Many of the arguments against Israel are created by a handful of intellectuals and the message is carried forward by a network of activists. There are a group of Palestinians working directly with African American activists who reiterate a few major accusations, such as: Israel is an extension of American imperialism, a white-colonialist-apartheid state; and that the Israeli police teach the American police how to target African Americans. This article will focus on the claim that the Israeli military uses tactics designed to oppress the Palestinians, or people of color, which they teach to American police to use against the African American community. The claim is false; there is no relationship between the joint training of U.S. and Israeli police and any mistreatment of the African American community.
This essay is longer than the average blog in order to offer more information. My purpose is to: 1) expose the networks and the players, 2) explain their message, 3) refute their message. My hope is that learning about the authors behind the original arguments, people will be better equipped to refute their propaganda.
Background: A brief history of the African American divide on the issue of Israel.
The connection between Israel and the African American community has been conflicted. A majority of the African American community supported the creation of Israel. However, in the 1960s a rift began to develop, with a minority of the African American community siding with the Arabs, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), and attacking Zionism as racism. Still, the majority of the African American civil rights leaders sided with Israel, condemned the PLO as a terrorist organization, and praised Zionism as the liberation movement of the Jewish people.
Historically, the African American Church identified with Israel through the Bible. The African American Church saw a parallel to their own redemption in the story of the Israelite slaves being freed from Egypt and in Israel’s glorious return to Zion. Professor Melanie McAlister explained, “The connection that Black Christians felt with the Hebrew story extended into contemporary international politics. The establishment of modem Israel in 1948 was a source of enthusiasm and even inspiration for many African Americans: In 1947, Walter White, the Executive Director of the NAACP, had played a crucial role in lobbying African nations to vote for the UN resolution partitioning Palestine into Jewish and Arab areas… And in 1948, the NAACP passed a resolution stating that ‘the valiant struggle of the people of Israel for independence serves as an inspiration to all persecuted people throughout the world.’”
However, the Nation of Islam, founded in 1930, favored the Arab-Muslim world over the European-Christian world and Mecca over Zion. The Nation of Islam sought to create a separate African American territory, and an identity developed as part of their struggle for self-determination. To them, Zionism presented a contradiction: it was an ideal model of self-determination, yet the Nation of Islam aligned itself with the Arab Muslim world against Zionism.
In 1963, Malcolm X left the Nation of Islam, but his writing still displayed this same contradiction. In May of 1964, he argued, “Pan Africanism will do for people of African decent [sic] all over the world the same that Zionism has done for Jews all over the world.” A few months later, in September of 1964, Malcolm X published an article called, “Zionist Logic,” in the Egyptian Gazette, which set the future tone of African American criticism of Zionism. He argued that Israel was merely a new version of imperialism and colonialism. And, “The number one weapon of 20th century imperialism is zionist dollarism,” And, “The ever-scheming European imperialists wisely placed Israel where she could geographically divide the Arab world, infiltrate and sow the seed of dissension among African leaders and also divide the Africans against the Asians.” Malcolm X also met with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
American Jews were closely involved in the Civil Rights Movement, in 1961 nearly two-thirds of the Freedom Riders were Jewish. Paul Berman, in his book, “Blacks and Jews,” estimates that Jews provided one-half to three-quarters of the money received by civil-rights groups. At the same time, Jewish people constituted only 2% of the population. Yet, in 1966 Stokely Carmichael and the leaders of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) expelled white members from the organization. David Horowitz explained, “Since Jews were a near majority of the whites in these organizations, and had played a strategic role in organizing and funding the struggle, it was clear to everyone that they were the primary target of the assault.” After Israel won The 1967 War, the SNCC published a newsletter article which listed 32 “documented facts,” such as, “Zionists conquered the Arab homes and land through terror, force, and massacres.”
