Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University

Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA)


Second International Conference on Palestine


June 18-23, 2021


Challenging Apartheid in Palestine:

Reclaiming the Narrative, Formulating A Vision




Session I: The Palestinian Struggle and the Case Against Apartheid Israel

Session Chair: Prof. Sami Al-Arian, CIGA, IZU, Turkey

The Palestinian Nakba: Decolonizing History, Reclaiming Memory

Dr. Salman Abu Sitta Palestine Land Society, UK

Israel and the Question of Apartheid

Prof. Richard Falk, Princeton University (Emeritus), USA, Queen Mary University, London, UK

Israel and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution: What does the HRW Report Reveal?

Mr. Omar Shakir, Human Rights Watch, USA

Salman Abu Sitta

There is nothing in the history of settler colonialism more founded on deception, more supported by many manifestations of power, more subject to multifaceted kinds of wars than the case of the Zionist conquest of Palestine. The stubborn resistance of the Palestinians for more than a hundred years is one thing. But the attempt to obliterate their history and geography within memory-- as recorded in live archives-- is another. The quest for documenting Palestine became a kind of resisting this obliteration. The Zionist invasion of Palestine seized not only the land but all public and private records. The Palestinians carried with them their oral history.

 I will talk about Palestinian efforts in translating memory into documentation of Palestine’s history and geography. This task required the search in world libraries, collating the information, documenting it in a scientific manner. This in turn has led to creating the image of free Palestine after the Right of Return, the cornerstone of Palestinian rights, is implemented.

Richard Falk

Increasingly, there is an international acceptance for the identification of Israel as an apartheid state. The apartheid discourse as it pertains to Israel, which rests on the authority of International Apartheid Convention of 1973 and the Rome Statute that governs the operations of the International Criminal Court has been delimited in three alternative versions: (1) Apartheid applies to the dual system of laws in the Occupied Territory of the West Bank, with one law for the Jewish settlers and another for the Palestinian residents; (2) Apartheid applies to the whole of the mandated territory administered by the UK, that is, Occupied Palestine plus Israel; (3) Apartheid applies to the entirety of the Palestinian people. Most proponents of the apartheid label favor (2) & (3). This presentation argues that (3) alone is responsive to the legal requirements of self-determination for the Palestinian people.

Omar Shakir

In April 2021, Human Rights Watch released a 213-page report, “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution,” which evaluates Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). Drawing on years of human rights documentation, case studies and a review of government planning documents, statements by officials and other sources, the report finds that Israeli authorities are committing the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution based on an overarching Israeli government policy to maintain the domination by Jewish Israelis over Palestinians and grave abuses committed against Palestinians living in the OPT.

 In this session, Omar Shakir, Human Rights Watch’s Israel and Palestine Director, will lay out the report’s findings and recommendations, describe how the organization reached this determination and assess the implications for how the international community engages in the Israeli and Palestinian context.


Session II: The Reality of Occupation and Meaning of Resistance

Session Chair: Prof. Abdalrahman Migdad, CIGA, IZU, Turkey

The '48 Palestinians and the Palestinian National Project: Examining their Role and future Prospects

Prof. As’ad Ghanem, University of Haifa

The Gaza Story: An Account of Determination and Resistance

Ms. Laila El-Haddad, Author, USA

Political Prisoners: Recounting the Human Toll

Dr. Ramzy Baroud, Palestine Chronicles, USA, CIGA, Turkey

The Forgotten Prisoners: Targeting Palestinian Activism in the US

Mr. Amith Gupta, Coalition for Civil Freedoms, USA

Palestinian Women in Grassroots Mobilization

Prof. Maha Nassar, University of Arizona, USA

As’ad Ghanem

Until the first intifada (1987-1992), the Palestinian National Movement was a source of inspiration for Palestinians in Israel, which helped strengthen their Palestinian identity and arrange some important collective institutions. However, the failure of the Palestinian national movement to achieve its objectives, and the significant decline in its performance contributed to the fading of this source of inspiration, and a significant decline in the national situation of Palestinians in Israel. Their political experience has proven their failure in achieving their collective goals as a national minority that are separate from the general Palestinian national movement that is collided with the ethnic and colonial structure of the state of Israel. This situation invites a new project that considers fusing in the restructuring of the general Palestinian people national organization and aspirations of one national group with Palestinians in Israel being part of it.

