During the brouhaha that followed the American Jewish Committee’s publication of Prof. Alvin Rosenfeld’s paper, “‘Progressive’ Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism,” the NY Times initially referred to the AJC as “conservative” rather than mainstream or centrist. The Rosenfeld essay had clearly left that impression, but AJC officials, whom I met with early this week at a two-day confab in their Manhattan headquarters, were all either liberal/left or moderate.
I came away from this event – including 40-50 Jewish professionals, lay leaders and friends discussing how to deal with the “Apartheid = Israel equation” – with a renewed respect for the AJC and a sense of gratitude for they’re having pulled this event together, along with its co-sponsor, the Canadian Jewish Congress, which likewise sent an impressive delegation. To the delight of the lefties among us, the presentations included two on US and Canadian trade unions and one that was a case study of Israel advocacy with an explicitly left-wing political party, Canada’s New Democratic Party, by a staffer of the Canadian Jewish Congress who is also an NDP member.
Ex-South Africans Benjamin Pogrund (an anti-Apartheid journalist who is now a writer and peace advocate in Israel) and Hebrew U. emeritus professor Gideon Shimoni were among the participants. About a year ago, Israel Horizons published a version of a comparative paper Pogrund did on Israel and Apartheid.
The level of the discussion was very high and well worth participating in. Among the guest speakers who dropped by briefly, were Columbia U. president Lee Bollinger (an impressively thoughtful individual) and Todd Gitlin (the 60s-era radical and today’s prominent liberal academic). Bollinger expressed concern about the need for students to feel safe in their views, not to be bullied by faculty, and for academic freedom to be safeguarded while also upholding academic standards that require reasonable argumentation and respectful discourse. He admitted that balancing academic freedom with academic standards is an art and not a science that can be measured with precision; he also spoke of the need to maintain the university as politically neutral but not necessarily without taking a stand on transcendent issues.
Gitlin spoke on the fallacy of arguing by analogy, that specific historical occurrences are never exact parallels of those from other times and places. This observation toward the end of the conference had been initially expressed by Prof. Shimoni on the first day, in the vocabulary of the historian.
Unlike what I had feared, the AJC gathering was not satisfied with simply bashing Jimmy Carter, but took seriously the real issues of occupation that Carter raised in his awkward and flawed way. The major distinction that was made is between those who use the Apartheid analogy for “eliminationist” or “unconscionable” purposes – with the intend of undermining Israel’s existence as a Jewish state – and those (like Carter) who employ the analogy for “conscionable” reasons, to eliminate the inhumane hardships and injustices that the Palestinians endure under occupation.
The main difference of opinion seemed to be on whether to simply refute or dismiss the Apartheid analogy or to allow the truth of valid criticisms of Israeli policies. In the end, there was consensus that a good response to the Apartheid analogy can be a nuanced statement that would contain the following elements: “Apartheid is not the issue” but the issue includes ending settlement expansion and occupation on the one side and the need to end violence/terror and to recognize Israel on the other. This concluding formulation was the product of a friendly collaboration between Meretz USA’s executive director Charney Bromberg and one of our new friends from the Canadian Jewish Congress, Manuel Prutschi.
UN rights envoy likens Israeli actions to apartheid
Now, what does your learned committee know that Dugard doesn’t understand?
Good to see the Zionist “left” team up with the Zionist middle-right to figure out how to deal with the Israel’s little image problem instead of the problem itself.
We discussed Mr. Dugard. For one thing, Dugard doesn’t understand that Jews are not a “race.” The problem is not racial, which is why referring to apartheid is not appropriate.
I repeat how we concluded: “‘Apartheid is not the issue’ but the issue includes ending settlement expansion and occupation on the one side and the need to end violence and terror on the other.”
have any of you read:
“from time immemorial” by joan peters. the british pro-arab journalist who discovered the truth from her in depth research?
or “the nazi roots of palestinian nationalism” pub. by the freedom center.?
why do you insist on siding with the people who not only hate jews but who want to destroy israel and kill us? why? why? why?
i think it’s because you sadly have a very distorted jewish “education”which you believe is truth.
you are committed to your “principles” without realizing what’s really going on.
