Democracy and Apartheid


If 'democracy' is not defined as global direct democracy having highest authority, then every tyranny and oligarchy will declare itself a democracy. We already see this everywhere from North Korea, a dictatorship; to the US, a constitutional republic; to Israel, an apartheid regime.

Kerry confirmed that Israel’s settlements are illegal; that they are not constructed for Israel’s security but rather make Israel less secure. It was heartening to hear Kerry talk about Israel’s destruction of Palestinian homes, its theft of Palestinian land for settlements, and its refusal to allow Palestinians to build or live freely on their own land. He spoke of checkpoints and occupation. In short, Kerry described a reality that Palestinians have lived for 50 years: apartheid.

Yet, even if realized, Kerry’s principles for a future peace will not end Israeli apartheid, but instead reward and perpetuate it. Take, for example, his statement that future borders must “reflect practical realities on the ground.” Sounds fair, but these “practical realities,” resulting from decades of Israeli settlement construction, ensure that a Palestinian state will never be contiguous but will be, in Kerry’s own words, a “Swiss cheese” statelet surrounded and dominated by Israel.

Although Palestinians have twice officially recognized Israel, by further demanding that we recognize it as a “Jewish state,” Kerry asks Palestinians to endorse the permanent second class status of Palestinian citizens of Israel, nearly 20 percent of Israel’s population, who are already subject to scores of discriminatory laws that privilege Jewish citizens. And by stipulating that any solution for Palestinian refugees must not affect the “fundamental character of Israel,” Kerry negates our internationally recognized right to return to our homeland so that Israel can maintain a Jewish majority. In short, Palestinians are required to relinquish their rights to accommodate Israel’s wrongs.

-Diana Buttu, “Kerry describes a reality that Palestinians are living", The Boston Globe1

What we’ve been hearing is that they want Israel recognized as a Jewish state and what we’re not interrogating is that 25% of Israel’s population is Christian and Muslim Palestinians who are native to that land. Asking Israel to be recognized as a Jewish state is liking saying, “The US is not for Americans. The US is for White folks, and so everybody else will be secondary in status”--a status that Palestinian citizens of Israel already experience as a fifth column. But now, if the Palestinians recognize it as such, they’re basically going to say we’re okay with an explicit racist, apartheid regime. And we should be condemning Israel for that request rather than berating Palestinians for failing to fall into line with that.

-Noura Erakat, CNN Tonight with Don Lemon2

This report establishes, on the basis of scholarly inquiry and overwhelming evidence, that Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid. However, only a ruling by an international tribunal in that sense would make such an assessment truly authoritative. The authors therefore urge the United Nations to implement this finding by fulfilling its international responsibilities in relation to international law and the rights of the Palestinian people as a matter of urgency, for two reasons. First, the situation addressed in the report is ongoing. Many investigations of crimes against humanity have concerned past behaviour or events, such as civil wars involving genocides, which have formally concluded. In such cases, the international community faces no particular pressure to act in a timely way to terminate an ongoing crime prior to investigating the legal facts of culpability. In the case of Israel-Palestine, any delay compounds the crime by prolonging the subjugation of Palestinians to the active practice of apartheid by Israel. Prompt action is accordingly imperative to avert further human suffering and end a crime against humanity that is being committed now.

Secondly, the extreme gravity of the charge requires prompt action. Since the 1970s, when the international campaign to oppose apartheid in southern Africa gathered momentum, apartheid has been considered in the annals of the United Nations and world public opinion to be second only to genocide in the hierarchy of criminality. (Genocide and apartheid are the only two international crimes, the commission of which States have a duty to prevent.) This report accordingly recommends that the international community act immediately, without waiting for a more formal pronouncement regarding the culpability of the State of Israel, its Government and its officials for the commission of the crime of apartheid.