Laila El-Haddad

Gaza is often considered in terms that obfuscate its history and its present reality.  Uniquely considered both victim and aggressor, and often in terms that are hyper symbolic and metaphorical, it has taken on a larger than life, often caricatured representation by both friends and foes, detracting from its complex multi-faceted actualities and what’s really at stake.  Why does this even matter, and why is Gaza so pivotal to understanding the Palestinian struggle?  What stories does Gaza tell us about the Palestinian experience and what lessons can we learn from its residents about dogged determination to stay human and retain dignity in the face of impossible odds?   

Ramzy Baroud

It would be utterly unfair to box Palestinian prisoners into convenient categories of victims or terrorists, because both classifications render an entire nation either victim or terrorist, a notion that does not reflect the true nature of the decades-long Palestinian struggle against colonialism, military occupation and the entrenched Israeli apartheid. There have been between 750,000 and 800,000 Palestinians imprisoned since the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in June 1967 including 23,000 women and 25,000 children. Currently, there are approximately 5,000 Palestinian political prisoners in Israel, a number that is constantly growing, not only because Israel insists on maintaining its military occupation, but also because Palestinians insist on their right to resist it. My talk will be centered on presenting the reality of the prisoners through the writings and various kinds of expressions of the prisoners themselves, an attempt to link that narrative of resistance, imprisonment, and freedom to the larger subject of resistance, imprisonment, and freedom of the Palestinian people.

Amith Gupta

This presentation will discuss the history of the legalized repression of Palestine solidarity activism within U.S. borders from the COINTELPRO period until present day. The presentation will focus on how changing laws pertaining to immigration, surveillance, political expression, and national security have attempted to destroy opposition to U.S. support for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

Maha Nassar

My argument for this paper is that 1948 Palestinian women drew on the long history of Palestinian woman's mobilization to work towards the improvement of their lives as a minority community in Israel. But they faced colonial feminist discourses from Jewish Israeli women who insisted on seeing them as backwards, traditional, and in need of the modernizing hands of the Israeli State. This dynamic continued for many decades, even as Palestinian women organized more formally and independently. Today, younger generations of Palestinian women are positioning themselves and their work in more explicit anti-colonial terms. So my talk is divided into two parts, the first is on the history of Palestinian woman's mobilizations inside Israel and the challenges they faced. The second is on the more recent transformations, and how a younger generation of Palestinian women in 48 lands is more explicitly positioning themselves and their struggle in clear anti-colonial and Palestinian terms.


Session III: The Dialectics between Zionist Settler-Colonialism, Racism, and Palestinian Decolonization

Session Chair: Mr. Uveys Han, CIGA, IZU, Turkey

Zionism, Anti-Semitism, Colonization

Prof. Joseph Massad, Columbia University, USA

Palestine, Islamophobia, and Global Decolonization

Prof. Salman Sayyid, University of Leeds, UK

A Century of Colonization and Resistance: What Does it tell us about the Future?

Prof. Ilan Pappé , University of Exeter, UK

The Youth Movement in the Palestinian Struggle

Prof. Loubna Qutami, University of California, Los Angeles, USA

Joseph Massad

Colonialism, anti-Semitism, and Zionism have been intertwined since the 19th century. The idea that informed these ideologies and practices first emerged in the last quarter of the 18th century and came to intersect and overlap a century later with the expansion of European colonialism worldwide. The lecture will track the foundational ideas that informed these movements and how they interact in Zionist settler-colonial ideology today, whether in Israel, or among the ranks of its Western supporters.  The lecture will examine the ways Zionism and Israel have been at pains since the 1930s to deny and disavow their ongoing connections to European colonialism and anti-Semitism, and to project both instead on their detractors to safeguard their colonial-settler project.

Salman Sayyid

One way to think about Islamophobia is to see it as a process for the racial palestinianisation of Muslimness. That is, a sustained political logic that translates colonial governmentality to contemporary postcolonial world order, in which sovereignty and agency are permanently deferred, in which collective identities are subject to fragmentation and asymmetries in power between oppressor and oppressed are presented as reversed. This process of palestinianisation can be seen at work in Kashmir, East Turkestan, and Burma, to name the most obvious current examples. Kashmiris, Uyghurs, Rohingya are subject to palestinianisation as product of institutional state led Islamophobia in these spaces. There is, however,  another aspect of global palestinianisation based on the struggle for Palestine becoming the surface of inscription for justice and decolonisation throughout the world.  Palestine is a floating signifier, which circulates globally as a marker of intense racialised governmentality and resistance.  In this paper, I want to explore palestinianisation as the dialectic of racialisation and decolonisation.

