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Hussam has been a lifelong human rights activist who is passionate about promoting democratic societies, in the US and worldwide, in which all people, including immigrants, workers, minorities, and the poor enjoy freedom, justice, economic justice, respect, and equality. Mr. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs. He has consistently appeared in local, national, and international media. Full biography at: http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/08/biography-of-hussam-ayloush.html

Friday, February 02, 2007

Who dares to use the "A" word

Every topic and issue is open to discussion and debate in America. We can debate our occupation of Iraq. We can debate religion. We can debate God's existence. We can debate and dissent with our President's views and decisions. However, one dares not debate Israel and its policies. One dares not describe Israel's discriminatory practices using the "A" word.

The "A" word? You might ask.

Yes, the "A" word. I am talking about "Apartheid".

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines "Apartheid" as:
"racial segregation; specifically : a former policy of segregation and political and economic discrimination against non-European groups in the Republic of South Africa."

Many independent and objective experts and observers have pointed to the many similarities between the practices of the former Republic of South Africa against the indigenous Black Africans and those of the Israeli government against the indigenous Palestinians.

However, every one who has dared to speak out on this topic has had to deal with a vicious campaign of defamation and intimidation. Such campaigns aim to silence every attempt to debate the Middle East conflict and to make a lesson out of those who dare to suggest such a debate. Ironically, it is politically safer even for our politicians to be critical of our own government than of Israel!

The political lynching of President Jimmy Carter for daring to use the word Apartheid in his new book is a good example of how even a former president is not allowed to debate Israel and its policies. Extremist supporters of Israel labeled President Carter as an anti-Semite.

(Show support for President Carter. Order the book and read it. Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid )

Our country's national security requires that we objectively debate whether our unconditional support for Israel and its policies are harming our credibility and standing in the world.

Our values and principles demand that we stand for justice and peace and speak out against racism, occupation, and all forms of injustice, regardless of who the victims or the aggressors are.

All people of the Middle East, Muslims, Christians, and Jews, are counting on our courage and moral values to end the occupation, promote dialogue, and support a just peace. We can't let them down out of fear of being criticized by extremists, on all sides.

Let's first begin by challenging the Apartheid practices. I encourage you to visit the website of US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and learn about their efforts and their new anti-Apartheid campaign.


"In the West Bank, in the
occupied territories, a horrible
example of apartheid is being
perpetrated against the
Palestinians who live there.
Israel has penetrated and
occupied, confiscated and
colonized major portions of the
territory belonging to the
CNN, November 28, 2006

"The UN took a strong stand
against apartheid; and over
the years, an international
consensus was built, which
helped to bring an end to
this iniquitous system. But
we know too well that our
freedom is incomplete
without the freedom of the
Pretoria, December 4, 1997


"I've been very deeply
distressed in my visit to
the Holy Land; it
reminded me so much of
what happened to us
black people in South
The Guardian, April 29, 2002

All people deserve to be treated with fairness and respect. Let's do our part to ensure that happens.

More to read:
Parallels Between Apartheid in South Africa & Israeli Policies
A Closer Look at Israel’s Apartheid Policies
Israel's apartheid - By Flore de Préneuf
Israel, Apartheid and Jimmy Carter - By Saree Makdisi


Steve Estrada said...

Hello Hussam

I think that the Middle East is a mess because of a number of reasons. Israel and it's relationship with the Palestinians is certainly an issue.

However as I consider what makes the Middle East a troubled part of the world I don't put Israel at the top of the list of whom to blame.

Many that are pro-Arab and pro-Muslim or anti American do put Israel at the top of that list. There is hatred toward Israel. There is hatred towards Jews. This cannot be minimized or diluted as the plight of the Palestinians is discussed.

I believe your "A" word article is an attempt to minimize and dilute. I see no greater factor than this hatred toward Israel. I was not raised to hate anyone so I don't understand this hatred.

I also see that the only real example of a Democratic society that exists in the Middle East is in Israel. Most of the other nations are ruled by dictators, religious extremists and are populated by people who seem to be unable to change their circumstances.

As an American I support Israel. I think it's a good strategic and political choice. As a Christian I also support Israel because I believe they deserve their homeland
and need Christian support.

I think the end of the world will come over this matter, but I cannot change my position. I don't think Israel's neighbors will ever accept them so taking a clear side is almost required as any of this is discussed.

