Comparing Israel and Tibet- Absurd!
By Tristen Taylor, Tibetan Solidarity Activist
The recent South African Union of Jewish Students (SAUJS) advert in the Vuvuzela (University of the Witwatersrand, 04 April 2008) showing the Dalai Lama praying at the Wailing Wall and comparing the plight of repressed and brutalised Tibetans to that of Israeli Jews is propaganda at its most vile.
As the latest protests in Tibet have shown, Tibetans have a genuine desire to self-government, religious independence, and freedom from the yoke of repression. The people of Tibet have flooded onto the streets, armed only with their religion and the knowledge of a just cause, and have stood up against the superior military might, arbitrary detention, and extrajudicial killings of the Chinese military. Tibet is a country invaded, economically and environmentally exploited, and whose culture is being swamped by hundreds of thousands of Han Chinese migrants. Tibetans are prisoners within their own country.
Are Tibetans really like Israelis? Is the condition of Tibetan protesters that of Israeli soldiers enforcing collective punishment on an entire people- the Palestinians? No, and to compare the two is not only misleading but also an outright lie.
If SAUJS were prepared to admit the truth, it would see that the conditions of Tibetans and Palestinians were very comparable. Both groups of people are ruled over by an external military force which illegally invaded their country. Both Tibetans and Palestinians are marginalised economically, are subjected to religious and racial persecution, and live in Apartheid-like societies. The arguments for Palestinian and Tibetan liberation are fundamentally the same.
If one were genuinely willing to look at the facts, one would have to admit that the Israeli occupation of Palestine is nothing but a series of crimes against humanity; similar to Chinese crimes against Tibetans.
A more appropriate ad—an ad seeking to expose the suffering of innocents— would be of Ehud Olmert and Wen Jiabao standing respectively over a Palestinian and Tibetan child, and betting who could crush that child’s skull the quickest with their jackboots.
Oh, and by the way, SAUJS’s interest in the plight of Tibetans was witnessed by its conspicuous absence from a recent Free Tibet activity on campus last month.