Ilan Pappe

There is a huge gap between the reality unfolding in Palestine in the last 130 years and the way it is framed even today by the Western academia, diplomacy, media and politics. The anti-colonialist nature of the Palestinian struggle and the settler colonial nature of the state of Israel are ignored in the West. But this changing within the Western civil society and this framing of colonialism/anticolonialism has been accepted outside the West long time ago, when in 1975 the UN equated Zionism with racism. This paper will ask how can we seize this shift in framing and understanding in helping the struggle for freedom in Palestine . 

Loubna Qutami

Enduring seventy-three years of Zionist colonial occupation and dispossession, Palestinians continue to fight life and limb for the liberation of their land and people. At the core of the recent uprisings, now referred to as the Unity Intifada, is a new generation of Palestinians utilizing every tool in their arsenal to attain freedom. Just like the generations before them, young Palestinians are experimenting with strategies, theories, ideas and techniques to achieve freedom while rekindling a spirit of collective sociality among their people in the homeland and the shatat. This talk examines the key contributions youth movements have made historicaly to Palestinian struggle. It examines the key challenges that face a new generation of youth organizers still reeling from the effects of the Oslo debacle while also focusing on the tremendous potential the current moment has posited for and by emergent youth movements.


Session IV: Recounting The Palestinian Story

Session Chair: Ms. Lamis Jamal Alayan, Al-Awda Coalition, USA

Decolonizing Knowledge on Palestine

Prof. Ahlam Muhtaseb, California State University, San Bernardino, USA

The Search for Truth: Examining The Zionist Narrative

Mr. Josh Ruebner, Author and Political Analyst, USA

The Struggle for Freedom and Human Rights

Mr. Sha’wan Jabarin, Al-Haq, Palestine

The Inviolability of Jerusalem

Prof. Abdallah Marouf Omar, Istanbul 29 Mayis University, Turkey

Ahlam Muhtaseb

Decolonizing Knowledge on Palestine Through Media

In an attempt to disrupt the normalized discourse on Palestine, in and outside of academia, I will share my own scholarly journey of producing a narrative on the colonization of Palestine that challenges the Israeli hegemonic one. Using Said’s (1984) “Permission to Narrate” and Smith’s (2012) Decolonizing Methodologies: Research & Indigenous People as guiding lens, I aim to provide some of the challenges that we, critical media scholars who teach/study Palestine, face when attempting to center Palestinian indigenous narratives in and outside of academia, and to also celebrate some of our success stories enforcing those narratives. In the process, I will shed light on my journey, and that of my co-director,  producing the documentary 1948: Creation & Catastrophe, and I will share some of the case studies that I have been lately examining in terms of social media hegemonic and counter-hegemonic practices during the latest Palestinian uprising against Israeli war crimes.

Josh Ruebner

Recent reports by Human Rights Watch and the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem have amplified what Palestinians have been documenting and experiencing for more than seven decades: that Israel operates an apartheid regime of Jewish supremacy which subjugates the indigenous Palestinian population. The discursive challenges to Israel's legitimacy have never been greater.  However, these challenges are not new, even within policy circles in the United States, the country which has provided Israel the overarching political support to maintain its apartheid rule. This presentation will examine past US policy concerns with the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine and alternatives that were proposed. These historical debates should be resurfaced today to help point the way forward to alternative paradigms for a just resolution now that the two-state paradigm embodied by the Oslo process has irretrievably collapsed.  

Sha’wan Jabarin

The 2021 popular uprising has clearly reminded the world that the Palestinian struggle for freedom and human rights is still alive. Over the past 73 years, Israel has been systematically applying discriminatory policies and practices of racial segregation over the Palestinian people as
a whole, amouting to an aparthied. Israel methodically denies Palestinians of their fundamental rights and freedoms, including through the denial of residency, permit regimes, land confiscation, discriminatory zoning and planning, segregation, pillage of natural resources, state complicity with non-state actors, and denial of return. In doing so, this has gradually enabled Israel to entrench its subjugation, dominance and exploitation over the Palestinian people and their lands. It is more than ever urgent for the international community to shift its discourse within the framework of settler-colonialism and apartheid, in support for Palestinian unity, rights and freedoms.

Abdallah Marouf Omar

Jerusalem has always been one of the most important aspects of the Palestinian issue. It represents numerous angles of the Palestinian issue that interest people of different backgrounds. Religious status of Jerusalem attracts many cultures and faiths. Also, as a humanitarian issue, Jerusalem manifests humanitarian crisis in its peak. This can also be argued regarding the historical status of the city and its role in the national background of the Palestinians.