It would be wonderful if all in the Middle East could live in peace
but when we look at this with our eyes wide open it appears to be an impossible goal.

You seem to be a fan of Jimmy Carter so out of respect for you and him I will only say that I wish he would just keep building houses for the needy and skip the political stuff.

I'll look forward to your reply.


Huda Shaka` said...

Thank you Br. Hussam for stressing the legitimacy of using the "A" word in refering to Israel.
Below is another very good article responding to a liberal Zionist's arguments against using the word "Apartheid".

Mike Hayes said...


Thank you for your presentation at Laguna Woods last evening. Best wishes in your ongoing efforts to communicate with groups which are not Muslim, to build greater understanding among persons of differing beliefs.

I think you and I and others are trying to communicate about a concern (fear seems like a better descriptor, to me) that we have after seeing planes full of innocent people flown into buildings also full of innocent people, by radical Muslims.

And many suicide bombings after that, in many countries.

We don't want that to occur here, or anywhere else, and it causes us all to be fearful.

From what I've read and from what I've observed and also from what I heard last night from you, Muslim persons are as fearful of and repulsed by that kind of violence against innocent people as are those of us who are not Muslims.

Keep up the good work! And, thank you!

Kevin Sawyer said...

Can you please cite examples of the defamation and intimidation that have taken place w/r/t the use of this term? The criticism (which you call a political lynching) of Jimmy Carter has more to do with his utter disregard for the facts.

Surely, if one authors or book for mass distribution, which contains such incedniary claims as this, one can expect substantial criticism. Carter has been charged (by a fellow at his own institution) with plagiarism and manufacturing evidence for his case, and I have seen no credible refutation of these claims.

Do these criticisms consitute a political lynching? If so, the term loses all meaning.

farah m said...

Hi Steve,

I am sorry that you have such myopic vision of the world and in particular the Middle East. What a clear picture you painted – one of the intellectual democratic Israelis and one of the savaged Arabs. In your world, I suppose building a huge wall only separates the savages from the refined Israelis.

I on the other hand would like to paint you another picture. I “as an American” like you support the Palestinian plight. It is a good humanitarian choice and as a believer in God Palestinians deserve the homeland and need the world’s support.
Let me give you a little background information first about Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands. It violates human rights conventions and especially the Fourth Geneva Convention that forbids an occupying power from making its presence a permanent one.
Unemployment is now close to 40% and some two thirds of the population is living below the poverty line. Malnutrition, anemia and other health problems have increased, and a fall in school performance and increase in child labor are reported. This is not due to a natural catastrophe, nor to the lack of state resources. On the contrary, it is the direct result of measures, including the building of the fence/wall, which Israel has deliberately taken and to which it has committed very substantial financial and human resources.
The seizure, destruction and encirclement of large areas of Palestinian land resulting from the construction of the fence/wall have caused widespread violations of the rights; Palestinians’ access to their land, workplaces, education and health care facilities and other essential services is disproportionately and discriminatorily impaired.
When the –if you will- apartheid is completed, it will cut off more than 15% of the West Bank land from the rest of the West Bank and some 270,000 Palestinians living in these areas will be trapped in closed military areas between the fence/wall and the Green Line or in enclaves encircled by the fence/wall.(10) More than 200,000 Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem will also be cut off from the West Bank and hundreds of thousands of other Palestinians living in towns and villages to the east of the fence/wall will also be affected as they need access to the areas on the other side of the fence/wall to reach their land and their workplaces, schools and health care facilities and other services, and to visit their relatives (source: amnesty international).

So what does that mean to you? Well, imagine if you were sitting in your home of wherever and someone encapsulates you by constructing a large concrete fence around your home and driveway. To go to work, you must line up in a security check point where they may or may not let you in. If you have children they may have to walk to school because you don’t have time to take them because of the security check point. Later at work you hear there was a suicide bombing near your house. Your heart sinks; you worry if your children made it back safely. You think that if you leave now you may make it time to avoid the rush of workers heading back home with you on the other side of the fence. You pray for the water. You pray for the family. You pray to hold on your job. You pray for your sanity.

