Monday, October 14, 2013

Apartheid's IRON WALL

THE IRON WALL is a 2006 documentary film about the establishment of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which, the film argues, is a strategy for permanent occupation of the territory. Produced by the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees and Palestinians for Peace and Democracy, it was the "Official Selection" of the Al-Jazeera Television Production Festival and directed by Mohammed Alatar.
The film introduces the comparison between Israeli and the old Apartheid system of South Africa.  Of course, Joe Slovo said it much better than anyone else:
Within a few years the wars of consolidation and expansion began. Ironically enough, the horrors of the Holocaust became the rationalization for the preparation by Zionists of acts of genocide against the indigenous people of Palestine. Those of us who, in the years that were to follow, raised our voices publicly against the violent apartheid of the Israeli state were vilified by the Zionist press. It is ironic, too, that the Jew-haters in South Africa – those who worked and prayed for a Hitler victory – have been linked in close embrace with the rulers of Israel in a new axis based on racism.
(Today, of course, the Boer-Knesset Connection is forgotten, but in that time it was quite a a story to see the State of Israel and South Africa engaged in rocketry science exchanges, despite international protests.  This was just one of the many weird kissing couples of anti-Communist reactionary governments in the 1980's that congealed like curds in cottage cheese around Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.)
What is in fact ironic is the radical emancipatory role taken on by the Communist Parties of both Palestine and South Africa.  While the 1960's and '70's were defined in the West by Castro, Che, Mao, and Khruschev followed by the stagnation of Brezhnev and Deng Xioaping, the African parties took on a unique set of roles.  The South African Party was able to direct genuine efforts and organized campaigns in opposition to the Boers across racial and religious lines.  In Palestine, the Communist Party, most especially under Stalin, functioned as an ecumenical, majority-Christian body promoting the Soviet bi-national solution.  Ilan Pappe hypothesizes that some of this could have been due to the inherent tie felt by Orthodox Palestinians to the historical seat of the Moscow Patriarchate, something complimented by remembering Stalin re-opened the Churches throughout the War and saw the Orthodox clergy in a utilitarian fashion. In their own way, these parties were also extremely flawed; both were beholden to the 'Party Line' in Moscow, even supporting the destruction of the 'counter-revolutionary' Prague Spring and the hulking stupidity of the Afghanistan War.  However, the logic of Communism in emancipatory struggle, especially against oppressive regime policy tactics, is a logic that has long been notable.  As such, I figured perhaps their example from South Africa might provide some insights.

No comments:

Post a Comment