"Thirty five years ago today, a peaceful general strike by Israeli-Palestinians was met with bullets. Six people were killed and hundreds of others injured or arrested in what became known as Land Day. Two and a half months later, the Soweto uprisingbegan in South Africa, claiming far more lives, but laying down a marker in the struggle against apartheid. The timing of the two revolts melded the stirrings of solidarity consciousness with the Palestinians to apartheid comparisons with South Africa.
Three years before, in 1973, the UN General Assembly had adopted the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid. Its definition of apartheid applied to “inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.”
The question of whether Palestinians and Jews actually constitute distinct and separate racial groups is moot, but Israel’s domination and systematic oppression of Palestinians within and without the 1949 armistice line is well documented. The clear and accurate comparisons made by Bishop Desmond Tutu, the UN’s special rapporteurs John Dugard and Richard Falk, Uri Davis, and many others are not easily dispatched. But questions of terminology are political, as well as legal."