The Crisis of Apartheid: Report Back from Palestine

We Are All Part of One Another - Webinar Series

The Crisis of Apartheid: Report Back from Palestine

NVI co-founder, Jonathan Kuttab, was eager to report back from his recent trip home.

He was in conversation with NVI Board member Mohammed Abu-Nimer who joined us during a second recent trip to the region. The event was hosted by Tess Greenwood. 

We discussed the current reality on the ground and how to support each other at this difficult time.

Time Stamps:

0:00  - Tess Greenwood's powerful framing remarks

6:07 -   Jonathan Kuttab's moving reflections  

22:05 -  Mohammed Abu-Nimer's insightful remarks

41:15 - Q&A starting with NVI founder, Mubarak Awad

113:33 - Cosponsors share about their vital work 

Our experts, Jonathan Kuttab and Mohammed Abu-Nimer, took time to answer audience questions we didn't have the opportunity to address during the webinar.

Q: How can we lift up Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Gaza, and the West Bank in our conversation about Jonathan's book, Beyond the Two State Solution?

A: Unlike the Oslo Process and the two-state solution, my [Jonathan's] vision recognizes that the Palestinians are one people who have been fragmented into separate "communities" with each community seeking to find a separate solution to its problems. In my vision, Palestinians who are refugees have a right to return to Palestine, if they chose to do so, and if someone else is living in their homes or properties (whether in Israel or the occupied territories) the new state will work to provide them with some measure of compensation or alternative housing and land from the public lands. It will also provide settlement, jobs, and training as a form of reparations that does not displace Israeli Jews who have been living in their homes or on their lands.
This measure of relative (not absolute) justice can provide healing, remove the sense of bitterness and injustice, without creating an existential threat to Israeli Jews who can also enjoy the benefits of this state, though not exclusively.
So refugees in all these areas can exercise their right of return with the understanding that they must share the land with Israeli Jews who have immigrated to Palestine/Israel and made it their homeland as well.

Q: What are your recommendations on how to humanize the other?

A: Yes, there is need for each side to humanize the other. The problem is that in the past, efforts to create fraternal relationships have avoided dealing with the roots of the problem and created a false symmetry between the oppressor and the oppressed. Thus it rendered the exercise suspect as an illegitimate reinforcer of an unjust status quo. This is called "normalization" and is rightly rejected by Palestinians.
The challenge is to create opportunities for coresistence, whereby both sides join in activities that confront, and challenge the injustices, rather than reinforce them. This is not done through mere declarations but through actions. When Israelis join a Palestinian led initiative or demonstration, and get equally teargassed or arrested, Palestinians can see the genuineness of their solidarity and do not need to question them about their political positions.
The current situation deliberately separates the two populations who only meet each other in a situation of oppression: as soldiers or settlers or powerful employers holding power over illegal/or permit-controlled labor. Joint activities must recognize the realities of apartheid as they try to break its power and hold over oppressor and oppressed alike.

Q: In terms of changing US foreign policy, I’ve noticed in my local and state Democratic Party very few of us who are advocating equality and freedom for Palestinians are active in party politics. Several people in the county Democratic party told me that they won’t allow discussion of foreign policy because it might lead to discussion of Israel & Palestine. So, they are suppressing discussion of the problem within the state and local party organizations. How can we get more of us to be active and vocal and work toward better candidates for elected office, which would lead to changed policy?

A: I [Mohammed] agree it is important to have an active voice through participation in local and general domestic election campaigns, especially with Democrat and also Republican parties, too. The most direct way is the active membership in the parties themselves and to mobilize and advocate for the cause of ending Israeli occupation. Work through churches and other local civil society organizations can be effective too. These entities are influential in certain local American communities. In the past decade we have seen an increase of diversity among the candidates in such local elections. This is a promising sign for advocacy for Palestinian rights and ending occupation.

Q: I agree with Miko Peled, who clearly states that the only way to dismantle the Israeli apartheid state is to completely isolate them. That is that no country welcomes Israel's politicians, no participation in sports, arts, culture, totally and completely shunned. He thinks this will dismantle Israel and the Zionists and I agree with him completely. Do any of the panelists disagree with this assessment?

A: I [Mohammed] think that the fight against South African apartheid was effective partially due to the fact that many countries took part in the campaign against that regime. I think that similar strategy can be effective to end the Israeli occupation through international isolation of Israeli entities/institutions who directly support the occupation and the apartheid system. At the same time, I think that dialogue and engagement with those who are willing to talk to each other from the two sides based on clear commitment to basic human rights should be endorsed too.


