justice.


The first and in my opm10n the most important injustice done to Palestinians is the double injustice committed in regard to the land. First came the theft of the land, and then the continuous system of discrimination amounting to apartheid regulating the use of the land which was confiscated.

Although I was and am very active in research and compilation of facts regarding the robbery of Palestinian land-for example I compiled, many years ago, the first comprehensive list of the destroyed Palestinian villages and drew attention to the fact of their complete destruction, which even included in most cases their religious centers and cemeteries-I want to call attention here to the apartheid of the present and not to the robbery of the past, for reasons which I will explain further.

Let us ask ourselves a simple question about land which was confiscated by the Israeli conquering authorities in the West Bank and Gaza, a question which will clarify the issue, especially for the benefit of an American audience. What is the intended use of the land, after it has been confiscated?

After all, many governments do confiscate or acquire in various ways, not all of them very honest, land which then becomes public property, or as it is called here “Federal land.” For example, I have been informed that 99 % of Alaska is Federal land and huge areas of the U.S. have been, or are still in the same category. We will not inquire for the present how the Federal land of the U.S. became such, but once it did, it is by the American Constitution supposed to be used for the benefit of all American citizens without discrimination.

In the Israeli-Occupied Territories the situation is exactly reversed: The land which has been confiscated, by whatever legal subterfuge, is openly and officially devoted to the use of Jews only, for the sole reason that they are Jews.

Again, accuracy in the use of terms and of descriptions is important. The confiscated land is not officially designated for the use of Israeli citizens, for about 15% of Israeli citizens are Palestinians. It is devoted to the use of Jews, whether they are citizens of Israel, or of the U.S. or of any other state.

Let us assume for a moment that the American government restricted the Federal land in Alaska to the use of Christians only and while excluding American citizens of other religions, Jews for example, it invited foreign Christians to settle in Alaska only because they are Christians. There is no doubt that in such a case, or even in the case of such a proposal being made, many organizations in this country would very properly call it antisemitism.

Antisemitism is one of the many forms of racism, and the racist policy practiced by the Israeli government with regard to the use of land, which it had unjustly confiscated, is also another form of racism, parallel to and as wicked as the worst form of antisemitism.

An even better comparison can be found with apartheid with regard to the land in South Africa. What does the infamous system of South African apartheid amount to in principle? It amounts to a declaration by the government that certain areas of land will be open only to a particular kind of human being, for their exclusive benefit, and closed to others (and, by the way, that immigration policy will be formulated accordingly).

We should mention in this connection that more than half the land of the West Bank has already been confiscated, and about 40% of the land in Gaza. They have been converted into a closed domain ruled by racist regulation, which puts the Palestinians in exactly the same situation as the Blacks under the South African regime. Like Black South Africans, Palestinians are excluded by law, a racist unjust law, from living on a huge proportion of their land.

A very similar situation with regard to the use of land obtains inside Israel as well. More than 90% of the land of Israel belongs to or is administered by the Israel Land Authority. This land is not administered for the benefit of Israeli citizens. It is administered exclusively for the benefit of Jews only, again whether Israeli or American or from any other country, to the total exclusion of all Palestinians and all non-Jews.

It is also administered in conjunction with the so-called Jewish National Fund, a branch of the World Zionist Organization, which many years ago invented this racist rule with regard to the use of land. It is a very important fact, to be mentioned in the U.S. at every opportunity, that this racist organization is regarded as a prestigious charity in America. Not only are donations for this form of apartheid tax deductible in the U.S., but its celebrations and meetings in the framework of the United Jewish Appeal, of which it is a part, are patronized by many important American politicians.

But the Israeli organization which has achieved both the greatest fame and popularity in the U.S. and also practices the greatest degree of racist exclusion, is no doubt the kibbutz. In this regard there is a very characteristic gap between the mainstream of Israeli Jewish opinion and almost the whole American public: the majority of Israelis have been aware of the racist character of the kibbutz as displayed not only against Palestinians, but against all human being who are not Jews, for quite a long time.

Incidentally, this came out first because the largest kibbutz movement, called the United Kibbutz Movement, is even more anti-Christian than it is anti-Arab. Since non­Jews cannot become kibbutz members because of its official exclusive character, the kibbutzim now employ many temporary workers under the misleading name of “volunteers.” Naturally, romantic love blooms between young men and women under these conditions, in spite of all official discouragement.