In 1970, the Committee of Black Americans for Truth in the Middle East published a letter in the New York Times titled, “An appeal by Black Americans against United States support of the Zionist government of Israel.” The letter said, “We are anti-Zionist and against the Zionist State of Israel, the outpost of American Imperialism.” And, “WE STATE that Israel, Rhodesia, and South Africa are three privileged white settler-states.” The Black Panther Party also sided with the Palestinians. Huey Newton stated, “We support the Palestinians just struggle for liberation one hundred percent.” Newton also attempted to connect the oppression of the African American community to wars waged by the US military abroad.
Angela Davis wrote, “In 1973, when I attended the World Festival of Youth and Students in Berlin (in the German Democratic Republic), I had the opportunity to meet Yasir Arafat, who always acknowledged the kinship of the Palestinian struggle and the Black freedom struggle in the United States.” In 1979, Jesse Jackson met with Yasser Arafat and the PLO. He condemned PLO violence, but he effectively blamed all the problems on Israel and sent a plea to Israel asking them not to, “impede the peace process.” In 1984, Dr. Robin Kelley wrote how, “as a first-year graduate student and chair of UCLA’s African Activists Association, I invited representatives of the PLO to participate in our fifth annual conference on imperialism.”
The legacy of describing the Arabs and the PLO as freedom fighters against imperialism is carried on by Professors Angela Davis, Robin Kelley, Cornel West, and Marc Lamont Hill. In addition, Rachel Gilmer, (who has an African American father and a Jewish mother), helped to craft the 2016 Black Lives Matter platform statement on Israel, which reads, “The U.S. justifies and advances the global war on terror via its alliance with Israel and is complicit in the genocide taking place against the Palestinian people.” The statement also called Israel an “apartheid state.”
On the other hand, the majority of the civil rights leaders fought directly to combat these criticisms of Israel and sided against the PLO. In 1968, when Israel was already being condemned for its “occupation” of the West Bank, Dr. King said, “I see Israel, and never mind saying it, as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world.” But it was Bayard Rustin and A. Philip Randolph, the founders of the March on Washington Movement, who took the lead in support for Israel. In 1975, the UN passed the infamous, “Zionism is Racism” resolution. In response, Rustin formed the Black Americans in Support of Israel Committee (BASIC). The same year, BASIC published a letter in The New York Times, which stated, “Zionism is not racism, but the legitimate expression of the Jewish people’s self determination… From our 400 year experience with slavery, segregation, and discrimination we know that Zionism is not racism.” The letter was signed by dozens of major leaders in the civil rights movement, and also declared the PLO a terrorist organization.
Former Black Panther member, Eldridge Cleaver, also changed his position and became supportive of Zionism. Cleaver responded to the UN resolution by exclaiming that he was, “Shocked because, of all the people in the world, the Jews have not only suffered particularly from racist persecution, they have done more than any other people to expose and condemn racism. Generations of Jewish social scientists and scholars have labored long and hard in every field of knowledge, from anthropology to psychology, to lay bare and refute all claims of racial inferiority and superiority. To condemn the Jewish survival doctrine of Zionism as racism is a travesty upon the truth.”
In 1979, Rustin published a letter in the New York Times, titled, “To Blacks: Condemn P.L.O. Terrorism.” Rustin stated, “The P.L.O., from the day of its creation in 1964, has never once uttered a word in support of any form of nonviolent resistance, peaceful relations between Israelis and Palestinians, or a political solution to the complex problems.” The same year, Rustin published another letter, in which he stated, “The PLO is a terrorist movement whose tactics are little different from those of America’s Ku Klux Klan.” In one interview, Rustin said, “It will be a crime for anyone, and especially for Blacks, not to support the just cause of Israel.” Dr. King’s heritage of praising Israel as a democracy and Bayard Rustin condemning the PLO as a terrorist organization is carried on by groups such as The Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel, which was founded by Pastor Dumisani Washington.