Sponsored by Nonviolence International (NVI).

Cosponsored by Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA), the Fellowship of Reconciliation,  and Just Peace Advocates.

Special thanks to the Salam Institute  


In 2023 Israeli apartheid is intensifying. While Palestinians remain steadfast on their land, the new far right government is outright encouraging settlers to violently attack Palestinians and giving the green light to Occupation forces to carry out explicit ethnic cleansing policies. As more and more people around the world turn their attention to Palestine and demand accountability for apartheid, we will gather for a report back from two Palestinian experts on nonviolence and conflict resolution about their recent experiences on the ground.

Speakers

 

Jonathan Kuttab is co-founder of Nonviolence International, the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq, and Just Peace Advocates. A well-known international human rights attorney, he has practiced in the US, Palestine, and Israel. He serves as the Executive Director of Friends of Sabeel North America, and as a board member of Nonviolence International and Just Peace Advocates. He was the head of the Legal Committee negotiating the Cairo Agreement of 1994 between Israel and the PLO. Jonathan is the author of Beyond the Two State Solution, which articulates a vision of a binational state that challenges both Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism. This book invites readers to begin a new conversation based on reality: how will two peoples live together in some sort of unified state?

 

Mohammed Abu Nimer is an internationally renowned expert on conflict resolution and dialogue for peace. He serves as a professor of International Peace and Conflict Resolution at the American University School of International Service, and as a Senior Advisor to the KAICIID Dialogue Centre, an international organization that specializes in interreligious and intercultural dialogue. Mohammed is also a member of NVI's Board of Directors. Prof. Abu-Nimer's research has focused on a wide array of topics in peacebuilding and conflict resolution and has been both author and editor of more than 13 books on faith-based and interfaith peace-building. His more recent areas of focus have included faith-based peacebuilding, interfaith dialogue in peacebuilding and building social cohesion, and pedagogical considerations on incorporating peace and forgiveness education in the Arab world.

 

Host:

Tess Greenwood joined NVI’s staff in August 2022 as the Office and Intern Manager. Tess is a community organizer with a background in youth leadership development and anti-Occupation activism. She holds a BA in Labor Studies from Hampshire College. When she's not working with NVI, Tess organizes with IfNotNow, the movement of American Jews organizing their community to end U.S. support for Israeli Apartheid.

 


Latest posts

NVI helps White House Fence Protests for the Climate

NVI Director, Michael Beer, pled guilty to Unlawful Entry for his climate protest action in September of 2023.  He faces a 4 month stay away sentence from the White House area. Here is his sentencing statement that he shared with the court.

Dear Judge, prosecutor and those who supported my climate protest.

I have pled guilty to unlawful entry for protesting the weak response from President Biden and his administration to the crisis of climate chaos. It was not my intention to get arrested. And spending about 28 hours in lock-up was not fun.

I chose not to pursue a jury trial. Although I believe my arrest was unwarranted and designed to stop a legitimate protest that was not causing any security or safety concerns to the public, I decided that my chances of persuading a Jury of my innocence was possible but not likely.  I also came to the conclusion that given the strain that the current judicial system has in processing many more serious crimes, that it was almost self-indulgent for me to afford myself this opportunity. I am a fervent supporter of the jury system and I am grateful that in this country, these trials are available to people like me, even on misdemeanor charges.

My purpose in protesting, with other citizens, was to call on President Biden to declare a climate emergency. Although a declaration has risks, we need to face the crisis of carbon pollution with urgent action including building a massive electric grid here and around the world, stopping fossil fuel exports, and producing renewable energy for the globe.  We are by far the world’s biggest historical polluter, and we have much to do in the form of global reparations. We of course need strong congressional action and I look forward to encouraging support for a Green New Deal..

Many of us live an extravagant lifestyle made possible by fossil fuels, and our next generations are likely to experience the damaging results.  This very building is near the flood plain and could face serious flooding.  But beyond the infrastructure, it is the tremendous famines, floods, heat waves, and severe weather that will cause havoc particularly among the less privileged and fortunate.

I try to limit my carbon footprint, by bicycling most places, eating a mostly vegetarian diet, and refraining from flying often. Yet I know I can do better to limit the damage that my life is having on this earth.

My life’s work as Director of Nonviolence International is to support nonviolent social mobilization and action around the world to engage mass engagement to the existential threats of our lifetimes such as nuclear war and climate chaos,. While keeping our eyes on the existential threats we need to support social justice and support human rights around the world. We need to build greater support for the rule of law as a foundation of civilization and deeper reverence  for it is needed particularly for international law and governance which  is vital for human survival.