The Christian partners had to be forced to convert to Judaism, since without such conversion they could not become members of a kibbutz. A special school for such conversions was set up in kibbutz Sa’ad. The Hebrew press reported some years ago that the Christian candidates for kibbutz membership through conversion have to promise to spit in the future when passing before a church or a cross.

I regard it as natural, although regrettable, that the American media did not mention this interesting story. However, we can all imagine how much the American media, not to mention the present American administration, would say had spitting before churches or crosses been required in certain other countries.

This is exactly the point I want to make: we should give average Americans such examples of hateful discriminatory practices by institutions which are rightly taken to represent Israel and the whole Zionist movement. These examples can be understood in terms of Americans’ own customs and daily experiences. There is no doubt that at present the obligation of spitting before a church as a condition now for an average American woman to become a member of a kibbutz will shock an average American more than the fact that the same kibbutz sits on Palestinian land stolen nearly forty years ago.

As another example of different attitudes in Israel and in the U.S. toward the kibbutz, and the use to which they can be put in the U.5., I want to quote another little exchange about kibbutz. This happened very recently, at the end of July 1985.

After the proposal made by the settlement Kiryat Arba to add to its usual racism a resolution (afterwards formally revoked) to dismiss all Palestinian workers employed by it in such jobs as garbage removal, one of their opponents, professor Asa Kasher responded. He pointed out the resolution’s Nazi-like character, and recommended that the name Kiryat Arba be changed to “Town of Nuremberg” (kiryat meaning town in Hebrew) after that German city where the Nazis passed their anti-Jewish legislation, and where the Nazi war criminals were tried later.

However, he was answered in the prestigious Hebrew weekly Koteret Rashit that all the kibbutzim are as racist as Kiryat Arba. Since it is an Israeli habit to mix poetry with politics (as it is also in the Arab world) the answer to Asa Kasher was made in a poem. I will give you a very prosaic translation:

“Don’t go to Town of Nuremberg, Asa Kasher. Come with me to Kibbutz ‘the Field of Fuehrer,’ and there with the Jewish members we will check if there is there even one Arab member. It will be simple and not difficult. Let us ask one of the waiting Arab workers whom they despise to go out, and check in their office. No one, not one Arab member, Asa Kasher. Not one would be found. For the kibbutzim which could be called ‘Fields of Fuehrer’ or ‘Furrow of Stirmer’ are as they could have said in German ‘Araber Rein’ Clean of Arabs,’ all of them have not one Arab member … “

I am elaborating this example for two reasons. One is to illustrate the extent of the polarization of Israeli Jewish society, which has permitted the facts to be reported accurately to an extent which is difficult to imagine in the U.S. The other is to illustrate to you the use of Israeli sources in an American context.

The weekly Koteret Rashit, from which I quoted this correct comparison of kibbutz with Nazi institutions, is not a marginal but a mainstream publication, actually supportive of the Labor Party and the present government on most strictly political issues. Its position inside Israel could be compared to Newsweek in the U.S.

Now as I stated at the beginning, we are faced in the U.S. with powerful enemies, and one of their more hateful but also more effective weapons is to make an accusation of antisemitism, or in the case of Jews of something called self-hatred, against those whom they especially hate.

The use of Israeli mainstream sources defeats this type of slander, since to accuse the most popular media in Israel of either antisemitism or self-hatred involves a glaring contradiction.

Let me quote somewhat extensively from the proceedings of the official “committee for the evaluation of land policies” as published by the monthly Monitin in March 1983. The committee was chaired by Dr. Amnon Goldenberg, then the chairman of the Israeli Bar Association and the close friend and helper of Ariel Sharon.

The official task of the committee was to examine the aims of Israeli land policy, of allocating land for housing and recommending laws governing the work of the Israel Land Authority. The members of the committee were all Jews, as is usual.

First come some official definitions and aims. Meir Shamir, Director of the Israeli Land Authority: “We have a definition and the aim is that any Jew in the world can become an Israeli citizen.” But the definition for the Arab citizens is quite different and he declares: “Our assumption is that, at least at present, the mixed town in which Jews and Arabs live is not the way to live.”

