Visiting professor parallels events in Israel to South African historyDate Released: Wed, 8 October 2014 11:00 +0200
Fred Hendricks compares experience in Gaza to that of his own
On Thursday evening, South African professor Fred Hendricks — a former anti-apartheid activist — gave a talk entitled “Israel, an Apartheid State?”
Hendricks, a visiting professor from Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, drew a crowd to the Black Student Union lounge with his event.
According to Hendricks, the United Nations (U.N.) defined apartheid as inhuman acts committed in order to establish the domination of a racial group by another one and using this domination to systematically oppress them.
He said that the three essential parts of apartheid are racial groups, inhumane acts, and the systematic and institutionalized nature of the oppression. According to Hendricks, such a state exists in Israel.
“Race is a biological fiction, yet it is a very profound social reality,” Hendricks said.
Hendricks specifically discussed the events of “Operation Protective Edge,” which was carried out this summer in the Gaza Strip. According to him, the fighting had left 2,200 people dead, the majority of them civilians.
He also spoke about seven U.N. schools sheltering civilians that he said were bombed by the Israeli military after the U.N. had warned the Israeli military 17 times of the exact location of these schools.
“Hamas observing the ceasefire had not fired any rockets since 2012,” Hendricks said. “Of course there are a range of splinter groups of which Hamas does not have complete control, but the fact of the matter is that Hamas officially observed the ceasefire.”
He said that before the escalation of violence leading up to the launching of “Operation Protective Edge,” the number of rockets launched from Gaza had decreased.
“We have to ask ourselves, is this simply defending yourself or are you doing something else?” Hendricks said.
To illustrate his point, Hendricks presented a map of four images of changes with Israel’s borders between 1946 and 2011.
“Today, Israel occupies 80 percent of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea … it is a systematic settler colonial land grab,” Hendricks said.
He said that his arguments were focused on fact and not religion or faith.
“What I want to make very clear here is that this is not an issue of being anti-Semitic at all, it is a question of how we deal with the nature of oppression of the Palestinian people,” Hendricks said.
The Students for Justice in Palestine, the Confronting Racism Coordinating Committee and the Graduate African Student Organization sponsored this event. Toivo Asheeke, a doctoral candidate studying sociology, explained that he organized the talk in part because of his personal background.
“I did this event because firstly as a Namibian of black-American decent, because during [Namibia’s] history Israel has come out against Namibia’s independence … and funded and trained Apartheid soldiers,” Asheeke said.
By David Zeiger
Franz Lino/Photo Editor
Source: Bupipedream website
Caption: South African professor Fred Hendricks, a former anti-apartheid activist, gave a talk entitled “Israel, an Apartheid State?” Hendricks, a visiting professor from Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa drew a crowd to the Black Student Union student lounge on Thursday evening.