Future generations will ask, what did you do to stop this profligate burning of fossil fuels? I ask all of you here to regularly ask yourselves this question?

I thank you for listening to my words and I thank you for your service to our communities. I ask that you not impose further punishment, penalties or consequences other than the stay away order to which we have agreed.

NVI Director, Michael Beer, spent the night of September 7th in the notorious DC Central Cellblock. He was arrested at the White House as part of an effort to use nonviolent direct action to urge US President Biden to declare a climate emergency. He was arrested with Kai Newkirk and Justin Blake.

Michael Beer, speaking to the crowd in front of the white house inviting them to speak up and demand a climate emergency declaration.

Protests Continue for a Climate Emergency Declaration

September 12th, inspired by our action, new activists from around the country again put a climate emergency sign on the fence and were arrested.

September 13th, another set of activists protested at the White House Fence!

September 14th, yet another wave of activists protested at the White House.

September 19th, more citizens put the sign up on the fence and were arrested again.

 

September 20th, four more citizens arrested including Dr. Paul Dietz, Rev. Redeem Robinson both of whom were kept overnight at the appalling DC Central Cell Block.

Here is a LINK to video of their protest!

September 22nd, more protests led by Native Americans at White House Fence

September 23rd Media Release LINK

September 28th, Kai Newkirk interrupted President Joe Biden's speech in Arizona.

Various outlets covered Kai's disruption:

Democracy Now: Activist Disrupts Biden Speech, Urges Him to Declare Climate Emergency

MarketWatch: Biden interrupted by climate activist during speech, promises to meet

The Hill: Biden heckled by climate activist in Arizona during speech honoring McCain

The Independent: Biden faces down climate activist hecklers during Arizona speech

October 1st, Mehdi Hasan covered Kai's disruption and put it into conversation with the narrative in climate scientist, Michael Mann's recent book.


The climate crisis is obvious and not some far off future we must fear, but instead a current reality we must face. This effort at the White House is led by our fiscally sponsored partner For All. Together we are urging the US President to take action to end all new fossil fuel infrastructure. We also call on every country to declare a climate emergency.

You can play a key role in this work wherever you are in the world. Connect with local groups especially those led by frontline communities and young leaders who will inherit the mess we have created. 

For those in the US, please join our actions and civil disobedience protests at the White House over the coming weeks. You can learn more about that here.

There is a huge end fossil fuels march in New York City at the UN on September 17, 2023. Large civil disobedience street protests will happen on September 18. Please come to New York and participate in these historic actions. There are over 400 protests around the world this week. Please join one.

To learn more about Nonviolent Tactics, please see Michael Beer’s book and NVI’s database. 

NVI has been active on this issue. For those wanting to learn more or be inspired by creative youth-led action, please see:

Solidarity with Sunrise

Spotlight on NV - Jamie Margolin

Beyond Changing Light Bulbs: 21 Ways You Can Stop the Climate Crisis



Free, Free Palestine!

Free, Free Palestine!

Apartheid in Palestine and Israel is intensifying. Nonviolent mobilization is needed now more than ever.

In the face of increased repression and violence, our friends and allies are continuing and expanding their bold, creative, constructive nonviolent resistance. Join them in resisting the occupation and Israeli apartheid system and take action with us, NVI’s partners, and movements leading the struggle for justice in Palestine below.

Please spread the word about the reality of the situation and urge others to visit this page, learn more, and take action with you.


Action Items

  1. Demand accountability and action for Palestine in the US:
    • Reach congress and other public figures with USCPR Action Alerts.
    • Reject AIPAC! Sign on to show our political leaders, community leaders, and the public that American Jews and allies believe AIPAC has no place in our communities or in our politics. You do not have to identify as Jewish to sign.
  2. Support NVI’s fiscally sponsored partners 
  3. Engage with Palestinian leaders of NVI  
  4. Get involved in a movement or organization working for justice in Palestine–please reach out if we can help guide or connect you. Here are some of the many movements and organizations we admire:
  5. Commit to changing the conversation towards a realistic solution. Israel’s new extreme government puts to rest any lingering debate about the viability of the Two-State Solution.

Follow these social media accounts:

https://www.instagram.com/youthofsumud/

https://www.instagram.com/ali_awad98/

https://www.instagram.com/basilaladraa/

https://www.instagram.com/samihuraini/

https://twitter.com/YouthOfSumud

https://twitter.com/SoHebronWatch

https://twitter.com/masaferyatta

https://twitter.com/Cjnvtweets

https://twitter.com/holylandtrust

#SaveMasaferYatta 

#DefendMasaferYatta


Background Information

For those wanting to learn more about the Palestinian struggle for freedom, please see these NVI resources below. Below the NVI resources are primers welcoming people who are not yet immersed in the conversation. 

Jonathan Kuttab's Book - Beyond the Two-State Solution

David Hart's invitation to Jewish Americans

Normalization and Co-Resistance, Jonathan Kuttab

Safety Isn’t Demolishing a School, Tess Greenwood

The Many Faces of Nonviolence - A Taste of Palestine

Gaza: Cruelty Without Consequences

Important Update: Nonviolence International Stands in Solidarity with Al-Haq

Raising Up Impressive Group Challenging GBV in Palestine

Music is the Healing Force of the Universe!

Our Partner's Powerful Piece in the Forward.

The Many Faces of Nonviolence - Rachel Corrie

Expand our Compassion to Include Palestinians

The Many Faces of Nonviolence - Ann Wright


NVI Videos

Beyond The Two-State Solution, by Jonathan Kuttab. Interactive webinar.

Co-Resistance and Solidarity with Palestine - Webinar

Writer from Gaza Reflects on the Two State Solution

Spotlight on Nonviolence - Huwaida Arraf

A Video Featuring Ahmed Alnaouq, founder of WANN

A Jew Asks Questions of Two Palestinians in a Time of War

Holy Land Trust's Founder Sami Awad's Wonderful Take on Active Nonviolence - Webinar

Courage Along The Divide - Produced and Directed by Victor Schonfeld 1986


Resources from Other Groups

The Popular University of the Palestinian Youth Movement Presents - OUR HISTORY OF POPULAR RESISTANCE: PALESTINE READING LIST

Palestine 101

Palestine-Israel Primer - MERIP

Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU)

Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories

A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution | HRW

Not a "vibrant democracy". This is apartheid. | B'Tselem

Visualizing Apartheid through interactive maps | B'Tselem

For those interested in learning more about state by state US legislation, please see this impressive map from Palestine Legal. They tell us, "The right to stand for justice is under attack. Politicians are pushing unconstitutional laws to stop the movement for Palestinian freedom and shield Israel from criticism."

Your Guide to Difficult Conversations About Israel/Palestine

Israel-Palestine animated introduction

Primer on the Arab-Israeli Conflict - TeachMideast

The Israel Apartheid Report Database 


Do you have suggestions for other high quality introductory material we should consider including?

If so, please contact us. 

And, of course, please help spread the word. Ask people to visit this page, learn, and take action. 

(Art Credit - Kayla Ginsburg - from CJNV)


The brutal occupation of Palestine is likely to get even more repressive. The coalition government in Israel includes unrepentant haters and racists. They have wasted no time showing their true colors. The impacts will be immediate, widespread, and as usual those harmed the most will be Palestinians. 

People who have been paying attention know that the occupation has been supported by successive governments of all parties. And still we recognize we are entering a new and dangerous moment. We will work to make sure that this is also a time with the potential for real and lasting positive change. 

During this time, we will see suffering increase and we must urge people to open their eyes to the reality of the situation. We must find ways to make the power of active nonviolence relevant to this struggle. NVI co-founder Jonathan Kuttab wrote, 

"Successive Israeli governments have pursued these goals steadfastly, while pretending that their aim was security and that their aspirations were for peace with Palestinians, not domination over them. The new Israeli government abandons all such pretense, rips off the mask, and dares the world to do something about it.

Acknowledging that reality is the first necessary step towards addressing it. When Israel determined it wanted to be a Jewish state, and further that it wanted to keep all the land of historic Palestine, the results were inevitable. The only two options Israel allows for are ethnic cleansing or apartheid. Calls for democracy and equality (where democracy includes giving Palestinians [50% of the population] the vote and a stake in running the country) are totally rejected.

The good news is that with this new government, the mask is off, and many people can see the reality. This includes a majority of the Jewish people in the United states and their supporters, who have always been liberal, democratic, and in favor of progressive values. Facing the reality of Israel may be painful for many of them, but it is an important first step towards seeking a new solution based on equality and human dignity, and which would also bring healing and peace."

Tallie Ben-Daniel, the managing director of Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP), said the new Israeli government has openly embraced apartheid.

“The horrifying actions of this new government, only five days in, prove exactly what Palestinians have been saying all along: Israel is an apartheid state, where Palestinians are treated as inferior. The dangerous escalations by the new Israeli government make clear that now is the time for action.”