Due to its significance and tremendous status, is could be argued that Jerusalem in inviolable. Despite all the trials of the Israeli occupation and the efforts of the Trump administration, Jerusalem has proven that its status as an active generator of action in the region cannot be downgraded or ignored


Session V: Exploring A Framework for Dismantling Israeli Apartheid

Session Chair: Mr. Na’eem Jeenah, Afro-Middle East Center, South Africa

Confronting Israel's Settler Colonialism and Apartheid System: An Equal Rights Approach

Dr. Ghada Karmi, Former Research Fellow, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter, UK

Dismantling Apartheid: Learning from the South African Struggle

Mr. Ebrahim Rasool, World for All, former Diplomat, South Africa

Challenging Apartheid in Palestine: Examining Israeli Imperatives and Structural Factors

Prof. Sami Al-Arian, CIGA, Istanbul Zaim University, Turkey

Ebrahim Rasool

The use of the word 'apartheid' to describe the reality in Palestine has successfully positioned the Palestinian struggle in the popular imagination as a struggle against a regime that both discriminated against, and dispossessed, the Palestinian people. That epithet now stands in need of more substantial power by learning how such states were defeated and dismantled through resistance against a powerful state, against narratives that succored them, and within a treacherous geo-political environment. The South African struggle teaches that while the world is changing, its transformation depends on how liberation movements read the opportunities and perils change holds; read both the balances of forces and power, and how the available strategic paths and tactical options are sequenced, deployed and empowered with a unifying vision and authentic narrative, thus anticipating transition and galvanizing the momentum for change.

Ghada Karmi

It is now established that the state of Israel has been running an apartheid regime, not only in the pos-1967 occupied Palestinain territories, but also in 1948-Israel. Several major reports between 2017 and the current time have been published detailing this apartheid system. It could not have been otherwise, since Zionism, the state's ideology, was built on the idea of building an entity for Jews, to the exclusion of non-Jews. The same policy has been pursued from 1948 until the present time. It has entailed ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, subjecting those that remained to racial discrimination, and preventing the return of refugees expelled in 1948 and since. The issue that faces Palestinians is how to eradicate apartheid from there. This paper argues for an equal rights approach to include current unequal citizens of Israel, and all other Palestinians Israel currently rules.

Sami Al-Arian

For over a century the Zionist movement has embarked on an aggressive program of dual objectives: settler-colonialism of the historical land of Palestine and ethnic cleansing of its indigenous population. To realize these objectives the Zionist project relied heavily on several strategic imperatives (which I had outlined in my paper presented in 2019 at CIGA’s First International Conference on Palestine (See: This paper is a sequel of that presentation. It will first briefly discuss the Palestinian, Arab, and international responses to the Zionist challenge and onslaught and why they have utterly failed. It will also argue, based on historical, objective, and rational analysis, that the only realistic, just, attainable, and peaceful outcome of the over century-old conflict is the total dismantlement of the Zionist project and its manifestation of colonialist-racist institutions and structures. In addition, how this could be achieved will be briefly outlined.


Session VI: A Conversation on Palestine after the recent Gaza War/HRW Report

Guest: Prof. Norman Finkelstein, Academic and Author, USA

Moderator: Prof. Nader Hashemi, Center for Middle East Studies, University of Denver, USA


Session VII: Examining How the Apartheid Industry Functions

Session Chair: Mr. Ubeyd Ruff, CIGA, IZU, Turkey

Resisting the Erasure of Palestine: A Social Movement Analysis of the Apartheid Industry in Education and the Academy

Prof. Rabab Abdelhadi, San Francisco State University, USA

In the Law

Ms. Huwaida Arraf, National Lawyers Guild, USA

In  the Media

Mr. Rami Khouri, American University of Beirut, Lebanon

In Culture

Ms. Rawan Damen, Media Consultant and Filmmaker, Jordan

Rabab Abdulhadi

For over 10 years, Israel lobby groups have orchestrated a relentless campaign within and outside SFSU to dismantle the AMED studies in order to delegitimize Teaching Palestine and the decolonization of knowledge as a legitimate and necessary part of the academic curriculum within and outside California and the United States. These attacks include smear campaigns, wanted-style Islamophobic and racist ads against Professor Abdulhadi and her students, death threats, a failed but time and energy consuming federal lawsuit. Zionists have also waged an intensive campaign to cancel her lectures at university campuses, such as Columbia and Syracuse Universities and pressured the AAUP to rescind the Georgina Smith Award. The open classrooms she co-organized in response to the global pandemic (with her colleagues Tomomi Kinukawa, Sean Malloy and Saliem Shehadeh) were censored by private tech companies, Zoom, Facebook, YouTube and Eventbrite. Enabling this censorship is a university administration that is corporatized and that is more accountable to donor behind-the-scenes pressures more than to the public. Most recently, Facebook deleted the page of AMED Studies that includes the program archives. In this presentation, Professor Abdulhadi will offer a social movement analysis of the Zionist campaign as well as stategies for resisting erasuse of Palestine and the silencing of scholarship, pedagogy and advocacy for justice in/for Palestine.  