In exploring these two schools of thought, it is becomes clear that anyone who presents only one side on the subject is acting from a degree of bias. Nevertheless, these anti-Israel activists present only the tradition of those in the African American community who criticised Israel, as if it represents all of the African American narrative. Ironically, some, including Angela Davis and Robin Kelly, even quote Dr. King at anti-Israel events, which is like quoting Dr. King at a KKK rally. For example, In 2015, Angela Davis was chosen to deliver the keynote address at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. community celebration. In response, Pastor Washington wrote an article pointing out that Davis promotes the opposite message of Dr. King. He said, “One person who knows Dr. King’s position on Israel full well is avowed anti-Zionist and former Black Panther Party member, Angela Davis.” And, “Sadly, there is also no denying Ms. Davis’s anti-Zionist rhetoric and anti-Israel libel; the type of language Dr. King strongly denounced. So, having Angela Davis provide the keynote address at an event that purports to honor Martin Luther King is a bitter irony, and completely misguided.”
First Accusation: Israeli military and police use tactics to oppress Palestinians, or people of color, which they teach to the American police to help them target the African American community.
Professors Angela Davis, Robin Kelley, and Jasbir Puar take the lead in making this accusation. This allegation has grown in sophistication and developed into what Dr. Angela Davis calls, “A Movement.” In the summer of 2014, Eric Garner died in New York after being placed in a choke hold by police officers. A month later, Michael Brown was involved in an altercation with a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, which resulted in Brown being shot and killed, followed by massive protests. During the protests some activists created the slogan, “From Palestine to Ferguson.”
In the summer of 2014, after a decade of rocket fire from Hamas, Israel launched a defensive military campaign against Hamas in Gaza. In a lecture, Kelley explained, “The summer of 2014 was a crucial historical conjunction, which Black-Palestinian struggle both deepened and became more complicated.” We all witnessed, “on television the killings of Eric Garner… and Michael Brown… and we all saw how, you know, these killings were immediately linked to Israel’s latest war on Gaza. That activists drew connections between Israeli racialized state violence in the name of security, and US racialized state executions… In the role that Israeli companies and security forces played in arming and training US police departments.” And, “In the end, Black-Palestinian Solidarity is based on the principle of resisting injustice everywhere, and recognizing that the Zionist logic undergirding the founding and management of the state of Israel is based on racialization and colonial domination.”
In 2016, Davis published a book called, “Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement.” The book is a series of interviews conducted with Frank Barat, President of Palestine Legal Action Network. Davis explained, “I think we have to constantly make the connections. So that when we are engaged in the struggle against racial violence, in relation to Ferguson, Michael Brown, and New York, Eric Garner, we can’t forget the connections to Palestine.”
In Professor Jasbir Puar’s book, “The Right to Maim,” she argues that the Israeli military policy of shooting to maim instead of kill symbolizes keeping Palestinian society as a whole maimed or disabled. The very first sentence begins with, “The intensification of the writing of this book, and the formulation of ‘the right to maim,’ its most urgent political theoretical contribution, began the summer of 2014. This was the summer police shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the summer of Operation Protective Edge, the fifty one-day Israeli siege of Gaza. Organizers protesting these seemingly disparate events began drawing connections, tracing the material relationships between the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the militarization of police in Ferguson.”
So, within a few years there has been an attempt to create a “transnational” movement based on the claim that Israel’s mistreatment of the Palestinians leads to America’s mistreatment of the African American community, as well as to unjust practices all over the world.
Although one might expect that because America is the superpower, these activists would claim that America’s actions shape the policies of smaller countries. Instead, it appears to be the other way around: that there is a hierarchy of racist countries in the world, and that Israel is the most racist, followed by America. And that Israel’s practices in Gaza and the West Bank are taught to American police units so they can target black people. In fact, during the interviews in Davis’s book, Frank Barat states, “We often talk here about the reproduction of the occupation: what’s happening in Palestine is now reproduced in Europe, in the US, et cetera. It is important to make the link for people to understand how global the struggle is.”
Kelley believes that, “Israel has been practicing a form of apartheid since its inception.” He defines an apartheid state as, “a state based on racial or ethnic hierarchy, and (which) used state violence and detention to suppress opposition.” He states that the law which makes Israel an apartheid state, even within the 1967 Green Line, is this: “Under the Law of Return, Jews from anywhere in the world can obtain automatic citizenship and residency in Israel.”