The present Israeli minister of agriculture, Arieh Nahamkin, responds to this: “It should not be encouraged.” The reason, as “explained” by another “expert,” Gur Arieh, then the Advisor to the Prime Minister on Arab Affairs, is that “if you let the Arab into the Jewish towns which have difficulties … you prevent the Jews in those towns from dominating the employment possibilities.” Meir Shamir declared further: “We have been operating according to a government consensus on this issue. All the time. I am not authorized to tell you whether there is any such government decision written down anywhere. But I can tell you from present knowledge that in any case these are the guidelines we have received not to encourage mixed areas of housing.”

.The chairman stopped the questions of the committee members at this point so it could not be established who issued the official guidelines. But I want to make an important point which emerged from the discussion: most of the vicious proposals which are aimed at tightening even more the official apartheid system came from a sector of the Israeli Labor Party notorious for its racist attitudes.

For example, the mayor of Upper Nazareth, Menachem Ari’av, proposed that the same apartheid rules governing state land should also be applied to private property. He proposed that a law be passed to empower the Israeli Land Authority to exercise first option in all sales of real property, houses, flats or land. Then if a Jew attempted to sell his house to an Arab, or to an American citizen who is not a Jew, such a sale could be legally prevented and the owner compelled to sell to the Israeli Land Authority. As his precedent for such a proposal Ari’av gave, actually, the rules of kibbutz membership mentioned above.

I will end my discussion of apartheid with only two quotations and two conclusions. The first is simply the translation of an official form distributed by the racist municipality of Upper Nazareth (whose mayor I have quoted above) to all the Jewish flat and house owners, to be signed: “We, those who sign below, dwellers in Block No contract by this not to sell a flat to any member of minorities (a polite expression used about Arabs) except if they have served in the security forces such as police, army, border guards. Every flat owner who will break this decision will have to pay a sum of 50,000 Shekels to the other flat owners of the house.”

The second quotation comes from Dr. Goldenberg: “It seems that some sort of official consensus has been reached that we should try to prevent Arabs from dwelling inside the Jewish sector in Israel. If this will be accepted, I will be ashamed to be a citizen of this state.”

The two conclusions from my short description of the official apartheid in the Occupied Territories and in Israel are first, a regime of apartheid does exist and its existence can be proven by citing examples that the average person can understand from daily experience. For this very necessary proof, officially supported bans against selling a few flats now are more important here as an example of Israeli practices than all the villages destroyed thirty­seven years ago.

In the same way, the official creation of dwelling zones and the barring of people, simply because of their descent, from dwelling in a part of town were not so long ago burning questions in many American cities, and still remain so to a great extent. People who oppose racism in the U.S., people who fight against apartheid in South Africa will recognize the similarity at once and be influenced accordingly.

Furthermore, to those examples of official apartheid there is no easy answer, because they are official, because they are indeed central to the manner in which the state of Israel conducts itself all the time.

The second conclusion which I draw is equally important, both by itself and in the American setting. I used a quote, and did so on purpose, showing a friend of Ariel Sharon, Dr. Amnon Goldenberg, to be more opposed to certain glaring aspects of apartheid than many quite typical representatives of the Israeli Labor Party, such as the mayor of Upper Nazareth. Many more examples of similar attitudes could be given. After all, the main framework of the system of discrimination was erected during the long years of rule by the Labor Party.

I do not emphasize this in order to indulge in generalizations or slogans, but on the contrary in order to draw your attention to the complexity of the situation and to the necessity for paying attention to details. It is by knowing the immediate situation as it affects human beings that we can combat illusions. One of the most dangerous illusions prevalent in the U.S. is that one can blame everything either on Sharon or Begin or on Likud (the main right-wing coalition) in general.

Exactly such details give us the power to weaken, and by persistence to shake, the illusion of the “well meaning” and “peace seeking” Israeli parties which are really the opposite of what they claim.

The Israeli Occupation Regime

For more than eighteen years the occupation regime in the West Bank and Gaza (and also the Golan Heights and in practice some parts of southern Lebanon) has become worse and more oppressive as time passes. Indeed, one of the more important aspects of this regime is that it has been worse and more totalitarian in its impact on all aspects of daily life than all the previous regimes, including that of the Ottoman Empire.

I frequently make the point that the Ottoman Turkish regime, of for example the year 1905, was beyond any comparison more liberal than the Israeli occupation regime of 1985. In fact, there are few, if any, regimes existing now which so control all aspects of the life of the population as the occupation regime of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.

I will begin with the most important human right: the right of freedom of expression. Incidentally many Americans support this freedom in other countries but remain silent about it when it is denied to Palestinians.