YOU BELIEVE ARABS MORE THAN YOU BELIEVE JEWS? WHAT’S THAT ALL ABOUT?
i think it’s due to a problem with your identity and lack of torah education. if you really knew your history and purpose you wouldn’t be caught in this maze where you worship ideals rather than the truth.
but, sadly, you probably read this and just brush it off. nothing can mess with your sacred ideals.
and yet, your “sacred” ideals are actually idolatry that endanger you and your people, the jews that is.
remember, only 20% of the jews left egypt. the other 80% probably were “progressive”.
may heaven help us all.
So it appears that your concern with the use of the term apartheid is that Jews are not a race.
You have not disputed, however, that Israel discriminates against Palestinians as a people – in the Occupied Territories, in Israel or as refugees in the diaspora.
“In the rest of the so-called “Land of Israel,” the ethnic discrimination is
much worse, from segregated roads to separate legal systems. I know what
Israel will say: this is only self-defense. On some level this is correct:
if Israel desires control the territory that it has for more than two-thirds
of its history, and to remain the state exclusively of the Jewish people,
and to be democratic as well, it must find a way to create a Jewish majority
on a strip of land in which the majority of inhabitants are not Jewish.
There are only so many possible solutions: there’s mass transfer (as was
tried successfully in 1948, and is currently advocated by Israeli Deputy
Prime Minister Avigdor Lieberman), there’s mass imprisonment (10,000+
Palestinians are being held in Israeli jails as I write), there’s
genocide… or there is apartheid. The more humane alternatives of Israel
withdrawing to the 1967 borders or becoming a state of its citizens are not
even on the bargaining table. Apartheid and segregation failed in South
Africa and the United States and they will fail in Israel and Palestine.
Ethnocentric nationalism failed in Nazi Germany and it will fail in Zionist
Israel. But until they do, the Ibrahims and baby Khalids of Palestine are
counting on you and me to do something, to say something, since they
themselves cannot. Silence is complicity. We cannot wait for things to get
worse. The ethnic cleansing and apartheid have gone on long enough.”
Since you are not responding, I’m going to comment further. You seem to be supporting the idea that the term apartheid cannot be applied to Israel because Jews are not a race. You’ve not commented on the systematically discriminatory Israeli system against the Palestinian people, whether they live in the Occupied Territories, in Israel or as refugees in the diaspora. For me, this is a given, and I’m happy to provide the facts to support those assertions.
Though I certainly agree that Jews are not a race, I think your argument that therefore Israel cannot practice apartheid is a canard, a self-deception. The question is much more whether Israel is oppressing another people, or another race.
Israel is clearly systematically oppressing another people. The question of whether they are oppressing another “race” is more complex, and is complicated by unclear definition of what constitutes race vs. ethnicity vs. nationality, etc. and whether those shades of difference matter.
We know that a healthy percentage of Israel’s population is Jews of Arab descent. Therefore we can’t accurately say that Israel systematically oppresses all Arabs. But are Arabs a race, an ethnicity, a language group?
However, what percentage of Israel’s population is Arab Palestinian Jews? I would venture a very, very small percentage. Again, it is safe to say that Israel systamtically oppresses Palestinians.
Israel’s oppression is clearly based on ethnicity and religion. Israel oppresses Palestinian, non-Jews. When one listens to many Israelis talk about Palestinians, their comments frequently fall into categories that we would call “prejudiced”, “bigoted” and that we would also label as “racist”. This is also a clear indicator. Ralph, when you hear some of the things Israelis say about Palestinians, I can’t imagine you don’t think to yourself, “how racist”.