Huwaida Arraf

Apartheid (“apartness” in Afrikaans) is the term coined to describe the system of institutionalized racial discrimination practiced from 1948 through the early 1990s in South Africa. In 1973, the UN General Assembly adopted the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, declaring apartheid a crime against humanity with a scope extending beyond South Africa. The 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court omitted all references to South Africa in its definition of ‘the crime of apartheid’ and the term is now defined globally as a crime against humanity. For over two decades, Palestinians have been accusing Israel of practicing apartheid. Yet, only recently has the apartheid framework gained traction in the legal field. Why? How do Israel’s policies and practices fit the legal definition of apartheid? What legal recourse do Palestinians have to hold Israel accountable for this international crime? What are the challenges?

Rami Khouri

The traditional pattern of apartheid-based subjugation and negation of Palestinian views in the global media during the past century relied on several parallel efforts that allowed Zionist propaganda views to dominate the media (including cinema), and to minimize or keep Palestinian and balanced views out of the global public sphere. Zionist propaganda as of 1900 successfully portrayed the Palestinian people in the Western eye and mind as either invisible people who did not exist and did not share the same rights as Jews and others, or as dangerous extremists who were consecutively linked with enemies of the West, even as those enemies evolved over time (Nazi sympathizers, Communists, terrorists, oil blackmailers, allies of Iran and Al-Qaeda/ISIS, etc.). Working through lobbies and personal contacts among Western leaders and capitals, Zionists showed how an Israeli-Jewish state in Palestine was a moral imperative, while the few local Arabs there only deserved subsidiary opportunities to work and pray, but not political or national rights. Zionist apartheid's successful suppression of balanced global media coverage of Palestine from 1900 to 2020 recently extended into the social media sphere, where pro-Palestinian posts are routinely blocked. Zionist apartheid also has worked to criminalize in the West pro-Palestinian views as antisemitic, and actions like BDS, with mixed success only. But we are in a historical turning point now, as the Sheikh Jarrah situation has shattered most Zionist myths and media propaganda, and Palestinians have had greater access to global media to tell their own story. This has reopened the global discussion of Israel as an apartheid state, and sparked more analysis of the crimes of 1915 and beyond in ethnic cleansing, colonization, denial of rights, crimes against humanity, war crimes, murder, incarceration, and many other spheres of life. 

Rawan Damen

Zionist apartheid strategy was to undermine Palestinian urban cultural identity. Zionists saw that Palestinian cities were a danger to their overall aims. That’s why they waged a brutal war against the cities. This talk reclaims the narrative of ‘The Palestinian City’ past and current; and formulate a vision of how culture can be a vehicle to challenge apartheid. It shows how Palestinian history is closely intertwined with the fate of its cities, and how during the 1948 ethnic cleansing known as ‘Al Nakba’, Israel drove most Palestinians out of these cities, stole their book and pictures, and Palestinian culture suffered a devastating blow. And how Palestinian narrative needs to stress the fact that there was cultural activity in Palestinian cities as one of the strongest proofs of the existence of a Palestinian people in Palestine.


Session VIII: Israel, the US, and the Apartheid Industry

Session Chair: Ms. Laila Al-Arian, Al Jazeera English, Washington DC, USA

US Foreign Policy and its Impact on Palestine and Palestinian Rights

Dr. Phyllis Bennis, Institute of Policy Studies, USA

Understanding the  Struggle Against White Supremacy and Zionism

Mr. Vincent Warren, Center for Constitutional Rights, New York, USA

Unholy Alliance: Exposing US Right Wing Movements in Supporting Israeli Apartheid

Ms. Estee Chandler, Jewish Voice for Peace, USA

Policing and the Security State: Unmasking Israel’s Role

Mr. Eran Efrati, Researching the American-Israeli Alliance, New York, USA

Phyllis Bennis

Since the rise of the “special relationship” between the US and Israel, unlimited US economic, military, diplomatic and political support and protection has characterized Washington’s ties with Tel Aviv. The support helped build Israel’s wealth and was crucial in the rise of its military power and nuclear arsenal, and protected Israeli military and political officials from being held accountable in the UN or the International Criminal Court. The result has been generations of impunity for Israeli crimes against Palestinians. Most of those policies towards Israel remain in place, resulting in a continuation of Israeli occupation and apartheid. White House rhetoric has changed – but many of the policies, including, crucially, the $3.8 billion in annual military aid remain in place.  What is different now is the dramatic shift in public, media, and now finally policy/congressional discourse on the issue.  Support for Palestinian rights is moving rapidly to the mainstream, and political actors are going to have a much more difficult time maintaining the pro-Israel status quo.