-"Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid", Palestine and the Israeli Occupation3

Israel's crimes are so severe that they deviate between apartheid and genocide. This has prompted Noam Chomsky to declare that the situation is worse than apartheid:

Many reasons. Take, say, the term "apartheid." In the Occupied Territories, what Israel is doing is much worse than apartheid. To call it apartheid is a gift to Israel, at least if by "apartheid" you mean South African-style apartheid. What’s happening in the Occupied Territories is much worse. There’s a crucial difference. The South African Nationalists needed the black population. That was their workforce. It was 85 percent of the workforce of the population, and that was basically their workforce. They needed them. They had to sustain them. The bantustans were horrifying, but South Africa did try to sustain them. They didn’t put them on a diet. They tried to keep them strong enough to do the work that they needed for the country. They tried to get international support for the bantustans.

The Israeli relationship to the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories is totally different. They just don’t want them. They want them out, or at least in prison. And they’re acting that way. That’s a very striking difference, which means that the apartheid analogy, South African apartheid, to the Occupied Territories is just a gift to Israeli violence. It’s much worse than that. If you look inside Israel, there’s plenty of repression and discrimination. I’ve written about it extensively for decades. But it’s not apartheid. It’s bad, but it’s not apartheid. So the term, I just don’t think is applicable.

-Noam Chomsky, 'Noam Chomsky: Israel's Actions in Palestine are "Much Worse Than Apartheid" in South Africa', Democracy Now4

In terms of severity, Israel's situation lies between apartheid South Africa and Nazi Germany where Jews were held in concentration camps and systematically exterminated. The ESCWA report says Israel's situation is not severe enough to warrant the charge of genocide, but says it definitely satisfies the criteria for apartheid. Noam Chomsky says the situation is more severe than apartheid. From what I've seen (especially from the 2014 Gaza Massacre), Israel's behaviour is skirting on genocide. Regardless, the ESCWA report states:

Since the 1970s, when the international campaign to oppose apartheid in southern Africa gathered momentum, apartheid has been considered in the annals of the United Nations and world public opinion to be second only to genocide in the hierarchy of criminality. (Genocide and apartheid are the only two international crimes, the commission of which States have a duty to prevent.) [3]

Thus, whether Israel's situation is one of apartheid, genocide, or somewhere in between, the international community does have a duty to prevent any further criminality.

Apartheid in southern Africa was brought to an end, in part, by the cumulative impact of a variety of measures, including economic sanctions and sports boycotts, undertaken with the blessing of United Nations bodies and many Member States, and with grassroots support in States with strong strategic and economic ties with South Africa. The effectiveness of the anti-apartheid campaign was in large part due to the transnational activism of civil society, which reinforced the intergovernmental consensus that took shape in the United Nations.5


Excellent research!

Thank you Panoramics. I must admit that I had never considered Israel to be an Apartheid regime. The excellent research work you did, and the quotes you provide are an eye opener for me.

Reading all this makes me very sad. It is news and reports like this one that motivate me to ensure that this web site becomes as successful as it can be. Only by working together do we have a chance to make a profound difference. As you probably remember, I have made previous attempts at mobilizing people for humanitarian purposes, as in The Forgotten Ones project:

The resources you provide above would fit better in wiki pages. Unfortunately, my time is limited and I cannot work on all topics at once, so I have posted a reminder for it: #14349: Israel and Palestinians.

The title of your blog is a bit misleading. The content is not at all what I expected, though I understand the point your are making. Ironically, Jewish people are a majority in Israel, so, arguably, majority rule is preserved...

Speaking of democracy, here are some of the issues I want to work on as a matter of priority:
#14286: Wiki: Representative democracy
#14294: Reworking the introduction to the minguo community manifesto
Here are the corresponding wiki pages I slowly try to improve:
Is your point of view fairly represented in those pages?

Importantly, make sure to read the following page very carefully, and understand the implications over the long term, as your try to promote the issues you care about:

Forgotten Ones

Nobody is more forgotten than the Palestinians. Their suffering has been covered up for nearly seven decades now. Whites are the majority in the US. Think of a scenario where only White Americans could vote in the US constitutional republic system, but Blacks could not.