A strict and total censorship is imposed on everything and prevents the publication of anything which the censors disapprove. This censorship is applied to the Arabic press of the occupied territories and is quite separate from the situation in Israel itself.

To give you a few examples: All crosswords in the newspapers have to be submitted to censorship, lest a word such as “homeland” appear in them. All mourning announcements in the press are likewise censored, and quite recently an Arabic paper in East Jerusalem, A-Sha’ab, was closed for three days, together with the printing shop whose sole offense was that it prints the paper, for the “crime” of publishing an ad mourning the death of two Palestinians.

The censorship of the news and of the expressions of opinion simply has no limits as to what can be prohibited. It is sufficient to state, by way of example, that most of the news about brutalities committed by the occupation forces is freely published in the Hebrew press, but even translations of such items from Hebrew are frequently prohibited in the occupied territories. Likewise prohibited is the indication that censorship took place by leaving white spaces in articles mutilated by the censors.

A whole system of prohibitions applies to everything that the censor can label as a “national symbol.” It applies not only to works of art such as pictures, but even to the combination of colors. Not only is the Palestinian flag strictly banned both in the Occupied Territories and in Israel, but in the territories any combination of the four colors of the flag, namely red, green, black and white, is also prohibited.

An actual example of this prohibition is seen in a painting of a girl lying on the ground surrounded by flowers. This painting was banned when the sharp eye of the censor detected that some of the flowers were red with green leaves, and some were made black in surrealistic style. There were also white spaces; a clear case of terror in the opinion of the occupation regime!

There was also a case of a textile shop in East Jerusalem which was observed to the horror of the guardians of law and order, to display shirts of the four colors in close proximity. It was ordered not to do this anymore.

But out of literally thousands of examples, I will choose, to save time, only one other: When a new house was finished in the town of El Bireh, a big cake was ordered for the party celebrating its completion. However, the military governor heard that this cake was coated with icing of the four prohibited colors. He therefore sent an officer to the party, and the cake was solemnly confiscated.

One could say: what is the confiscation of a cake in comparison with police brutality, with tortures, with many other crimes which cause a much greater amount of pain? My answer is twofold. First, the confiscation of the cake in the prohibited four colors can illustrate much better to the inhabitant of the U.S. the qualitative difference between what the Israeli occupation regime does to Palestinians and what the most brutal police force in the U.S. can do.

Police brutality happens everywhere, but in the Occupied Territories one has much more of it than in most other places. In other words, the difference is also quantitative. But no American police authority has the power to enter a private house and to confiscate a cake, order a shop to display shirts in a different manner or to censor a crossword puzzle. An ordinary person faced persistently with such examples will come, must come, to the conclusion that a regime which does such things is a tyranny.

Of course, in such a system there is nothing like freedom of congregation, of non-violent demonstrations or of formation of parties. Even the attempts to arrange such meetings in East Jerusalem are often defeated by the exercise of tyrannical “emergency powers.”

At least twice this summer Palestinians wanted to have a meeting in so-called “United Jerusalem,” in the hall which usually serves the “Al Hakawati” theater. Before they could meet, the regional commander of the area simply issued an order closing the whole building for three days.

Such orders are never issued against theatres or other halls in Western Jerusalem. This is exactly the meaning of apartheid: that the behavior of the state towards different groups of humans should be as different as possible!

Many other examples of official apartheid policy in the Occupied Territories can be mentioned and documented. I will not try to mention even a small fraction of them, but I will mention some. They will leave no doubt that the apartheid regime in the Occupied Territories is actually worse than apartheid in South Africa both in intentions and in actuality.

Let me begin with the base of every system of law and order: courts and police. The Arab civil courts of the West Bank and Gaza (in spite of the fact that all the judges are nominated by the Israeli Military Government) do not have any legal powers with regard to any Jews. This applies especially to the settlers of course, but also to all other Jews including American ones, even in the case of traffic offenses.

Jews living in or passing through the West Bank cannot even be stopped by the local Israeli-commanded police. If a settler simply steals by force a piece of land belonging to a Palestinian and the local court issues an injunction, the injunction has no legal power and the robbery can continue. In a similar way, enormous areas of the West Bank have been put under the municipal rule of the Jewish “local councils” which have the power to give or refuse permits for the building of houses.