In summation, according to Angela Davis, Robin Kelley, and Jasbir Puar, the Jewish State is uniquely racist because it is an ethnic state – the most racist state in the world; and because Israelis are so racist, they target Palestinians out of their disdain for another ethnic group, and teach these values and tactics to the Europeans and the Americans, which spreads to the whole world.
Incongruously, none of these activists ever seem to mention that the Arabs started the 1948 war which led to the creation of Palestinian refugees. Or, that the Arabs started the 1967 war which led to the so called “occupation.” Or, that the Israelis have repeatedly offered to end the occupation. Or, that the Israelis offered to give the Palestinians the first independent Arab state west of the Jordan River in 2000, 2001, and 2008. Or, that the terrorist attacks coming from Gaza and the West Bank have been like a series of destructive flash floods unleashed primarily on civilians. But none of this is factored into the analysis of these activists. Islamic imperialism and Palestinian terrorism are a non-existent factor when considering Israel’s security measures. Instead, all Israeli efforts toward self-defense are transformed into acts of racism.
The reality is that the US trains with perhaps half of the countries in the world and there is no reason to single out Israel.
The purpose of this blog is not to evaluate whether US police forces target African Americans. Rather, the goal is to take the claims made by these activists at face value, which is that the joint training between Israel and the US is an entirely distinct form of training from the other countries, targeting people of color. This claim can easily be dismissed as an anti-semitic canard.
The US has the most powerful military force in the world, and performs joint military and police training with as many as half the countries in the world, training to create tactics for the FBI, counter-terrorism, crowd control, and even daily police operations. It is completely arbitrary to claim that the skills developed from joint training with a single country, Israel, are designed for use against the African American population.
For example, the FBI National Academy Associates website has the following international conferences listed for 2018: Africa-Middle East: “This conference attracts over 90 FBINA graduate delegates, FBI personnel and guests from across Africa and the Middle East, the majority serving in senior positions within police departments, justice ministries, security services, border agencies and other relevant law enforcement organizations. Delegates also include those who have transitioned, holding senior positions in multi-national companies. Attendees represent over 30 countries.”
And Asia: “With over 220 senior law enforcement professionals expected to attend, including senior representatives from the Australian, Hong Kong, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, New Zealand, Philippines, Thai and United States police forces.” And Europe: “This conference attracts over 300 attendees from across 40 countries within Europe, the majority serving in senior positions within police departments.” And Latin America/the Caribbean:“This conference attracts over 100 FBINA graduate delegates, FBI personnel and guests from across Latin America and the Caribbean.”
There over 75 countries mentioned on the FBI website that perform joint police exercises with America. However, there is no special leadership conference listed as being hosted by Israel. In fact, the description for the 2018 conference covering all of the Middle East and Africa does not even mention Israel. The reality is that the US hosts these conferences with dozens and dozens of countries and combines all of the training to create tactics for law enforcement. The truth is that there is absolutely no demonstrable reason to single out one of these countries, Israel, and claim that it is any more responsible for police tactics than any other.
As for the charge that Israel trains the US military to profile people based on race or religion, the claim is completely false. The US trains with many countries which struggle against radical Islamist terrorism. For instance, during the Iraq War the LA times reported, “RAMADI, Iraq — As U.S. troops mount a concentrated effort to clear insurgents from Ramadi this summer, they have joined with Iraqi forces in a delicate campaign to flush fighters from a culturally sensitive haven: the city’s mosques. Not only are religious sites protected under international treaty, but Iraqis are particularly touchy about non-Muslims entering a mosque. Americans cannot search them without alienating the population they are trying to win over. But insurgents hide where U.S. forces do not go. Now U.S. troops have come up with a solution: using Iraqi police officers to enter the holy sites.”
Multiple European countries have been struggling with how to fight against radical Islamic terrorism. The US trains with France, and France has the largest Muslim population of any country in Europe. On November 13 2015, there were a series of coordinated terrorists attacks in France. In response, the French government released a massive campaign, which included 2,200 raids, more than 250 arrests, closing down three mosques, and expelling a number of Imams. Did Americans’ joint training with Iraqi forces and French police teach them how to target African Americans? Obviously not.
