Anorak

Anorak | Israel Apartheid Week Is A Canard That Dishonours South African Blacks

Israel Apartheid Week Is A Canard That Dishonours South African Blacks

by | 28th, March 2011

IS Israel an apartheid state, as the supporters of Israel Apartheid Week declare? No. It isn’t. The campaign is a canard. It is a media easily myth undone by anyone who has visited the place. Are the Israeli settlers and the Palestinians kept apart. Yes. why? Because their are violent elements at large. There are bigots of every hue  who do not want to live in harmony. But that is not apartheid. That is war.

But if you say it enough, the apartheid theme begins to stick.

In comparing Israel to white supremacist apartheid South Africa, the delegitimizers have found the perfect tool for a potentially lethal two-pronged attack: If Israel is based on segregationist principles, it deserves to be spurned by the international community; and, if applied to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the South Africa solution, one man-one vote in a single unitary state, would mean the end of the two-state model, Israel and Palestine, and the end of Israel as the national home of the Jewish people. In other words, getting the Israel-apartheid analogy to stick is a formula for Israel’s dismantlement.

Why Israel?

If you’re searching for an analogy, forget the Boer “fourth Reich”, casting Israel as the “fifth” (a crude comparative with a subliminal message : the Jewish nation’s treatment by the Third Reich was deserved because it is basically evil). Look elsewhere. Northern Ireland, perhaps, or the former Yugoslavia, with Israel as Serbia.

But even when Serbia deformed its national story by sponsoring mass murder, never was it suggested it had no right to exist. Israel Apartheid Week is a campaign that goes far beyond opposing policy and aims to delegitimise Israel as a nation.

The Jersusalem Post wrote:

Over-the-top vilification anti-Israel rhetoric is a hallmark of a large swathe of the Swedish political establishment.

“Israel is an apartheid state. I think Gaza is comparable to the Warsaw Ghetto… I’m surprised that Israel can do the exact same things the Nazis did,” charged Ingalill Bjartén, the vice-chair for the Social Democratic Women in southern Sweden. “I don’t think Israel is a democracy worthy of the name. It’s a racist apartheid state,” said the Left Party’s Hans Linde, calling for a boycott of Israel. A leading Social-Democrat, Urban Ahlin, deputy chair of the Committee of Foreign Affairs, implored Stockholm to encourage the EU to suspend its cooperation agreement with Israel.

(The revolting Nazi analogy is designed to do three things: play down the Holocaust, reduce the suffering of the victims of genocide and create a narrative where Jews deserved it. Saying the powerless blacks who suffered under South Apartheid are like the Arabs in Israel, dishonours their history.)

How is it that so many people are expert on a place they have never lived in nor visited?

A GREENS candidate in the NSW election who denied she had ever “pushed” for a boycott of Israel was slated to speak at a public rally next week in support of such a boycott, and in protest against “Israeli apartheid”.

Fiona Byrne, the Greens candidate in the inner-western Sydney seat of Marrickville, initially denied to The Australian she had agreed to address the “Sing Out Against Apartheid: Boycott Divestment and Sanctions” rally outside Sydney’s Town Hall next Wednesday.

“Fiona has not agreed to speak at any events next week,” a Greens spokesman responded to inquiries. However, after being shown a flyer for the event, a Greens spokeswoman said: “I can confirm that earlier this month Fiona accepted an invitation to speak at the event as the (Marrickville) Mayor. This week Fiona decided to clear her diary to take a break after the election, and she extended her apologies to the event organiser that she could no longer speak at the event”…

Ms Byrne admitted in an interview with The Australian Jewish News in December that she was no expert on Middle East policy. ”I don’t know the full ins and outs of the situation, because I’m not an expert, but I support a peaceful solution, two states or otherwise,” she said.

Oh, for the white, Western long-distance activist:

And this is the real aspect that today’s anti-Israel lobby shares with the Anti-Apartheid Movement. They are both born of narcissism, an inability, as the social theorist Christopher Lasch defined it, to distinguish the self from the external world. Instead, the world appears as little more than a mirror of the self. Be it a conflict in the Middle East, or an anti-colonial struggle in Africa, both are experienced in terms of the self, and its frustrated desire for meaning and purpose. Little wonder that the ultimate horizon of such narcissistic solidarity with spectacles of suffering is the boycott, as if the act of individual consumption contained within it the potential for world revolution. Do we really want to turn Palestinians into the pet victims of Western liberals, in the same way that the Anti-Apartheid Movement did with black South Africans 20 years ago?

The Guardian’s Middle East correspondent Chris McGreal wrote:

There are few places in the world where governments construct a web of nationality and residency laws designed for use by one section of the population against another. Apartheid South Africa was one. So is Israel.

Comparisons between white rule in South Africa and Israel’s system of control over the Arab peoples it governs are increasingly heard.

The Jewish Virtual Library states:

Today, within Israel, Jews are a majority, but the Arab minority are full citizens who enjoy equal rights. Arabs are represented in the Knesset, and have served in the Cabinet, high-level foreign ministry posts (e.g., Ambassador to Finland) and on the Supreme Court. Under apartheid, black South Africans could not vote and were not citizens of the country in which they formed the overwhelming majority of the population.

Meanwhile in Tel Aviv,  Beram Kayal scored the winner for Israel against Latvia. Here’s what The Guardian said about him:

“Beram Kayal is Arabic and a Muslim, but I grew up in Israel,” he explains. “I play for the national team. Sometimes people say I’m Jewish. No – I’m Arabic. Sometimes people on the outside can’t understand the bigger picture. They ask how Jewish and Arabic people can live together. But it’s fine, I lived there [in Israel] and I enjoyed it, and I get on with the people there.

“I have friends who are Jewish and, while I don’t want to go too deep into politics, it shouldn’t really matter in sport about Arabs or Jews – if someone says ‘Beram Kayal is an Israeli player’, then that is enough for me.

“Everyone in Israel is happy for me. I am Arabic which is the minority compared to Jewish people in Israel. The Arabic and the Jewish people are happy because I have more friends who are Jewish, I live with Jews and I play in the Israeli team with Jewish people.”

Says Ishmael Khaldi:

For those who haven’t heard, the first week in March has been designated as Israel Apartheid Week by activists who are either ill intentioned or misinformed. On American campuses, organizing committees are planning happenings to once again castigate Israel as the lone responsible party for all that maligns the Middle East.

Last year, at UC Berkeley, I had the opportunity to “dialogue” with some of the organizers of these events. My perspective is unique, both as the vice consul for Israel in San Francisco, and as a Bedouin and the highest-ranking Muslim representing the Israel in the United States. I was born into a Bedouin tribe in Northern Israel, one of 11 children, and began life as shepherd living in our family tent. I went on to serve in the Israeli border police, and later earned a master’s degree in political science from Tel Aviv University before joining the Israel Foreign Ministry.

I am a proud Israeli – along with many other non-Jewish Israelis such as Druze, Bahai, Bedouin, Christians and Muslims, who live in one of the most culturally diversified societies and the only true democracy in the Middle East. Like America, Israeli society is far from perfect, but let us deals honestly. By any yardstick you choose – educational opportunity, economic development, women and gay’s rights, freedom of speech and assembly, legislative representation – Israel’s minorities fare far better than any other country in the Middle East.

None of that will sway you if you have already decided that Israel needs to be held up to high standards than other nations. But the lies and call for a boycott achieve nothing but division.



Posted: 28th, March 2011 | In: Key Posts, Reviews Comments (7) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink