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|"The Relevance of Refugees: Reflections on Theory and Practice" Article appearing in Anthropology Newsletter, 1999 by Peter W. Van Arsdale, Ph.D.
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Zionism, Racism, and the
Palestinian People: Fifty Years of Human Rights Violations in Israel and
the Occupied Territories
Dalhousie Journal of Legal Studies, 1999, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 1-55
Abstracted by: Paula Broadwell
The multitude of Israeli human rights violations against the Palestinian people has been well documented by independent scholars, and intergovernmental, and non-governmental organizations for decades. Juxtaposingly, there has been little written concerning the role the official Israeli state ideology–including exclusivism-has played in implementing the Jewish state's policies vis-à-vis Palestinian rights. This article surveys Israel 's prolonged violation of Palestinian human rights and argues that the Jewish state is a racist state guided by its overzealous commitment to Zionism.
Analyzing the tenets of modern political Zionism, the author highlights the evolution of the movement from the days of political in-fighting and resistance from pro-assimilation Jews, for example, to the current trends and global movements that support such beliefs and actions. He claims that in order to understand Zionism, one must be cognizant of the following three prerequisites regarding Zionism's stated goal of establishing an exclusively Jewish state in Palestine: first, conquest of the land; second, the ingathering of Jewish immigrants; and third, the transfer or expulsion of the indigenous Arabs from Palestine. As history has shown, these tenets seem to have become the basis of numerous Israeli laws and policies that have engendered five decades of flagrant human rights violations against the Palestinian people.
The author attempts to present a detailed examination of Israeli law and polices that contradict international standards for protecting civil and human rights. Israel's history of military engagements illustrates exceptionalism towards international law. Among other examples, the 1967 incursion where Israelis took the West Bank and Gaza Strip and subsequently imposed complete martial law on the 1.4 million Palestinian inhabitants without affording them citizenship status. Over the next thirty years, Israel then legislated hundreds of ‘occupier's laws' in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law. These laws made it legal to confiscate Arab lands, construct Jewish settlements on those lands, demolish homes, arrest, search and detain without explanation, exploit natural resources, deport local leaders, and impose curfews and collective punishment. The author describes in detail the obligation Israel has to Palestinian refugees under the multitude of international declarations and human rights documents–most of which are regarded with impunity.
Although Israel claims to be a democratic state, the author purports that it is in fact a racist state whose existence is predicated on notions of exclusion and discrimination against those classified as ‘non-Jews' under Israeli law. This chronic persecution has led to violations in several key areas: the right of refugee return; the right to nationality; the right to ownership and protection of property; the right to work; the right to protection against arbitrary arrest, detention or exile; the right to protection against torture, cruel and inhuman punishment; the right to freedom of expression and opinion; and the right to education.
The author summarizes with his concern for the moral and political implications of Israel's continued persecution of the Palestinian people. The roots of this protracted conflict are to be found in Zionism, an ideology that has conferred rights and privileges on Jews while simultaneously denying them to non-Jews. The author concludes that it is highly unlikely that as long as Israeli state policy remains wedded to Zionism's program of exclusivism and racism, it is unlikely that a just peace will ever be achieved.
Perceived Racial Discrimination, Depression, and Coping: A Study of Southeast Asian Refugees in Canada
Journal of Health and Science Behavior , Sep. 1999, Vol. 40, No. 3, pp. 193-207.
Noh, Samuel; Beiser, Morton; Kaspar, Violet; Hou, Feng; Rummers, Joanna.
Abstracted by: Leah Persky
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