I like how the following page defines democracy as majority rule and draws a distinction between a democracy and a constitutional republic:

However, those quotes also make democracy sound like a bad thing. There is only majority or minority rule. Minority rule is the true mob rule. Anything less than majority rule is just a gang of violent individuals enforcing their will on others. Additionally, a democracy is better than a constitutional republic at defending minority rights. Why does the Black Lives Matter movement exist if minorities are treated so well under a constitutional republic? Why are minorities disproportionately impoverished in the US if the constitutional republic system is so good at protecting minority rights? A constitutional republic exists to protect slave-maker rights.

I derived the name ‘Panoramics’ from panorama.

[pan-uh-ram-uh, -rah-muh]
1. an unobstructed and wide view of an extensive area in all directions.


What did you expect my blog to be about?


You already know I like your name because of my childhood memories of the comics character of the same name. The way you explain it makes me like it even more. Nice meaning.
The comics character name, the druid from Gaul, is also derived from 'panorama': the names of all the characters in those comics are based on such play on words: Panoramics, Obelix, Asterix, etc. including many ones that cannot be directly translated into English.

I hope this web site will grow in such a way as to allow members to have an "unobstructed and wide view of an extensive area in all directions", on policy, social and humanitarian matters...

Thanks for your contributions.


"What did you expect my blog to be about?"
Nothing specific. Another title for this entry would have better reflected the content as well as your point. But don't worry. I'm only nit-picking.

I can think of other categories of people who are even more forgotten than the Palestinians. But it's not a competition. Any injustice is intolerable. Alone, I feel powerless. That's why I am eager to build a strong community of like-minded people here. I am looking forward to building something constructive with you and others.

Ohhh, you mean the title of

Ohhh, you mean the title of my blog post is misleading. I thought you meant my name 'Panoramics' was misleading.

You got it! :)

I like your name, and I am appreciative of your contributions. As as said: you did some good research.

Oppressive oligarchy

Tags:+Mob rule +Oligarchy +Representative democracy

What we have today in our so-called democracies is an oppressive oligarchy: we are ruled by a self-serving elite. That's what we are both fighting. The USA is a representative democracy in name only. We agree that it is not a democracy in any sense of the term.

Jewish people are a majority in Israel, but even so, we could argue that if Israel and her neighbours were real democracies, the fate of the Palestinian minorities would be better.

Check the wiki article on mob rule, and follow the links to the related wikipedia articles. It's important to use the terms as they are commonly defined. Oligarchy and mob rule are two different things.

Confusing terminology

The terminology can be very confusing. I actually define democracy as direct democracy (with plurality voting on issues. Two rounds of plurality voting would be best.)

Perhaps democracy defined as majority rule is not the best definition. Democracy should be defined as direct democracy for all adults under the jurisdiction of an authority having highest say. I'm not that good with words is the problem.

I'll write a blog post on this.

Deviation into Genocide

Tags:+International Law

The Israel-Palestine situation deviates between genocide and apartheid in severity. Almost a month into the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza that ended up killing 2,104 Palestinians, a post was uploaded to the Israeli newspaper The Times of Israel by Yochanan Gordon titled "When Genocide is Permissible."

An Israeli newspaper appeared to attempt to avert a backlash on Friday evening, when it removed a post entitled 'When Genocide is Permissible' from its website less than a minute after it was uploaded.

The post, made live on The Times of Israel website at 5:36pm, was written by Yochanan Gordon regarding Israel’s current offensive in Gaza.

More than 1,400 Palestinians have died in the almost month-long war, and nearly 7,000 wounded. Israel says that alongside the deaths of 63 of its soldiers, two civilians and a Thai national have died and more than 400 have been injured.1

On September 24, a special session of the Russell Tribunal critically scrutinized Israel’s summer assault on Gaza, Operation Protective Edge, from the perspective of international law, including the core allegation of genocide. The process involved a series of testimonies by legal and weapons experts, health workers, journalists and others, some of whom directly experienced the fifty days of military assault.2

It should be noted that both apartheid and genocide require determination of intent on the part of the assessors.

