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HomeGeopolitical CompassThe LevantHarvard Law School ‘Apartheid’ Report Leaves Israel’s Defenders Speechless

Harvard Law School ‘Apartheid’ Report Leaves Israel’s Defenders Speechless

Author: Steve France

Affiliation: Retired Journalist and Lawyer at the Episcopal Peace Fellowship Palestine-Israel Network

Organization/Publisher: Mondoweiss

Date/Place: April 5, 2022/New York, USA

Type of Literature: Analysis

Word Count: 3963



Keywords: Human Rights Clinic, Occupied West Bank, Addameer Prisoner Support, UN Human Rights Council.


Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank has been deemed apartheid by the International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC) at Harvard Law School. Its report titled “Apartheid in the Occupied West Bank: A Legal Analysis of Israel’s Actions,” was published just before the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories published its March report. Both reports come in the wake of five larger, wider-ranging, apartheid assessments that have been published since 2020. The Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association presented the findings by the law school’s Human Rights Clinic with minimal fanfare, and the Israeli lobby has yet to criticize it publicly in fears of drawing more attention to the report.  Israel’s UN envoy, Gilad Erdan, claimed the study’s authors “decided to delegitimize the Jewish state because of their antisemitic notions.” Since 1967, Palestinians in the West Bank have been denied their human, civil, and political rights. Isolated acts of terror by Israel against Palestinians since 1967 have a cumulative impact that is hard to ignore. Individual items in the litany are not news but seeing them all together shows the Israeli machine of injustice at work. The UN Human Rights Council has asked civil society groups to identify alleged apartheid abuses. It follows Addameer and Al-Haq’s January report headlined “Entrenching and Maintaining an Apartheid Regime over the Palestinian People as a Whole.” The Harvard-Addameer report maps the “dual legal system that entrenches Jewish Israeli supremacy” on the West Bank after detailing the international crime of apartheid, including how and why ethnic groups like Palestinians (or Myanmar’s Rohinga) are deemed “racial groups”. According to the Harvard-Addameer report, although the justices of the Israeli Supreme Court have decided that “torture and ill-treatment of detainees is illegal,” in practice they have “created a grave loophole” that enables “the use of torture and ill-treatment against Palestinian detainees with impunity.” The report’s publishing is a victory for Palestinian rights. Afraid that flimsy ad hominem attacks on those who carry the apartheid message may only draw more attention to the reports and alienate more uninformed supporters of the Jewish state, leaders of the Israel lobby appear to be measuring the growing magnitude of the anti-apartheid movement, and the potential of the apartheid concept to clarify public perceptions and trigger public outrage.

By: Maryam Khan, CIGA Senior Research Associate



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