Chapter 4

Facilitator Instructions

Research and bring to class the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid New York, 1973, Article II

available here

For Discussion

1. Personal impact:  Spend a few moments looking back at the photo on p. 23 of Nelson Mandela and his quote, “Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”  

  • Why do you think Mandela made this claim?  
  • The term apartheid carries many connotations for people. It’s a powerful word, central to the articles in Chapter 4. How do you define apartheid?  
  • Invite the group to share its answers as each wishes, writing them on newsprint or a whiteboard.
  • Discuss: Ask participants to compare what has been recorded with the UN Convention on Apartheid.

2. Discuss in pairs:  In Jonathan Cook’s article, he uses the term “hierarchy of rights” to describe how Israeli laws and rights for Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs are structured and applied. “So if there is a conflict between a Jew’s national right and a Palestinian’s individual citizenship right, the Jewish national right will invariably be given priority by officials and the courts.” (p. 47) 

  • In what ways do some of these citizenship and national rights come into conflict? 
  • How does prioritizing Jewish national rights over citizenship rights affect your thinking about whether or not Israel's claim to being a democracy is valid.

3. Small group: Joseph Getzoff and Harry Gunkel explore the experiences of the Palestinian Bedouin communities, both in Israel and the occupied territories. 

  • Gunkel writes, “Ancient nomadic people, the Bedouin are among the indigenous of historical Palestine and, like their brethren, are targets of Israeli efforts to displace and dispossess them. (p.56) 
  • Getzoff describes the Israeli planning solutions for the Bedouin lands and culture to be “regularization” and “urbanization”, which he describes as efforts to push Bedouin onto small plots of farmland and destroy their nomadic agrarian culture. 
  • How do the experiences of dispossession of Umm al-Hiran and the South Hebron Hills demonstrate the Israeli “planning” related to Bedouin communities? 
  • What issues stand out most for you?

4. Whole group: Ahmed Tibi, a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset, challenges the world to see that Israel is  “an apartheid power that rules over millions of Palestinians...without granting them any rights and that systematically discriminates against its non-Jewish citizens.” (p.54) 

  • The authors in this chapter discuss wide-ranging issues such as land and water claims, settlements, segregation of communities, displacement planning, restricted political participation, waste management, replacement of Arab names with Hebrew ones, and unequal access to legal recourse as reflections of various kinds of apartheid policies in Israel. 
    • What is their analysis?
    • Is this analysis compatible with your perspective?  Why or why not? 
    • Which issues would you want to know more about? What made those important to you?