Response to the Jewish Review.

AUPHR had a protest of the recent inauguration of the Oregon Israel Business Assocation.  Former Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski has found his new career calling promoting Oregon business ties to Israel and was the keynote speaker at the event.

In a Jewish Review article entitled "Group backs Oregon-Israel business ties", reporter Paul Haist wrote:

During a question-and-answer period that followed Kulongoski’s formal remarks, two members of the audience asked political questions in which they vilified Israel as an “apartheid state,” in the words of one of the two, and accused Israel of human rights violations in regard to the Palestinians.

Political questions had been ruled out at the beginning of the program.

When the two individuals—including Peter Miller, the president of the Portland-based American United for Palestinain Rights—refused requests to decist, four uniformed security personnel ushered them from the room.

This is my response to that article:

RE: Letter to the Editor

Response to Jewish Review article

In response to Paul Haist's coverage of the Oregon Israel Business Alliance (OIBA) event in the recent Jewish Review, I have a few comments:

The apartheid label is used with respect to Israel because the description fits Israel's behavior.  Even Ehud Olmert warned that the death of a two-state solution, which we are witnessing, would lead to a South African style struggle for equal rights by Palestinians.  South African academics have researched Israel's behavior and concluded that Israel's actions in the West Bank and Gaza meet the international legal definitions of apartheid and colonialism, both illegal under international law.

No human being is illegitimate. Neither Israeli Jews nor Palestinians are illegitimate and both groups deserve to live with freedom, dignity, and security.  What is illegitimate is Israel's behavior: the unequal treatment, the taking of land and water from Palestinians, the demolition of Palestinian homes and expulsion of Palestinians from their homes, the demolition of Bedouin villages inside Israel itself, the degradation of the people of Gaza, and the pogroms and violence by Jewish settlers against defenseless Palestinians. Likewise, all violence against civilians whether by Israel or armed groups like Hamas is illegitimate. Israeli columnist Bradley Burston was told that many of Israel's career diplomats "feel that the government's policies are leading to unprecedented isolation and de-legitimization of Israel."

The young woman who spoke out at the OIBA meeting gave her personal eyewitness testimony describing Israeli settlers destroying the primary water well of a Palestinian village in the West Bank, filling it with cement, sand, and trash, while Israeli soldiers looked on and did nothing. This is the very description of an act of pogrom and should shock the conscience of anyone who wants to defend the weak and helpless against the powerful.

Even within Israel, discrimination against non-Jewish Israeli citizens is prevalent. Respondents to a recent Israeli survey showed that "83 per cent of Israeli businesses in the main professions admitted being opposed to hiring Arab graduates." A recent report by an Israeli parliamentary committee portrayed "massive under-representation of Arab citizens across most of the public sector, including in government companies and ministries, where the percentage of Arab staff typically falls below two percent of employees." Advancement in any profession is severely limited to Arab citizens of Israel as well as the ability to own land and get equal access to state resources and facilities.

Israel and its supporters continue to insist on ignoring, sugar coating, or defending these violations of Palestinian human rights and Israel's creation of facts on the ground. We will continue to speak out against these violations and against U.S. local, state and federal complicity with them.


Group backs Oregon-Israel business ties By PAUL HAIST

SA academic study finds that Israel is practicing apartheid and colonialism in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, HSRC, May 2009,

Apartheid in the Holy Land, Desmond Tutu, 29 April 2002,

Israel punishes itself, Nahum Barnea

" It’s hard to understand why the government chose to punish us further through settlement expansion. Why do the people who seek to turn Israel into an apartheid state, or alternately, into a state ruled by an Arab majority deserve this reward? Why does everyone else have to be punished?",7340,L-4042409,00.html

Former Foreign Ministry director-general Alon Liel told Army Radio last week that at this point, "more than half" of Israel's career diplomats disagree with the government's actions, and that many feel that the government's policies are leading to unprecedented isolation and de-legitimization of Israel. Bradley Burston

Arab Israeli barred from Public Sector, employment Affirmative action promises ignored by Jonathan Cook


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