Davis, Kelley, and Puar should be able to defend their claims based on academic research and comparative data. For example, they should be expected to produce peer reviewed studies. These studies should include a comparative study of the differences among countries in their styles of joint training, a comparison of their different training manuals, methods of racial profiling, counter-terrorist tactics, raiding of Mosques, reports of abuse, crowd control tactics, and the differences in the daily operations of police officers. From comparative data they should be able to clearly demonstrate that training with Israel leads directly to racial abuse by the US police forces in a fashion distinct from the other countries. But none of this research exists, because the training with Israel is not qualitatively different from the type of training the US performs with dozens and dozens of countries. A cause and effect relationship between training with Israel and any instances of mistreatment of the African American community simply does not exist.
Seven contradictions which illustrate that these activists create links between different conflicts from the their own imagination.
First, Davis and Kelley argue that America is an imperialist country, and that Israel’s joint training is an extension of this imperialism. However, if they were consistent, they would argue that all the countries which ally with America are an extension of American imperialism, and that all countries not allied with America are fighting against imperialism. But, while listening to these activists, one would assume that the US only trains with Israel, and not with the Palestinians, and therefore, the Palestinians are uniquely targeted by a US-Israel alliance. However, the United States played a large role in the development of the Palestinian Authority’s military and police force, The Palestinian Authority Security Forces (PASF). The development of the PASF began after the 1993 signing of the Oslo Accords, with cooperation from the Israeli military.
Also, these activists do not make any distinction between the situation in the West Bank and Gaza, although the US trains with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, and it does not train with Hamas in Gaza. Why do these activists not condemn the Palestinian Authority as accomplices in American Imperialism?
Furthermore, if these activists were consistent, the most logical argument would be that joint training between US and Palestinian forces in the West Bank, as well as with Israel, leads to American imperialism in Gaza. This argument is not as surprising as it may sound, since quite a few Palestinians who live in the West Bank, as well as Hamas, have argued that the PASF is merely an American and Israeli subcontractor. In fact, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Dean McCoy wrote an article which assessed the joint training between the Palestinian Authority and the US, and he said, “In keeping the West Bank at a low boil, the PASF is often vilified by fellow Palestinians as ‘Israeli sub-contractors for security.’” McCoy also pointed out that the PASF maintains a delicate balancing act between the Israeli Defense Forces and the Palestinian people: “The PASF is placed between an aggressive IDF and a continuously angry Palestinian populace and must make both sides happy.” McCoy observed that, “Of all the security forces trained by the United States, the PASF is the most cosmopolitan in experience.”
Second, it should be mentioned that the US is aligned with 60 countries in the fight against ISIS. If these activists were correct, those 60 nations would all be agents of American Imperialism, and ISIS would be the entity fighting against American Imperialism. So, are these activists willing to argue that the 60 countries fighting against ISIS are morally wrong, and that ISIS is morally right? Are they willing to host pro-ISIS events?
Third, the claim that Israel targets “people of color” or “black and brown bodies” implies that all Jewish people are white Europeans. However, Jewish people are indigenous to the Middle East, many Jewish people, especially in Israel, look indistinguishable from the Palestinian people. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not a ‘white versus black’ racial conflict.
Fourth, these activists argue that the 2014 Gaza War waged by Israel was fundamentally due to racism against Arab-Palestinians. If the Gaza war was against Palestinians as a people, why did McCoy point out, “Unknown to most is the fact that during the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, the West Bank was quiet and stable.” In actuality, Hamas was firing thousands of rockets from Gaza, and Israel was defending itself. If Israel’s initiatives are primarily racist, why are Israeli Arabs increasingly volunteering to serve in the Israeli army? These Arabs highly value living as Israeli citizens and defending their nation in war.
