Josh Ruebner: Israel – Democracy or Apartheid State?

Video & Transcript
with Josh Ruebner
Transcript No. 490 (January 31, 2018)

Mohamed K. Mohamed:
Good afternoon everybody. Thank you all for joining us today on this cold day. So, 2017 marked a year of significant milestones in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. One hundred years ago, the British government issued the Balfour Declaration, calling for the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine. Seventy years ago, the UN recommended the partition of Palestine into two states, a Jewish state and an Arab state, and the decision paved the way for the establishment of the State of Israel a year later on 78 percent of historic Palestine, amid widespread ethnic cleansing of indigenous Palestinian inhabitants. Fifty years ago, Israel militarily occupied the Palestinian West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, and that’s an occupation that endures to this day. In light of these milestones, Josh draws on personal anecdotes and reflections, historical documents and legal analyses to answer one of the most pressing issues in international affairs today, which is: is Israel a democracy or does its separate and unequal treatment of the Palestinian people render it an apartheid state? With President Donald Trump’s willingness to explore a one-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the question gains immediacy, as Josh argues that any settlement of the conflict must be based on freedom, dignity, and equality.

So [here is] a little bit about Josh: he is the policy director of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, which is a national coalition of hundreds of organizations working together for freedom, justice, and equality for Palestinians. He is a former analyst in Middle East Affairs at Congressional Research Service, which is a federal government agency providing members of Congress with policy analysis. Josh holds a graduate degree in International Affairs from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies here in Washington. His analysis and commentary on U.S. policy toward the Middle East appeared frequently in media such as NBC, ABC Nightline, CSPAN, Al Jazeera, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, The Hill, and Huffington Post, and he is also the author of Shattered Hopes: Obama’s Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace. Without further ado, please join me in welcoming Josh Reubner.

Josh Ruebner:

Thank you very much, Mohamed, for that kind introduction, and thank you very much to The Palestine Center for inviting me here today to launch my book, Israel: Democracy or Apartheid State? Thank you all for coming out on this cold day, and thanks to you watching at home or at the office via computer.

It’s difficult to imagine two more polar opposite personalities or political figures in the history of Apartheid South Africa than Hendrick Verwoerd and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Today, Verwoerd is largely a forgotten figure outside of his homeland of South Africa, but nevertheless he was a key, the instrumental person, in constructing the modern-day, twentieth century apartheid in South Africa when he served as the country’s prime minister during the formative years of the development of modern apartheid. Desmond Tutu, on the other hand, is an iconic figure, revered around the world for his spiritual, moral, and political organizing against apartheid, and his leadership in the transition to a post-apartheid, democratic South Africa, leading the Truth and Reconciliation Committee there. So, to have two opposite figures like Verwoerd and Tutu, it’s hard to imagine. But in one respect, they agreed on one thing politically — which is hard to fathom — and that is Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people. Verwoerd said, in a 1961 interview, that “the Jews took Israel from the Arabs after the Arabs had lived there for 1000 years. Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state.” On the other hand of the political spectrum, you have Archbishop Desmond Tutu writing in The Guardian in 2002, in an article entitled “Apartheid in the Holy Land,” that his visit there “reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa.” So here you have, from the polar extremes, the establisher of modern-day apartheid and one of the people most credited with its dismantling agreeing that Israel does in fact practice apartheid towards the Palestinian people. What better authorities could we have than that?

Too often the debate in the United States about whether Israel does or does not practice apartheid toward the Palestinian people revolves around a mistaken conception and a mistaken comparison: whether Israel is or is not like South Africa. In many respects, Israel is very different than apartheid South Africa was. For example—and Israel’s defenders and promoters in the United States will tell you this—Israel is not an apartheid state, because Israel allows what they call Arab Israelis, in other words, denationalized Palestinian indigenous citizens of the state of Israel, they offer the enfranchisement, the vote to Palestinian citizens of Israel. And furthermore, Israel’s supporters will point to the fact that, in the last decade, a judge by the name of Salim Joubran became the first Palestinian citizen of Israel to be appointed to Israel’s Supreme Court. So how can you say that Israel practices apartheid when it, indeed, appoints a Palestinian member to its highest court? Very good points, indeed.