Vincent Warren

Not Available Yet

Estee Chandler

As Israel's policies and their electorate have spent at least 2 decades shifting further and further to the right, support for Israel in the U.S. is waning as younger American generations are judging Israel by their actions and without reflexive tribal biases. While Zionist organizations try to make convoluted arguments that Zionism is progressive, the strongest support for Israel’s ongoing occupation and apartheid government systems is found in far right-wing, White Nationalist, and “Alt-Right” racist movements.  Israel’s embrace of antisemites like Sebastian Gorka, a real-life Nazi and Islamophobe plus Brazil’s endorsement of settler-colonialism and military occupation in Palestine under far-right President Jair Bolsonaro exemplify a broader global trend of right-wing, far-right, and fundamentalist movements embracing Israel & Zionism as a model for the successful perpetuation of racist policies. Mainstream Jewish organizations attacking anti-racist organizations like Black Lives Matter, for their support of Palestinian human rights has added to the schism. 

Eran Efrati

Since 2002, thousands of US law enforcement officials have traveled to Occupied Palestinian Territory to train with Israeli security forces under the auspices of the US and Israeli-led "Global War on Terror." In these trainings, US law enforcement learns about Israeli methods and technologies ofsurveillance, racial profiling, and violent suppression of protest, intensifying the militarization of the US police. As Black Lives Matter and other social movements organize for accountability and abolition, my presentation will address how US police trainings in Israel work to undermine gains made over decades by civil rights and racial justice struggles. I will show that the joint trainings are designed to grow US-Israeli military industries and enhance US militarization, threatening the security and freedom of communities in Palestine and across the United States.


Session IX: Reversing Apartheid: The Role of the Law, Politics, Economics, and Popular Mobilization

Session Chair: Ms. Nora Barrows-Friedman, Electronic Intifada, USA

The Law and the Struggle Against Apartheid

Prof. John  Quigley, Ohio State University, USA

The Politics of Apartheid and its Resistance

Dr. Osama Abuirshaid, American Muslims for Palestine, USA       

The Role of Economics in the struggle against Occupation and Apartheid

Prof. Taher Labadi, University of Aix-Marseille, France

Narrative Unravelings: A Tripartite Personal Assessment of the Nonprofit, Academic and Grassroots Role in Challenging Israeli Apartheid Propaganda 

Dr. Omar Zahzah, Palestine Youth Movement, USA

John Quigley

Apartheid is defined as measures calculated to prevent racial groups from fully participating in the life of a country. The official definition lists acts that constitute apartheid, including deprivation of “the right to leave and to return to their country, the right to a nationality, the right to freedom of movement and residence.” This definition applies to Israel, in light of the expulsion of most of Palestine’s population, the refusal to permit that population to return, and the deprivation of their right to the nationality of their home country. Perpetration of apartheid is a crime cognizable in the International Criminal Court.

Osama Abuirshaid

In order to confront the Israeli apartheid regime at the political level, it is necessary to realize the magnitude and nature of the challenges facing this task. The first of these challenges is the Zionist lobby's attempts to confuse the characterization of Israel as an apartheid regime with anti-Semitism. The same applies to attempts to conflate criticism of Israel’s policies and the war crimes it commits with anti-Semitism. Also, there is an alliance between Zionism and the extreme right in the West and the evangelical movement, especially in the United States. In this context, it is essential to realize that Israel represents an instrument of Western imperialist colonialism in the heart of the Arab world. These challenges present us with opportunities to confront the Zionist movement if we invest in them properly. The Israeli policies of oppression and brutality made it more of a pariah in the global public consciousness, including in the west. Its policies of racial and religious discrimination and its inclination towards the extreme right allowed comparisons to be made between Zionism and theories of racial superiority, such as white supremacy, fascist ideologies, as well as violations of the rights of minorities in the West, especially blacks in the US. In the face of these monumental challenges facing the Israeli settler-colonial project in Palestine, the Zionist movement has no choice but to accuse every critic of Israel of anti-Semitism in an attempt to suppress and deter any discussion about it after realizing that they are unable to win the debate objectively. 