Fifth, Davis and Kelley claim that Israel attacked Gaza in 2014 based on racialized state violence, which portrays Hamas as innocent victims. If their claim is true one would expect that Hamas is the polar opposite of Israel, which is why they ought to be defended. In 2006, the Palestinians freely elected Hamas. So, what does the Hamas Charter have to say about Jews? Article seven states, “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews, when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.” The Palestinians might be the only people in the world who freely elected a group to represent them which has an official charter calling for the religious genocide of another group of people. Clearly, Hamas is not the non-racist party in the conflict.
Sixth, the leadership in Gaza has been involved in the modern African slave trade. In 2014, Calev Myers, the Founder of the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, published an article in which he documented that Hamas belongs to a network of human traffickers in the Sinai Desert who kidnap African refugees on their way to Europe and Israel. The network has made, “an estimated 600 million dollars” from slaves and weapons stored in houses and deposits in the desert. The human rights organization, EveryOne Group, reported that Israel has been fighting to prevent Hamas from selling African slaves: “Israel bombed one of these deposits while the Mossad is constantly on the lookout for others. EveryOne Group has been reporting this close cooperation between Hamas… (and the) traffickers for years.”
So, various reports substantiate that Hamas was selling black people and using the money to buy rockets to fire at Israel. Palestinian leaders have been involved with the modern African slave trade, while Israel’s leaders are “constantly on the lookout” to stop Hamas from selling Africans. Yet, these activists want the African American community to defend Hamas and attack the people who were trying to stop the slave trade.
Seventh, connecting the death of Michael Brown and the War in Gaza, based on an intersectional view of racism, is wholly arbitrary. Every country in the world has police officers, every police officer carries a gun, and every country has controversial shootings. Michael Brown was in an altercation with a police officer in the middle of the United States, and these activists attempt to blame it on a country in the Middle East.
The death of Michael Brown is a sensitive subject, but some points can be made that show how far beyond the bounds of logic these activists have gone.The US trains with India. Would someone argue that America’s training with India caused the death of Michael Brown? To illustrate further, America trains with Poland. What if a group wanted to vilify the Polish people and could find a problematic example of the Polish police shooting someone, and then hosted anti-Poland events linking the police in Poland to the death of Michael Brown? One could make this same argument with any country. Simply choose a country and fabricate delusory reasons that link Israel with police incidents violating people of color.
In conclusion, the effort to depict Israel as the primary cause of racialized violence in the world is flawed because every conflict is contextualized by some mixture of nationality, ethnicity, and religion. Furthermore, the attempt to link Israel and the US in a unique alliance of racism is false because the links break down when one reviews the facts: America does the same type of training with the Palestinian Authority and numerous other countries. The US trains with police from perhaps as many as 75 countries; there is no demonstrable reason to single out one country, namely Israel, for denunciation. These activists invent fallacious links between different conflicts from their own imagination.
Davis and Kelley both support the PLO, so one would expect that the PLO is the polar opposite of Israel.
There is one major flaw in these activists’ claims that makes the accusations self-canceling. Both Davis and Kelley met with members of the PLO and defended them as a legitimate movement. At the same time, Kelley condemned Israel for being an ethnic Jewish state. He also condemned Israel as an apartheid state, due to the law of return which grants people with Jewish ancestry citizenship. One would assume that Kelley supported the PLO as if it were the polar opposite of Israel. However, the 1964 PLO Charter states, “Palestine is an Arab homeland bound by strong Arab national ties to the rest of the Arab Countries and which together form the great Arab homeland.” And, “Bringing up Palestinian youth in an Arab and nationalist manner is a fundamental national duty.” Palestine is a member of the Arab League, which has a goal to develop the, “interests of the Arab countries.”
According to the PLO charter, “The Palestinians are those Arab citizens who were living normally in Palestine up to 1947, whether they remained or were expelled. Every child who was born to a Palestinian Arab father after this date, whether in Palestine or outside, is a Palestinian.” The charter explicitly defines Palestine as an Arab ethnic state, and declares that a Palestinian can obtain citizenship based on blood, or having Palestinian ancestors. The PLO Charter has the same foundational principles as the state of Israel. This is actually not surprising, because the PLO Charter was intended to be the mirror image of Israel in order to cancel out Jewish self-determination.