In assessing whether Israel does or does not practice apartheid towards the Palestinian people, whether Israel is or is not like how apartheid South Africa was is immaterial to the discussion, because even though the word “apartheid” comes to us from the South African political context — meaning “apart” in Afrikaners – the word as a political term gained an international significance in 1973 when the UN passed what’s called the Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid. So, apartheid has been taken out of its specific South African context and given a specific definition under international law. And according to this convention, apartheid is defined as “legislative measures calculated to prevent a racial group from participation in the political, social, economic, and cultural life of the country.” The convention goes on to enumerate specific examples of what constitutes acts of apartheid. Here are just a few of the very many that are considered apartheid under international law: denying groups “basic human rights and freedoms,” the right to leave and return to their country, the right to a nationality, and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. So, when we take these definitions and we look at the context of Israel’s policies towards the Palestinian people, we have a lens through which to judge and assess whether Israel’s policies constitute apartheid or do not.

I would argue that not only has Israel instituted many specific legislative measures that are designed to prevent Palestinians from taking part in political, economic, and social life, but I would argue, moreover, that the entire supra-structure of the State of Israel is designed in such a way through the entirety of its legal system. And in fact, by mandating that the international community accept it as a Jewish state, rather than a state of all of its citizens, what Israel in essence is doing is asking the international community to acquiesce in a legal situation in which Jewish Israelis enjoy the privilege of more political rights in a country for them, to the detriment of the indigenous Palestinian population over whom Israel has ruled for the past 70 years.

One, I think, of the best examples of these types of legislative measures that so openly promotes discrimination based on race and based on religion is what’s called the Jewish National Fund Law. This was a law passed by the Israeli Parliament in the early 1950s, after the Nakba, the Palestinian Catastrophe, where Israel dispossessed the majority of the indigenous Palestinian population from their homes and their lands, demolishing more than 500 villages, destroying eleven Palestinian urban centers, and turning the vast majority of Palestinians into refugees. Israel appropriated most of that land that was taken from these refugees and turned it into public and state lands. Then Israel turned around and passed this Jewish National Fund Law, which gives quasi-governmental powers to a nongovernmental organization, the Jewish National Fund, to administer these lands on behalf of the State of Israel — to lease them, to develop them, et cetera. And in the charter of the Jewish National Fund, it says quite explicitly that the land of Israel is not to be administered on behalf of the people who lived there, but on behalf of the Jewish people worldwide. So, you have a discriminatory charter to the JNF, which is again tasked by Israel with the leasing and developing of public and state lands. Here you have a fundamental component, a foundational aspect of the State of Israel an inherently discriminatory policy.

Now, we could easily talk for the next 45 minutes about all of the specific policies that Israel engages in that constitute apartheid under the definitions enumerated under the UN convention. We could, for example, point to the fact that Israel, for the last 70 years, has denied Palestinian refugees their internationally guaranteed right of return to the homes and lands from which they either fled or were expelled from by force by Israel in 1948. And instead of allowing those refugees to exercise their human right, on top of this, Israel has enacted a law called the Law of Return, which allows a Jewish person to claim automatic citizenship within the state and to move there, sometimes actually living on the very same properties that Palestinians were dispossessed of in 1948.

We can look at Israel’s segregated, separate and unequal school system. Some nearly 80 years after Brown v. Board of Education ruled that separate was always unequal in the United States and did away with formal segregation in U.S. education, this paradigm is still the rule for Israeli educational institutions. They are strictly segregated by language, with Palestinian Arabic-speaking schools within Israel receiving substantially less money in terms of governmental allocations, solely on the basis that they are Palestinians and, at best, second-degree citizens of the state.

We can look to the fact that Palestinians living under military occupation since 1967 in the West Bank and in Gaza are denied even the most fundamental political rights. In fact, the very first military order that Israel imposed on Palestinians in the Occupied Territories in August of 1967, Military Order 101, which still stands today, makes it illegal for Palestinians to wave a Palestinian flag. You can go to jail for waving a Palestinian flag under Israeli military occupation. You can also go to jail if you participate in a protest or any type of political gathering of ten people or more, because under Israeli military orders, all Palestinian political gatherings are illegal, bar none. Not to mention the fact that the millions of Palestinians under Israeli military occupation have no vote or say in the government that rules over their lives.

