Paul Fletcher, Australian Federal Minister for the Arts, in an article entitled “Festival boycott the futile work of ‘useful idiots’” (The Australian, 21/1/2022) falsely stated: “When Australians look at Israel, what they see is the only multi-party democracy in the Middle East – not an “apartheid state””.
(1). Notwithstanding a century-long Palestinian Genocide ( 0.1 million violent deaths, over 2 million avoidable deaths from deprivation, 0.8 million expelled in 1948, 0.4 million expelled in 1967, and 8 million Exiled Palestinians today), 7.1 million disempowered Indigenous Palestinians today represent 50% of the 14.2 million subjects of Israel, and the ruling Jewish Israelis represent 47%.
(2). The 5.2 million Occupied Palestinians represent 73% of the 7.1 million Indigenous Palestinian subjects of Israel but are excluded from voting for the government ruling them i.e. they are subject to Apartheid as defined by the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, and as perceived by Israeli B’Tselem, the US-based Human Rights Watch, non-Jewish and Jewish heroes in the fight against apartheid in South Africa (notably Nelson Mandela , Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Ronnie Kasrils) and even by Dr Hendrik Verwoerd, the architect of apartheid in South Africa.
(3). The “lucky” 1.9 million Palestinian Israelis can vote for the government ruling them but are subject to 65 race-based discriminatory laws. The Israeli Knesset recently rejected a bill proposing equal rights for Palestinian Israelis. While Israel is a genocidally racist Apartheid state, non-racist democracies with parliamentary elections in the Middle East include Algeria, Tunisia, Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Iran.
The Australian is obliged to correct false claims. Further, Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu re responses to Israeli and South African Apartheid: “Those who turn a blind eye to injustice actually perpetuate injustice. If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
Those who support Apartheid Israel and hence Apartheid are unfit for public life in one-person-one-vote democracies like Australia. Decent folk are obliged to apply Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) not just against Apartheid Israel but against all people, politicians, parties, collectives, corporations and countries supporting this racist rogue state.