Stanley Cohen, Esq., writes about the dream of equality–and Israeli opportunism in Africa, undermining African unity

October 1, 2021

Israel Has Not Earned an African Welcome

by Stanley L. CohenFacebookTwitterRedditEmail

“I want people to remember me as someone whose life has been helpful to humanity.

Though he tenaciously believed in African unity, the African liberation struggle and its social and economic freedom, with these words legendary Pan-Africanist, Thomas Sankara spoke of a world community, one that transcended the narrow confines of birth and gender, of class and color, of faith and futility. Sankara urged “nonconformity, the courage to turn your back on the old formulas, the courage to invent the future . . .  a new society,” one built of freedom and equality.  Were this iconic African leader alive today he surely would be stunned by the warm embrace by some in the African continent of a supremacist state that promotes all that Sankara soundly rejected and for which he gladly gave his life as sacrifice to principle and purpose.

Fashions come and go, cycling through the years—the cut of one’s suit narrows or widens; the hemline on a dress rises and falls, then rises again, to suit the changing tastes of the day. Yet every old fashion eventually comes around again. Just so, political accommodation with morally bankrupt regimes—like wide lapels or padded shoulders—never really goes away: rather, every few years we are treated to the same old rhetorical rags, pulled from the back of the closet, and paraded down the catwalk of international relations, generally for the benefit of unseen vested interests, all in the name of “pragmatism” and “reasonableness.”

Accommodation gets dressed up under many names, most of them harkening to a noble purpose: “engagement,” we are told, is constructive and seeks common ground; “compromise” allows that opposing interests can still find talking points, break bread together and sit at the same table, each party giving something to the other; “normalizing” relations simply admits the status quo and moves forward from the regrettable past. The basic idea is a simple one—by talking to the recalcitrant party, you may influence its behavior, and achieve the moral and political change you want, furthering justice from engagement.

Yet for the global movement in support of Palestine—and those who honor that movement—there can be no common ground with Israel: that nation’s existence is predicated on the suppression of Palestinian life, culture, rights,property, freedom and sovereignty, and always has been. As an attorney, I am currently involved in litigation before the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights in which we seek to revoke Israel’s observer status at the African Union on the grounds that it is an outlaw nation, one that has never accepted international law and has committed grave and on-going human rights abuses, including war crimes. Be it the occupation and illegal annexation of Palestinian lands, its “nation-state” laws which exalt Judaism over of all other faiths, or its apartheid system that denies millions of Palestinians their fundamental rights to equality, freedom and self-determination, Israel has forfeited any normalizing status among the world community.  I argue now and always that Israel is a white supremacist project—a nation founded by and for white Europeans, by colonizing, subjugating, jailing dispossessing and murdering people of color—and that Africans especially must stand fast, stalwart in blocking Israel’s international “rehabilitation,” so long as it keeps Palestine under its boot, bombing its inhabitants, stealing their land, and maintaining a single political entity in which two peoples are by law governed unequally.

Israel’s most fervent collective hope is to put the past so utterly behind it that all the nations of the world forget what it has done in the name of its own national aspirations, and welcomes Israel as a brother nation, a sister country, unto the fold of nations. It pursues this agenda—sending its ministers to African capitals, spending money on diplomatic endeavors, spreading cash around African governments—even as it continues to subjugate the Palestinian people taking their land parcel by parcel, building apartheid in name and deed, and jailing its activists by the thousands. Israel looks upon the African continent and sees economic opportunity —she would like to see an Israeli rifle in the hands of every African soldier, Israeli armored vehicles in every army from the Sahel to the east African shores; she would like to cash in on the extraction-industrial-complex, in the race to exploit Africa’s riches and natural resources; and most of all, Israel wants to present itself to the world as a legitimate and democratic partner . . .  and open for business.

….follow the links, Connect the dots! Read the rest over here

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