Taher Labadi

The development of an economy of resistance in Palestine is the subject of a growing body of work. Extending the critique of the "Oslo economy", their authors question the conditions and foundations of an alternative model of Palestinian economic development. The realization of an "economy of resistance" is then explicitly aimed at supporting the Palestinians in their struggle against Israeli settler colonialism. In this context, I will present the agricultural policy effort to reduce food insecurity and economically resist the blockade in the Gaza Strip. This effort contrasts with the policy of agricultural liberalism still practiced by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. This experience offers new and valuable empirical material for the study of the struggle against food insecurity and for resistance to colonialism, but also against the logics of the globalised market.

Omar Zahzah 

This paper will draw from the author’s experience as a nonprofit worker, academic and grassroots organizer to assess the particular yet converging roles that all three spheres have had in contributing to the current narrative shift we have seen regarding the Palestinian struggle. It seeks to categorize the specific ways that each context has and continues to contribute to the undoing of longstanding pro-Israel bias in US mainstream media and establishment political culture. Flashpoints such as the B’Tselem and Human Rights Watch reports accusing Israel of apartheid as well as the activism around the ongoing push to stop Israel’s displacement of Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan will be considered.


Session X : The Future of the Palestinian Struggle: Analysis and Prospects

Session Chair: Mr. Fadi Zatari, CIGA, IZU, Turkey

Examining the Realities on the Ground: A Hard Look at the Facts

Prof. Helga Baumgarten, Birzeit University, West Bank, Palestine

The Future of the Palestinian National Project: Exploring the Palestinian Options

Mr. Moin Al-Taher, Arab Center for Studies, Jordan

The US Administration and the Question of Palestine

Mr. Mouin Rabbani, Co-Editor, Jadaliyya, The Hague, The Netherlands

Arab Normalization with Israel and its impact on Palestine and the Region

Dr. Mohammad Makram Balawi, Union of Palestinian Academics, Istanbul, Turkey

Helga Baumgarten

I will start with the Israeli occupation, both, on the level of the army and the “security” services as well as on the level of the settlers: how does the occupation (settler colonialism in a particular apartheid form) impact the life of Palestinian society and of Palestinian “citizens”. I will then move to the Palestinian Authority, with a focus on the West Bank. What is life under the PA like for a Palestinian? What are the results of “security coordination” for politically active Palestinians? The second part will look at the struggle of Palestinians against these “facts on the ground”, both settler colonialism and an authoritarian Palestinian “rule”. My focus will be on initiatives from below, above all on a micro level.

Moin Al-Taher

The paper presents the Palestinians' different options regarding their national project aimed at liberating their country. It discusses the two-state solution option, which has clearly collapsed due to the Zionist entity’s adherence to its historical narrative, that was demonstrated by the spread of illegal settlements in the Palestinian territories, and the transformation of the Palestinian authority areas into isolated cantons. Thus, the proponents of this project have no choice but to accept a limited autonomy. On the other hand, the call for a one-state solution has grown as a result of the occupation’s control over the entire Palestinian territories and the end of the two-state solution. However, the features of this project are still abstract and far from the instruments needed to realize it. The paper proposes a different concept based on the fact that the time is not just appropriate to search for solutions as much as it requires an accumulation of struggle to change the current balance of power, based on the unity of Palestinian people, its goals, its territorial integrity, as well as its adherence to its historical narrative. Based on the above, the core issue here is the struggle against the Zionist Apartheid regime, which is being practiced against the various gatherings of the Palestinian people inside and outside Palestine in different forms, which provides the Palestinian people with multiple means of struggle to confront it.

Mouin Rabbani

The Biden administration has embraced some of the more consequential policy shifts undertaken during the Trump years, but also indicated a reversion to more traditional forms of US support for Israel. Although Biden and key US officials initially indicated they had more important foreign policy priorities than the Israeli-Palestinian relationship, developments on the ground demanded their attention. What shape will US engagement take, and what are its anticipated priorities? How can Palestinians influence this agenda to their advantage?

Mohammad Makram Balawi

During Trump’s administration, the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Golan highest did not end, and relations of Israel with the Palestinian Authority, were reduced to security coordination. Yet, many Arab countries started a normalization process with Israel, including Morocco, UAE and Bahrain. This represented a severe blow to Arab solidarity, anti-democratic forces, harmed the Palestinian cause, and encouraged foreign hegemony over the region. Normalization did not only harm the Palestinians but exposed the Arab despotism and the dichotomy between the masses and the political leadership that acts with popular support or commission. Therefore, all Arab intellectuals, and influencers are demanded to resist Arab normalization with Israel, for this does not serve Palestinian interests only, but Arab long term interests, as well.