So, we could go on and enumerate all of these separate and unequal apartheid policies that Israel enacts toward the Palestinian people, but I don’t want to do that. What I want to do, in the time remaining, is to be a bit more optimistic, and to focus on why I think Israel’s separate and unequal regime of rule over the Palestinian people is bound to fail. And I’m going to give you three reasons why I think this is the case.

Number one: the patina, the veneer of an Israeli liberal democracy is peeling, and it’s eroding very quickly. This notion that because Israel has a parliament, that it is a democracy, has convinced the West, and people in the United States in particular, for many, many decades that Israel in fact is a country based on equal rights for all the people over whom it rules. South Africa also had a parliament, but that didn’t make it a democracy either. The patina of this democracy is eroding very quickly, I think, thanks to the actions of Israel itself, and its extremist government. We have a number of different issues that are converging to demolish this facade of Israel being a functioning liberal democracy of equality.

We had a number of significant anniversaries in 2017 as Mohamed mentioned at the outset, but we also have a number of significant commemorations coming up in 2018, including the seventieth anniversary of the Nakba, the dispossession of Palestinians and the establishment of Israel on the ruins of Palestinian society in more than three-quarters of historic Palestine. And we mark this tragic event not only as an event of history, but in recognition that the process of displacement, the process of Israel’s dispossession of the Palestinian people, is not a historical occurrence alone, but it is an ongoing, present-day occurrence. There has been a Nakba going on for the past 70 years in an uninterrupted fashion. And when people view how the Palestinian Bedouin village of Al-Araqib has been treated by Israel in the past few years, the veneer of Israeli democracy vanishes, because Israel has demolished this Palestinian village of its own citizens more than 100 times to try to take the Palestinian Bedouin population and place it in reservations to free up additional land for Israeli Jewish colonization of the southern part of the country. So, the dispossession, the demolition of Palestinian citizens’ homes in the Negev desert – the Naqab desert – really looks no different from the dispossession and the demolishing of Palestinian villages just across the Green Line, the erased Green Line, in the West Bank. What differentiates the bulldozer demolition of Susya in the South Hebron Hills from the demolition of this Palestinian Bedouin village within Israel proper?

We have seen earlier this month the spectacle of the Vice President of the United States traveling to Israel and giving a quasi-pseudo-biblical, theological justification for the Trump administration’s unmitigated and unprecedented support for Israel’s extremist right-wing agenda. And the way in which Palestinian members of Israel’s parliament were treated during Mike Pence’s visit is again an indication to the West that the patina of Israeli democracy is wearing thin, because, as you probably saw, these Palestinian members of the Israeli parliament protested the Trump administration’s decision to unilaterally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital, and held up posters to the effect that Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine. They were very quickly, summarily, and roughly manhandled out of the auditorium by Israeli security to overwhelming cheers and laughs from the Israeli Jewish parliamentarians. This prompted Andrea Mitchell, the foreign affairs correspondent for NBC News, to tweet something to the effect of, “Can you imagine the Capitol Police doing this to members of the Congressional Black Caucus for protesting something in the U.S. Congress?” and that tweet has been liked 10,000 times as of this morning. So, when you have someone like Andrea Mitchell, who is certainly no flaming radical ideologue for Palestine, making these connections and seeing the reality of Israel’s rule over Palestinians within the house of its so-called democracy, you see that the veneer is wearing thin.

Today, January 31st, is also the 17th birthday of Ahed Tamimi, who, as many of you know, is a Palestinian teenage prisoner within Israel’s military court system who was filmed pushing and kicking an Israeli soldier who had raided her property in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh back in December. Ahed is now sitting alone in solitary confinement for some of this time, for an indeterminate amount of time, on non-descript charges, in which she could face up to ten years in prison for having the temerity to defend her rights and her property and her land from invading occupation soldiers. Ahed’s imprisonment is shining an unprecedented spotlight on Israel’s separate and unequal military court system in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, where Palestinians and Palestinian children can be picked up often in the middle of the night. Israeli soldiers knock down their doors at four in the morning, grab the children out of bed, hustle them off to interrogation where they’re often abused and sometimes even tortured, railroad them through a process to force a confession to something that they often didn’t commit, written in a language that they don’t necessarily understand; and sentence them to time in Israeli custody through this military court system. Israel is the only country in the world that systematically and routinely prosecutes children through Israeli military courts. So, we often hear from Israel’s defenders and supporters that we shouldn’t single Israel out, we shouldn’t hold Israel to a different standard. But guess what? Israel is doing that to itself by insisting that it and it alone can do things like haul children through a military court system lacking in fundamental due process regulations.

