EJIL Analysis

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The Apartheid Accusation Against Israel is Baseless – and Agenda-Driven

Human Rights Watch’s new report accusing Israel of the crime of apartheid is, despite its length, a propaganda document: full of falsehoods and distortions. The world it describes is an alternate reality. Addressing a document so agenda-driven and skewed presents the challenge of dealing with Big Lies: merely engaging with them gives at least some credibility to its seriousness and normalizes sensationalistic accusations against the Jewish State. This very forum on EJIL is part of the problem: like arguing with COVID hoaxers, the mere exercise is self-defeating for those critical of the HRW argument. The extraordinary thing about such an accusation, is that even if its supporters to not fully convince people of its truth, they succeed in leaving a delegitimizing stain. This response cannot attempt to rebut all of the lengthy manifesto, or even point out some of its factual misstatements. (For that, see pages 5-9 of this paper, from which some of the material of this post was also drawn.) Thus this is at most a very partial response. The goal…

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Uncomfortable truths: how HRW errs in its definition of “Israeli apartheid”, what is missing, and what are the implications?

The discourse on apartheid in the Israeli-Palestinian context has evolved. Coinciding with the formal opening of an investigation by the ICC (as well as the admissibility decision in the inter-State proceedings initiated by Palestine before the CERD – see here), between January and June 2021 several organisations and authors – most notably Human Rights Watch (in A…

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Apartheid, the Green Line, and the Need to Overcome Palestinian Fragmentation

Human Rights Watch’s recent report, A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution, adds to a growing body of literature that considers the relevance of apartheid to the plight of the Palestinian people. Building on early, foundational work by Palestinian and Jewish anti-Zionist scholars, the apartheid analysis allows for consideration…

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Jewish Israeli and Palestinians as distinct ‘racial groups’ within the meaning of the crime of apartheid?

  The Human Rights Watch (HRW) report ‘A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution’ is the newest addition to research reports (here, here and here) that conclude that the Israeli authorities have committed the crime against humanity of apartheid. The report has been termed a “wake-up…

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Beyond Discrimination: Apartheid is a Colonial Project and Zionism is a form of Racism

In the twenty-eight years of the Oslo peace process, Israel has torpedoed the prospect of a Palestinian state, which offered it an internationally sanctioned pathway to preserving its Zionist settler sovereignty. In doing so, Israel is manifesting to the world what Palestinians have long known: it wants the land without the people and seeks to remain the sole…

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