In more general ways, by 1970, the municipal rights of all local municipalities and councils, rights established by the Ottoman Empire and retained, for the most part, by the British and Jordanian regimes, were abolished. From that date no village or town in the West Bank has been allowed to issue permits for the building of new houses, and recently even for the addition of a room to an existing house.

In similar fashion, all Palestinian agriculture is strictly controlled. All water pumps, even the smallest, need a special permit for a single spare part to be replaced. The amount of water being pumped is fixed at the level of 1967, while the settlers enjoy the almost unlimited right to pump water.

Even equipment for hospitals donated from abroad, from the U.S. as well as from other countries, needs a special permit. This is very often denied, and in a situation in which the whole health care system for Palestinians in the Occupied Territories has deteriorated shamefully.


I don’t want to multiply examples of oppression and discrimination inflicted on Palestinians in Israel, and in a much worse and more comprehensive way in the Occupied Territories. Volumes of print would be insufficient. Indeed, I would be capable of speaking to you for a week on this subject.

I am omitting many aspects and horrors of the situation in order to finish with some thoughts about a better way of struggling for Palestinian human rights in the future. In this we should be inspired by and imitate other struggles for human rights and national rights of the last thirty or forty years, many of which achieved success in difficult situations.

Perhaps it would be well to remind ourselves that here in America, thirty one years ago in 1954, a struggle began in Montgomery, Alabama for the right of Blacks to sit in any seat on a public bus, and it took many years of struggle to achieve this right. When I visited the U.S. for the first time in 1961-1963 I saw many restaurants quite close to Washington, D.C. on which were written “No Blacks; No dogs” or even worse slogans.

We have to learn from that struggle and others the methods of action. I think that the first and the most necessary thing which has not yet been done, and which should be done in order to achieve the measure of success which is possible, is to recognize the importance of correct, detailed and up-to-date information.

After all, this is the country which began the computer revolution symbolized by Silicon Valley. Where is the computer center in which the information on the oppression of the Palestinians will be stored and made available? Where is, in this country (or in any other place), a group of people who will have at their fingertips all the relevant facts of describing what happens to Palestinians in Palestine, right now, or in the last year?

In plain language, most of those means for carrying out any fruitful struggle are absent. The honest recognition of the mistakes and the oversights of the past should bring us to change them for the better in the future.

Secondly, we need a system of priorities adapted to conditions of this country or any other where we struggle for the recognition of the rights of Palestinians. It is a part of recognizing the plurality and equality of different cultures, to see that the styles of discourse and consequently of political action differ from one to another.

The complaint frequently made against the American establishment, that it wants to impose its own style and customs, is correct in most cases. But it is equally true that it is stupid and self-defeating to operate in the U.S. in a manner foreign to it, and this country is very necessary for our common cause to win, or even to change our situation for the better.

If we want to explain and to prove to a significant number of Americans that the enormous support, financial and political, which the U.S. gives to the State of Israel serves to help a regime of discrimination and tyranny, we have to prove it to them in an American way, in a way which they, or at least the better part of them, can understand. We can do it if we think about this problem, for a problem it is, in a rational way which must involve considerable self-criticism for what was or was not done in the past.

Finally, I want to end by telling you something which can be both inspiring and discouraging. To have justice on one’s side is not enough in order to win the struggle for justice, or even to make progress toward this aim.

To have right on one’s side does not absolve the participants in a struggle for achieving justice from the necessity to be as effective as possible in that struggle. This means also to see the situation as it is, and to weigh rationally the means to be chosen in order to change it for the better.

The struggle against the oppression and discrimination against Palestinians is a just cause, one of the most just and most urgent of this century. If we know how to struggle for it, and have the persistence to continue, we have a good chance of winning it. My optimism is supported by the fact that the case presented by the friends and the supporters of this oppression is based on distortions, exaggerations and falsehood under which plain racism is lurking.

Our task is to defeat the falsehood by showing people the truth, to dispel the darkness by throwing light on the situation and thus to expose the real forces which support the oppression of Palestinians for what they are: the forces of racism and apartheid.

If we succeed in this first necessary stage, and I hope that we will, the rest is only a matter of time and of further effort, for nothing comes easily; no real victory can be won by diplomacy alone, without a real, effective popular struggle. Let us hope for the sake of all humanity that the Palestinian Human Rights Campaign will be able to lead and to win such a struggle towards a victory, and that the cause of other oppressed people of the world will also win as soon as possible.

January-February 1986, ATC 1

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