Also, as was mentioned earlier I believe, this year is also the 25th anniversary of the Oslo Accords back in 1993 when President Bill Clinton presided over a signing ceremony between the Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the PLO Chair Yasser Arafat designed to inaugurate a five-year process to establish a Palestinian state and resolve the Israeli-Palestinian issue once and for all. Many people viewed this as a huge, historical breakthrough and were very optimistic when it occurred. But I don’t think I will be too bold or too radical to predict that no one will be celebrating the 25th anniversary this fall. On the contrary, it will be an opportunity to eulogize the so-called peace process, because it has been buried once and for all by the Trump administration’s insistent backing for Netanyahu’s agenda.

When the Israeli Prime Minister won reelection last time, in 2013 I believe, he won reelection on the premise that, under his watch, there will never be a Palestinian state, ever. This is what he promised his voters. And his party and his governing coalition are taking every possible step to ensure that this indeed will not be the case. A few months ago, Likud, the ruling, governing party within the coalition, adopted a new platform that calls for the annexation by Israel of the Palestinian West Bank. Indeed, there are bills in the Israeli Parliament, currently working their way through the legislative process to actually annex different Israeli settlement blocs to Israel. So, the veneer of Israel supporting a Palestinian state has also disappeared. All of these things are combining, I think, to produce a radical new understanding within the United States and the world in general, for those who haven’t caught on yet, of Israel’s true nature and intents in its policies towards the Palestinian people. So that’s number one. The veneer is wearing off.

Number two, the second reason why I believe that Israel’s separate and unequal policies towards the Palestinian people will not stand the test of time, is because of an emerging partisan divide on this issue within the United States. This is key to understanding how we use our privilege here in the United States, as citizens of the global superpower, as citizens who are de facto supporting Israel’s separate and unequal policies towards the Palestinian people, how we can take action to help end these policies. Now, Donald Trump has only helped to accelerate a process that was already well underway before he came into office. For this development, I think that we can thank the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who went out of his way to humiliate and abase President Barack Obama, and to show where his political ideology and notions of allies laid with the Republican party. Of course, this was demonstrated time and again, most notably through his speech to the Congress back in 2015, an attempt to try and scuttle President Obama’s Iran Nuclear Deal. But under Trump, this process of Israel becoming a cause celebre of the right in America has only accelerated, and when you look at the composition of Trump’s advisors on Israel-Palestine, you can see that not only has Trump backed Israel to an unprecedented degree, but Trump has backed the most extremist versions of Israeli politics and Israeli society through these appointments that he’s made. I’ll just touch on them briefly.

First, we have as U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, a person who not only wrote ideologically in support of Israel’s retention of what he referred to as “Judea and Samaria” but was also a key fundraiser, raising tens of millions of dollars for a key Israeli settlement in the Ramallah district. This is the person who is now representing U.S. policy in Tel Aviv, shortly to be in Jerusalem — by 2019, according to our vice president, Mike Pence.

We have, of course, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who, as I write in this book, his family was so close to Netanyahu that, on a fundraising swing through the United States, Netanyahu came by and stayed at the Kushner house in New Jersey, displacing Jared from his childhood bedroom for one night so that he could sleep there. This is how close the relationships are between the Kushner family and the Netanyahu family.

And then we also have Jason Greenblatt, who served as one of Donald Trump’s attorneys, and whose only experience prior to being appointed Trump’s key person on international negotiations, his only prior experience on this issue was actually living in an Israeli settlement and studying there. These people, combined with the Messianic Christian Zionism embodied by Mike Pence, are the four people who are driving U.S. policy toward Israel, and they explain more than anything else the decisions that we’ve seen in recent weeks to take Jerusalem “off the table,” in Trump’s words, by recognizing it as Israel’s capital, by trying to take the issue of Palestine refugees off of the table by attempting to eviscerate UNRWA, and who knows what else will be coming down the line.