The Palestinians are the Israeli neighbors and as a Christian we all know, “love thy neighbor.” Why is it different? Is it because the skin on the Palestinians is darker than the faces here in the U.S.? Aren’t we all just children of Adam? Can’t you see if you burry your head in the ‘sand’ or build a wall you just ignore and perpetuate the distance and frustration?

Using the term “apartheid” merely wakens the sleeping world by taking off the sugar coating so that we are stripped to look at them as people not Arabs or Israelis.

Please do not refer to the mess in the Middle East as a Jewish, Muslim, or Christian struggle. It is the struggle of land and power with innocent by standards.

Joanne Burke said...

Kevin, here are an example of the political lynching:
"Is Carter an anti-Semite?"

Also, visit:

Cheri Montagu said...

After I wrote to you I read the article by David M. DeBartolo, "I'm safer in Jordan than a Palestinian in America", and it reminded me who the real enemy is. It's great what Jimmy Carter has done, and we need to constantly speak out against Israeli apartheid, but as Noam Chomsky said to me, "Israel is now a mere appendage of the U.S." I have recently become convinced that the targeting of Muslims by our government, and stirring up hatred against them, is something that was in the planning since before the Cold War ended. Our own government may even have had a hand in 9/11... Please remember that however bad Israel is, it is bad because the U.S. government, upon which it is totally dependent for its existence, permits it to be. If our government wanted the apartheid to stop, it would stop tomorrow. But why should it, when its entire policy has been baiting Muslims and trying to infuriate them into acts of violence in order to justify its own totalitarian policies in the so-called "War on Terror"? We must never forget who the real enemy is-- the greedy and power-hungry elite which controls the U.S. government, and within whom Jews are almost certainly a minority.

In Solidarity,

Dr. Baker said...

Steve said:
"As a Christian I also support Israel"

Wow. That's news to me. When did Jesus start supporting injustice, occupation, racism, and brutality?

I guess we know two different Jesus.

Steven Estrada said...

Hello Farah

Thank you for your comments.

I've described the Palestinian situation as a plight. Your comments clarify this.

You accuse me of myopia and at the same time your comments are clearly
Pro-Palestinian and appear anti-Israeli.

You prove my point about having to take sides.

I suggest that the hatred for Israel and Jews is a major reason for the troubles in the Middle East
you don't even acknowledge my point.

I can tell that you love the Palestinian people. I'm not sure how you feel about Israel, but it doesn't look good at this point.

Prove me wrong.

Steven Estrada said...

Hello Dr. Baker

Thank you for your comments.

We know the same Jesus. There is only one. You just happen to be more in favor of the Palestinian side of things that I am.

It's OK because I think Jesus would also agree that both sides need support.

farah m. said...

Hi Steve,

"You accuse me of myopia and at the same time your comments are clearly Pro-Palestinian and appear anti-Israeli."

I want to make it clear that I am not just Pro-Palestinians, I am Pro-People. I believe that everyone deserves the right to live and thrive. I did not say that I am anti-Israeli. I am against those who bulldoze homes, cut off water supplies, and kill – no matter if they are Palestinian or Israeli!

"I suggest that the hatred for Israel and Jews is a major reason for the troubles in the Middle East
you don't even acknowledge my point."

Acknowledged. I think hate blinds people.

"I can tell that you love the Palestinian people."

I am glad you can tell – I love all people :)

"I'm not sure how you feel about Israel, but it doesn't look good at this point."

How I feel about Israel… I believe Israel has the right to peacefully exist as a country. I don’t believe building a wall, or apartheid, will help the situation. It only creates an artificial barrier between the two groups. I believe that if you give people their basic rights, an economy can be built where it is self-sufficient and self-reliant. Just because a person stands for the human rights of another group does not equate being an anti- this or that. I am not the first person to object to the infringement of rights, scores of devout Jews believe this as well (just look on the net). It does not make them less Jew- it only makes them more Jew. Religions came to show love and compassion to all of God’s children.

"Prove me wrong."

I am not trying to ‘prove’ you right or wrong. I am just trying to get you to see the whole picture. Life is not about standing in one spot and pointing fingers, it is about learning from people and nurturing the seed of humanity.

Steven Estrada said...

Hi Farah

Thanks for taking the time. You did say that Israel has the right to peacefully exist as a country. I consider that position one step in the right dirction.

My hope is that you find a few more steps.

Please check out my blog

Farah said...

Hi Steve,

My hope is that "we" take steps.