Session XI: Dismantling Apartheid: Requirements and Criteria

Session Chair: Ms. Zeenat Adam, Afro-Middle East Center, South Africa

The Role of the Youth and University Campuses

Ms. Nerdeen Kiswani, CUNY-SPJ, New York, USA

BDS and Popular Resistance

Mr. Miko Peled, Author and Public Intellectual, USA

Building Political Alliances

Prof. Berdal Aral, Istanbul Medeniyet University, Turkey

On Forming A Global Solidarity Movement

Mr. Na’eem Jeenah, Afro-Middle East Center, South Africa

Following the May 2021 events in Palestine and continuing events in June, there have been massive expressions of support for the Palestinian people and criticism of Israel’s actions. It is debatable whether this moment represents a ‘turning point’ for Palestinian solidarity; it is undeniable that it throws up numerous opportunities to grow a global solidarity movement. While there have been many gains in the past decade to strengthen a global movement, the development has been uneven. The current moment also sparked greater respect globally for the internal Palestinian resistance, an aspect that has been ignored in many parts of the solidarity movement. This paper will consider the uneven development in solidarity across the world, discuss how the movement might be broadened, and discuss the need for a clearer vision, stronger strategizing and the choosing of appropriate tactics in the solidarity movement.

Nerdeen Kiswani

Not Available Yet This talk will explore strategies of student organizing for Palestine on campus, what has been effective, and where we can build. The struggle for Palestinian liberation against Zionist forces on campus has made many gains over the years. While students continue to face repression for Palestine organizing, the tide is turning in our favor. The student movement can provide revolutionary leadership if it is integrated among broader progressive struggles to build power for oppressed people. Palestine organizing that is rooted in concrete political goals of the collapse of U.S. imperialism, and dismantlement of zionist institutions, have kept our movement strong against being watered down and stripped from its anti-colonial roots. This has also helped turn zionist attacks into organizing opportunities to further the Palestinian struggle. We will discuss how to build for Palestine on campus, and how zionist campaigns have backfired where there are sustained Palestine organizing efforts.

Miko Peled

After half a century of preparations, in 1948 the Zionist movement had established an apartheid regime in Palestine. Throughout 1948 Zionist militia conducted a campaign of ethnic cleansing, leaving only a fraction of the indigenous Palestinian population in Palestine. Once established, the apartheid regime created two sets of laws for the people they governed. Democratic laws for the Jewish population, and oppressive, discriminatory laws for the Palestinian population. In seven decades the apartheid regime gained significant power and legitimacy even as the situation for Palestinians deteriorated. Palestinian armed resistance had emerged only to be crushed by overwhelming military force. In 2005 Palestinians embarked on two parallel forms of resistance. The Popular Resistance campaign and the call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. These, along with support groups in the West, particularly on campuses, have helped to weaken Zionist legitimacy and amplify the Palestinian call for justice and freedom.

After half a century of preparations, in 1948 the Zionist movement had established an apartheid regime in Palestine. Throughout 1948 Zionist militia conducted a campaign of ethnic cleansing, leaving only a fraction of the indigenous Palestinian population in Palestine. Once established, the apartheid regime created two sets of laws for the people they governed. Democratic laws for the Jewish population, and oppressive, discriminatory laws for the Palestinian population.

Berdal Aral

Building political alliances for the Palestinian cause is not only about finding allies who are aware of the Palestinian problem and are prepared to engage in activities to advance the cause of the Palestinian victims against the Zionist occupation. It is also about the allies becoming aware of the common threads that run through the Palestinian suffering and their own oppression which are ultimately tied to the same white supremacist global hegemonic order. Besides, alliance building with the Palestinians is part of the overall resistance of a variety of actors against the Zionist occupation that seeks to alienate and punish the oppressor.

Na’eem Jeenah

Not Available Yet


Session XII: The Role of Film and the Arts in the Palestinian Struggle: A Conversation with Palestinian Artists

Moderators: Mr. Frank Barat, Independent Film Maker, Belgium, and Prof. Abdullah Al-Arian, Georgetown University in Doha, Qatar


Ms. Susan Abulhawa, Novelist, USA

Mr. Saleh Bakri, Actor, Palestine

Ms. Annemarie Jacir, Filmmaker, Palestine

Ms. Farah Nabulsi, Filmmaker & Human Rights Advocate, UK


Session XIII: A Conversation on Dismantling Israeli Apartheid in Palestine and the Way Forward

Guest: Dr. Azmi Bishara, President, Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, Doha, Qatar

Moderator: Prof. Sami A. Al-Arian, CIGA, IZU, Turkey