This identification of the Trump administration with the most ideological, far-right of the Israeli political spectrum has its twin in how Israelis view the Trump administration as well. All over the world, admiration [and] respect for U.S. leadership has plummeted under the Trump administration. I can’t imagine why. Support for U.S. leadership globally is about 30 percent right now. That’s how much respect people around the world have for U.S. values and U.S. leadership at this point in time.

Now, there are only four countries that have seen dramatic improvements in how their country views U.S. leadership under Trump, one of which is Israel. Israel’s approval rating of U.S. global leadership has actually skyrocketed under President Trump, from about 50 percent under President Obama all the way up to two-thirds; 67 percent of Israelis support the Trump administration’s leadership in foreign affairs. So, this goes to show the degree to which both the U.S. right and the Israeli society and government have chosen to align themselves together. This is having dramatic ramifications as to how this issue is discussed and debated politically in the United States. Those numbers, by the way, were from a January 2018 Gallup poll. Another very interesting poll came out just a few days ago by Pew. Pew does an annual survey of Americans’ attitudes toward Israelis and Palestinians and the Israeli-Palestinian issue. The almost complete identification of the GOP with Israel is now complete. There are now 79 percent of self-identified Republicans who sympathize more with Israel and only six percent of Republicans who sympathize more with Palestinians.

Democrats, however, continuing a trend that we’ve seen emerging over the past five years, are now actually evenly split in their sympathies. Statistically, it’s a dead heat. Twenty-seven percent of self-identified Democrats sympathize more with Israel. Twenty-five percent sympathize more with Palestinians. When you break those numbers down further into self-identified liberal Democrats, in other words, the Progressive wing of the Democratic party, support and sympathy for Palestinians outnumbers that for Israel by a margin of almost two to one now. This is a huge, unprecedented development, the largest partisan divide in decades of reporting on this issue. What it means for Democrats in Congress, in state legislatures, is that they know the base of their party is not behind Israel anymore, and is increasingly sympathetic to Palestinian rights.

We’re seeing very well how this is playing out in Washington DC. For example, shortly after Trump was inaugurated, he said something about building a wall on the border with Mexico and—perhaps you remember this—Benjamin Netanyahu put out a tweet in response, basically saying “What a great idea this is, our wall has worked so well for us.” This was followed by an indignant and blistering letter in response, [a] public statement from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, excoriating Netanyahu for getting involved in U.S. domestic politics, and trying to interfere in such a blatantly racist and xenophobic way. That type of thing would have been unprecedented just a few years ago. In fact, we’re seeing members of Congress, from the Democratic side at least, become more and more willing to—I wouldn’t even say stick their necks out, because it’s not an issue of sticking their necks out anymore. It used to be: twenty, ten, five years ago there were only a handful of members of Congress you could trust to do the right thing on this issue. But today, easily, I would say there is an emerging block of 40 Democratic members of Congress, both senators and representatives, who can be consistently counted on to vote the right way and to take steps, proactive steps in support of Palestinian rights. This is really an unprecedented development in the history of politics in our country, and really a hugely encouraging sign.

Lastly, and I’ll end with this, the third reason I believe Israel’s apartheid regime over the Palestinian people will not last is because BDS is winning and efforts to repress BDS are failing. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the acronym BDS—I know we tend to be a bit acronym-y with this, if that’s a word, which I know it’s not—BDS stands for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions, a call which came from 170 Palestinian civil society organizations in 2005, urging and demanding people of conscious around the world to implement these campaigns against Israel, against corporations that are profiting from Israel’s abuse of the Palestinian people, and against institutions that are complicit in propping up Israel’s apartheid regime. Since that call came out, you know there’s a dictum that’s often attributed to Ghandi, but there is no proof that he actually said it, but it’s often attributed to him: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” And I remember when this call for BDS came out in 2005, Israel’s supporters paid no attention. Then they saw that people were starting to organize around this, and that it was picking up some mild successes. Then they started to deride it: “Oh, it’s nothing, it’s not serious, it’s not going to lead to anything fundamental, we’re not worried.” But now that’s not the case at all. We are clearly into the phase where Israel has thrown everything into the battle to try to stop this nascent, Palestinian civil society-led movement, and they’re still failing to do so.