US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib wrote, 

“Not even one week into 2023, the new far-right apartheid government is moving to ethnically cleanse entire communities—which would displace more than 1,000 Palestinian residents, including 500 children. All with American backing, bulldozers, and bullets. #SaveMasaferYatta”

NVI Supports Philadelphia Interfaith Network for Peace in Gaza

(Please see this page for background information, resources, and action steps on Palestine / Israel)

NVI has helped support the formation of the Philadelphia interfaith group for peace in Gaza named Prayers for Peace Alliance. Check out their new website!

Palestinians and Jews are joining together to invite churches and synagogues to stop the violence in Gaza and work for peace with justice in Palestine/Israel.

 

Prayers for Peace Alliance co-Coordinater, Sam Kuttab, helping lead the walk by Friends of Combatants for Peace in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia. USA 25-2-2024


November 19, 2023: Don't miss this powerful article from Daoud Kuttab.

https://milhilard.org/palestinian-and-jewish-americans-call-on-philadelphia-worshipers-to-pray-for-gaza/


On Sunday Nov. 12, 2023, Palestinian-Americans with support from a Friends of Sabeel North America, If Not Now (Philadelphia Chapter), the Alhidaya Islamic Center, and Nonviolence International handed out leaflets at the Elon Tabernacle Church in Philadelphia asking parishioners to pray for people of Gaza and to call on the US government to support a cease-fire.

Palestinian activists displayed signs which said “I’m a Palestinian American Living in the Community. Every 10 minutes a Child is Killed. Pray for Gaza. Stop the Genocide.” Activists from the Alhidaya Islamic Center and If Not Now along with Activiststood in solidarity. The parishioners universally took the leaflets offered and read them. After 30 minutes, the visitors were invited inside in front of the pulpit where the Reverend Waller, warmly welcomed the Palestinian, Jewish and Islamic visitors and proceeded to pray for them, their families, and the people of Gaza for 10 minutes. He concluded by calling for an immediate ceasefire saying that his congregation does not takes sides, just the sides of peace for the Palestinian and Israeli people.

Given the warm response, NVI and these activist groups will continue to reach out to Philadelphia church-goers to pray for Gaza and support a cease-fire.  If you want to get more information, reach out to us at [email protected]

Philadelphians will continue to reach out to other churches on Sunday November 19, 2023. Here is the media release.

 

Two Palestinian-Americans standing outside of the Elon Tabernacle Church

Delegation members invited inside to Rev Waller's pulpit

Muslims, Christians and Jews standing outside of the Elon Tabernacle Church


NVI fiscally sponsors groups that work to help Gazans. Please support them.

If you want to hear news and views directly from Gaza, please check the website and social media sites of  We Are Not Numbers.

US Boats to Gaza is a member of the global Freedom Flotilla Coalition. They seek to bring humanitarian aid by sea to Gaza and break the siege. Learn more about their important work below. 

Here are some photos from the big recent Washington, DC event for Palestinian humanity that was part of much larger global effort.


 

Organizational Letter on Gun Violence and Israel

NVI signed this letter to US Secretary of State 

Dear Secretary Blinken,

Twenty-five faith-based, human rights, and gun violence prevention organizations are writing you to voice our concern about the massive numbers of small arms that the U.S. is exporting to Israel, the lack of end use controls on these exports, and the violence and human rights violations that have occurred and will continue as a result. Please see attached our full letter explaining these concerns, including background on the issue, data on U.S. arms exports to Israel, and an explanation of how, in light of war crimes and other violence occurring in the West Bank and Gaza, such arms transfers violate U.S. policy.

We encourage the Department of State and Department of Commerce to suspend all licenses and shipments of firearm exports to Israel until criteria are met that will prevent further war crimes and ensure end use monitoring of transferred munitions. We advocate that an overall policy of restraint is adopted for the export of firearms, and that arms export policy exceptions for Israel are removed.

Lastly, we encourage your departments to establish criteria for the exclusion of end users where there is a meaningful risk that such users are involved in human rights abuses or other crimes, and to require U.S. firearms manufacturers to submit license applications and end user certificates for all proposed exports. Complete details of these policy asks can be found in the full letter.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns. We would be happy to begin a dialogue with you to discuss enacting these crucial changes.


See the full text of the letter here. 

Share this page

Take action

Join Our Growing Global Movement!
Get in Touch
Donate to NVI or our partners

Sign up for updates