A test of apartheid cannot be confined, methodologically, to identifying discrete policies and practices, such as those listed under the Apartheid Convention. Such policies and practices must be found to serve the purpose or intention of imposing racial domination and oppression on a subordinated racial group. In somewhat circular reasoning, international law provides that discrete “inhuman acts” acquire the status of a crime against humanity only if they intentionally serve that purpose, but establishes that such a purpose requires the identification of related inhuman acts. The solution is to examine the context in which acts and motives are configured: that is, whether the State itself is designed to ensure “the domination of a racial group or groups over any other racial group or groups”. (For example, in South Africa, State institutions were designed to ensure incontestable domination by whites and, particularly, Dutch-Afrikaners.)3

Much of the concern in the jury deliberations before and after the proceedings themselves was how to address the allegation of genocide, which has been described as “the crime of crimes.” The jury was sensitive to the differences between the popular and political uses of the word “genocide,” to describe various forms of collective violence directed at ethnic and religious minorities, and the more demanding legal definition of genocide, which requires compelling evidence of specific “intent to destroy.”

The testimony made this issue complex and sensitive. It produced a consensus on the jury that the evidence was sufficient to make it appropriate to give careful consideration as to whether the crime of genocide had actually been committed by Israel. This was itself an acknowledgment that there was a genocidal atmosphere in Israel, in which high-level officials made statements supporting the destruction or elimination of the Gazans as a people. Such inflammatory assertions were at no time repudiated by the leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or subject to criminal investigation, let alone any other official proceedings. Furthermore, the sustained bombardment of Gaza, under circumstances where the population had no opportunity to leave or to seek sanctuary within the Gaza Strip, lent further credibility to the charge. The fact that Operation Protective Edge was the third large-scale, sustained military assault on this unlawfully blockaded, impoverished and endangered population also formed part of the larger genocidal context.[2]

A crime is still a crime regardless of whether the criminal openly admits to it. It's not actually necessary for Israel to admit to committing genocide for it to be the case. However, genocidal language on top of genocidal behaviour is present in the Israeli regime.

Despite these factors, there were legal doubts as to the crime itself. The political and military leaders of Israel never explicitly endorsed the pursuit of genocidal goals, and they purported to seek a ceasefire during the military campaign. The tribunal convincingly documented the government’s goal of intensifying the regime of collective punishment, but there was no clear official expression of intent to commit genocide. The presence of genocidal behavior and language, even if used in government circles, is not by itself sufficient to conclude that Protective Edge, despite its enormity, amounted to the commission of the crime of genocide.

What the jury did agree upon, however, was that some Israeli citizens and leaders appear to have been guilty in several instances of the separate crime of incitement to genocide, which is specified in Article 3(c) of the Genocide Convention. It also agreed that the additional duty of Israel and other parties to prevent genocide, especially the United States and Europe, was definitely engaged by Israeli behavior. In this regard, the Russell Tribunal is sending an incriminating message of warning to Israel and an appeal to the UN and the international community to uphold the Genocide Convention, and to prevent any further behavior by Israel that would cross the line.

Israel is already far over the line. Israel was founded on the ethnic cleansing (through forcible displacement) of an estimated 800,000 Palestinians from areas that became part of the internationally recognized territory of Israel in 1948.4 The Palestinians have the right to self-defence any time Israel is over the green line and any time Israel refuses to respect the Palestinian right of return which is called for by international law.5

Genocide, apartheid, and situations in between require an international response. The international response should include condemnation, boycotts, divestment, sanctions, and withdrawal of any financial and military support provided to the aggressor.

  • 1. Gander, Kashmira. "Israel-Gaza conflict: 'When Genocide is Permissible' article removed from The Times of Israel website." The Independent, 1 Aug. 2014, Accessed 5 Jul. 2017.
  • 2. Falk, Richard. "Is Israel Guilty of Genocide in Its Assault on Gaza?" The Nation, 6 Oct. 2014, Accessed 5 Jul. 2017.
  • 3. "Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid." Palestine and the Israeli Occupation, Issue No. 1, Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, 2017, p. 30, Accessed 5 Jul. 2017.
  • 4. See Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (London, Oxford One World Press, 2006).
  • 5. The right of refugees to return is specified in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (article 5 (d) (ii)).