We’ve seen over the past few years gigantic, multi-national corporations pull out of business entirely in Israel, not just the Occupied Palestinian Territories. They pull out of business entirely in Israel due to pressure from global civil society. Corporations like the British G4S, providing private prison training and services [and] the French multi-national firm Veolia, which provides wastewater management, garbage pickup, and other infrastructural-type services, which was doing so for some of Israel’s settlements. We’ve seen these corporations lose billions of dollars of potential contracts because of BDS pressure, and they’ve made the economic, not the moral decision, “You know what, it’s really not worth it for us to continue to have a little bit of business in Israel if this is the push back that we are going to get and this is the business opportunity we are going to have to forsake in order to do business with Israel.” So they’re pulling out of the market.

We’ve seen Oscar award-winners refuse to go on propaganda trips to Israel. We’ve seen Grammy award-winning musicians like Lauryn Hill and Lorde cancel concerts in Israel in response to people making moral appeals to them to not perform. We’ve seen NFL players refuse propaganda trips by Israel, to their great embarrassment. We’ve seen nine church denominations in the United States either pass resolutions to boycott Israeli settlement products and/or divest their holdings from companies like Caterpillar, like Motorola that are profiting from Israeli military occupation. We’ve seen academic associations like the American Studies Association pass BDS resolutions, and we’ve seen dozens of student governments pass resolutions on U.S. college campuses demanding that their university not invest in companies that are profiting from Israel’s abuse of the Palestinian people. All of this amounts to an unprecedented civil society mobilization for Palestinian rights, not only in the United States, but globally.

Now I mentioned these four stages that are often attributed to Ghandi in the process of social change. In 2015, I believe it was, the Israeli president Reuven Rivlin said that BDS is “a strategic threat of the highest degree” to Israel. It was placed on a par with Iran developing nuclear weapons. That’s how seriously Israel now takes this Palestinian-led civil society movement. In fact, the Israeli government has allocated roughly $25 million per year to its Ministry of Strategic Affairs in an attempt to kill the BDS movement worldwide. As part of these efforts to kill the BDS movement worldwide, we’ve seen what Israel and its supporters do best in the United States, which is to try and marshal its grassroots support in a very heavy-handed effort to legislate against our right as citizens to participate and organize these type of campaigns. So, we’ve seen now more than two dozen states pass laws that attempt to penalize individuals and businesses that support the boycott of Israel. We’ve seen legislation introduced in Congress, the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, that would impose a twenty-year imprisonment on individuals if they provide information to an international organization to support a boycott of Israel or just Israeli settlement goods. That’s the bad side of this.

We’ve seen these attempts to repress, but the good news is that not only are they failing to dissuade people from participating in their constitutionally protected right to engage in these type of campaigns, but we’re now seeing an overreach. We’ve seen that they’ve gone too far, and that they’ve turned the tide of public opinion against them in this effort. AIPAC’s top legislative priority in 2017 was passage of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act. The ACLU came out with an extremely important letter saying that it is constitutionally First Amendment-protected speech for people to engage in these boycott campaigns, and the government cannot pass efforts to restrict Americans’ rights to participate in these campaigns. Because of that letter, because of the mobilization of civil society against this bill, we have actually been able to stymie this bill from being passed for a whole year. So much for the invincibility of AIPAC.

On the state level, I also have good news to report, because just yesterday, after the ACLU had filed a lawsuit against Kansas for one of these anti-BDS laws, a judge imposed an injunction, forbidding Kansas from implementing this law and reaffirming that, yes, it is our First Amendment-protected right to engage in these kind of boycotts. So, number three, BDS is winning. Efforts to repress the BDS movement are losing.

As long as we continue to engage in the type of difficult but sustained political power-building in which we are engaged, and we continue to engage in these campaigns for BDS, and Israel continues to delegitimize itself through its racist policies, then I have no doubt, no doubt that Israel’s separate and unequal policies towards the Palestinian people will collapse, paving the way for freedom, justice, and equality. Thank you.