Both Davis and Kelley advocate for the Palestinian Right of Return, which is the assertion that anyone who has Palestinian blood, or anyone who is the descendant of Palestinians has the right to citizenship in Israel. The principle of the Palestinian Right of Return was created as a mirror image of Israel’s Law of Return. The Palestinian Right of Return demands that descendants of Palestinians worldwide should be granted citizenship in Israel based on Palestinian ancestry. The Israeli Law of Return grants descendants of Jewish people citizenship in Israel based on Jewish ancestry. When Davis and Kelley advocate for the Palestinian Right of Return, they are advocating for a law which is an exact parallel of Israel’s Law of Return. Yet, Kelley condemns Israel’s Law of Return as a form of apartheid, while at the same time advocating for the same exact legal precedent to be enforced on behalf of the Palestinians. Ironically, according to Kelley’s own definitions, he is actually an advocate for apartheid.
Kelley condemns Israel for being an apartheid state because it is an ethnic Jewish state, based on having Jewish ancestry. But the Palestinian Authority, which self-identifies as an Arab state, is still rooted in the PLO Charter, and they grant citizenship based on having Palestinian ancestry. If Kelley were consistent, then he would condemn them both as examples of apartheid.
Lastly, the assertion that Israel is unique as an ethnic state is also false. The truth is that Israel is surrounded by 22 ethnic Arab states which form the Arab League. Yet, neither Kelley or Davis have ever uttered a word to the effect that ethnic Arab states ought to be erased from the planet.
In the end, Kelley’s entire argument could be flipped on its head: America is an imperialist country and trains with (the non-member state of) Palestine. Palestine is a member
of the Arab League, therefore an ethnic Arab state; Palestine bases the right to become a
citizen on having Palestinian ancestry, therefore Palestine is an apartheid state. The
Palestinian forces train with the Americans, so obviously the Palestinian forces must be training the American police on how to target African Americans. All of this is to demonstrate that the self-contradicting claims of these activists are created from their own imagination. Their claims are based on a soft version of the infamous anti-semitic canard that Jews spread evil to the rest of the world.
There is something sinister in the claims of these activists.
The logical outcome of Davis and Kelley’s argument seems to be that Israel is the most racist country in the world, and that Israelis teach the rest of the world how to be more racist. In fact, that is exactly the claim that Barat made during his interviews with Davis when he stated, “We often talk here about the reproduction of the occupation: what’s happening in Palestine is now reproduced in Europe, in the US, et cetera.” However, when this statement is examined, it simply means that evil starts with the Jewish people and then spreads to the rest of the world.
Even if one did not know a lot about the problems of racism in Israel, doesn’t this charge still seem overstated? There may be reasonable problems to discuss regarding the restrictions on the movement of Palestinians due to checkpoints, or similar issues, but can it unequivocally be stated that Israel is the most racist country in the world, and the primary agent of racism to the rest of the nations?
Actually, this claim is reminiscent of Malcolm X’s claim in his article, “Zionist Logic,” in which he argued that Zionist dollarism was the primary cause of all modern forms of imperialism. In fact, it seems that Kelley intentionally invoked the words of Malcolm X’s essay when he also used the words, “Zionist logic,” to describe Israel as being founded on racism. The blunt reality is that the claim is not just stretched, there is something sinister in this claim.
Not surprisingly, Hamas proposes a similar canard about Zionists. The Hamas Charter purports that the Zionist, “plan is embodied in the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion.’” In 1903, the Russian Empire published a nefarious book called, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” which told the myth that Jews ran the world and spread evil to the nations. The Hamas Charter states that the Zionists, “With their money they were able to control imperialistic countries and instigate them to colonize many countries.”
Unfortunately, the theories produced by Kelley and Davis sound more like “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” than reports made by human rights activists. Indeed, the belief that Jewish people are the primary source of evil in the world is not a claim that can be made by people concerned with fighting historical forms of racism. The blunt reality is that these activists cannot support their claims based on facts; there is something overtly discriminatory and anti-semitic about singling out Israel.