Under international law apartheid is considered a crime against humanity. A UN report documenting Israeli practices of apartheid came under immediate attack after its publication earlier this year. US Ambassador Nikki Haley leveled furious and virulent denunciations of it at the UN, while the authors were smeared as anti-Semites in the media.
Caving into pressure, UN Secretary General Antionio Guterres removed the report from the UN’s website, prompting the resignation of Rima Khalaf, head of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, the UN agency that produced the report. All this happened back in March of this year. I put up a post about it at the time recounting the controversy and describing some of the malicious accusations being hurled, but other than a couple of brief quotes I did not get into the contents of the report itself.
Recently, however, the Christian website We Hold These Truths posted a two-part podcast featuring a discussion–not only on the attacks against the report, but also delving into the nuts and bolts of the report itself.
“What’s so amazing about all these ad hominem attacks is that no one is countering any of the facts that are presented in the report,” comments Craig Hansen, the guest on the program. “I’ve been looking and I can’t find any source debunking any of the claims asserted in the report. They just don’t like the conclusion that Israel is an apartheid state.”
Hansen’s own conclusion, after reading the entire 74-page report: that “the emperor has no clothes.” Or to put it another way, Israel now stands exposed as an apartheid state. The authors of the report, Richard Falk, a professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University and a former UN Special Rapporteur in the Middle East, and Virginia Tilley, a Professor of Political Science specializing in the comparative study of racial and ethnic conflict at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, have left no stone unturned. As Hansen describes it, they have examined Israeli policies, laws that have been enacted and put in place over its entire history, and they have assembled enough evidence probably to convict the Zionist state of the crime of apartheid in an international court of law. Their findings, conclusions, and recommendations are all documented in detail in the report, he notes, and he discusses what some of those conclusions are.
For one thing–and this probably accounts for why the report was hammered and denounced so vigorously–all UN-member states, because apartheid is a crime against humanity, have an obligation, not just a moral obligation but a legal obligation, to oppose and obstruct apartheid wherever in the world, and in whatever country or territory, it may be practiced. The implications are obvious. Had the report been left to stand it could have led to a situation in which every single UN member state would not only have been justified in imposing sanctions on Israel, but would have, at least in theory, been legally bound to do so. It would, in effect, have been the BDS movement on steroids.
Another interesting aspect of the program is how the report was treated by the Christian Broadcasting Network, described by Hansen (accurately) as a “Christian Zionist mouthpiece.” On March 15, the same day the report was published, the CBN posted an article headlined, “Haley Accuses UN of Demonizing Israel,” the tone of which lauds the US ambassador while describing Falk as being “known for accusing America and her Jewish ally of being colonial empires.”
Counting oneself a Christian, while at the same professing support for Israel, as I’ve noted before, are mutually incompatible. You can either be a follower of the man who said “blessed are the peacemakers” or you can support the apartheid state, but you cannot do both. Maybe the UN report will help make this more clear to people. My hope is that a Christian Zionist or two (or three) will read the report or at least listen to the podcast.
At any rate, part one of the podcast can be found here.
Part two is here.
You can also go here to visit the We Hold These Truths website, and here to access the full UN report, entitled “Israeli Practices Toward the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid,” in PDF form.