It seems clear to me that Israel’s systematic oppression of the entire Palestinian people is rooted in the type of exclusivism, privilege and prejudice that we usually label as “racism.” It becomes an exercise in splitting hairs at some point to bring in imprecise definitions of what exactly constitutes “race” vs. ethnicity. Israeli policies and practices against the Palestinians people clearly bear sufficient resemblance to racism and correspond with the spirit of apartheid as defined by the United Nations in 1973.
Ethnocentrism is the common feature of nation states, from Asia to America. The main alternatives are monarchies and empires. However, picking out Nazi Germany to compare Israel to is a classic trait of anti-semites. If the Zionist leadership had a ethnic mass transfer project in 1948, then the Palestinian leadership was its accomplice because it emphasized Dir Yassin in all of its propaganda, thereby setting off a mass exodus of ordinary Arabs. The Jews also suffered from atrocities at Arab hands but did not emphasize them. A few days after Dir Yassin the Jews lost about 2/3rds the number killed at Dir Yassin in the Haddasah convoy massacre.
Zach, we’re not denying discrimination against Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel. We absolutely advocate equal rights for Jews and non-Jews in Israel and believe that Israel’s system of democratic elections and an independent judiciary should eventually make this possible.
But most Palestinian Arabs are not citizens of Israel and clearly deserve a state of their own. The trick is to make sure that this state is not a violent threat to the people and territory of Israel.
You simply can’t ignore a history of conflict that goes back to before the State of Israel was born, when the Arab world rejected the UN’s resolution to partition Palestine into Arab and Jewish states. Hopefully, most Palestinians and most Arabs are moving in a direction where they can peacefully negotiate a solution with Israel. The way of war and terrorism has clearly failed the Palestinians.
If you bandy about words like “racism” and “apartheid” you simply condemn one people or the other. The fact that many Israelis have nasty attitudes toward Arabs should be no more surprising than that Arabs generally hate Jews; you do know that most Jews were forced to flee from Arab lands, right? This is what happens when peoples are at war with each other.
The UN resolution of 1973 was deeply hurtful to Jews and Israelis, and actually hurt the Palestinian cause because it made the UN forever suspect in the eyes of Israel. Name calling is one of the first things that has to stop in forging peace.
Sometimes we have to call things by their real names even though it hurts people. It hurts Palestinians far, far more to actually be discriminated against and subject to apartheid than it does to label Israelis as the perpetrators of these acts. White South Africans hated being labeled racists also, but it didn’t mean we shouldn’t call them that, nor whites in the South.
You didn’t actually respond to the substance of any of my arguments. You acknowledged that Israleis discriminate against Palestinians in Israel. You surely acknowledge that Israel imposes a discriminatory system of laws and policies in the Occupied Territories as detailed by many groups including B’Tselem? Then finally, Israel’s law of return for any Jew and contrasting denial of right of return for Palestinians is clearly discriminatory.
In short, Israel discriminates against the Palestinian people wherever they are. There is a strong case for calling this racist and apartheid using generally accepted definitions.
As you know, I can find you tens of quotes from Israelis calling Israelis racists towards Palestinians and talking about Israeli apartheid. It is more controversial to say those things in the US than in Israel. Are you just trying to suppress the debate by using the argument that Jews are not a race and therefore all arguments are false, or do you actually have counterarguments to make?
You’ve talked about Israelis leaving and being expelled from other Arab countries. This is a complex issue that would require another long discussion. It was tragic, but the circumstances were different and much more ambiguous than the Palestinian expulsion.
In any case, Palestinians are not responsible for Arab Jews leaving those countries. We are talking here about Israeli treatment of Palestinians. All Arabs are not interchangeable, don’t confuse the issue.
Ralph, you write as if there were two equal sides. This is an illusion. Israel has one of the largest most powerful armies in the world and largely imposes its will on the ground. Palestinians have poorly armed militias. The outcome as you must recognize is that Palestinians are continually losing their land, and suffering far more deaths than Israelis.
You also write as if you accept the traditional zionist narrative of Israel defending itself against Arab attacks. Yet I’m sure you’ve read the historical works of Avi Schlaim, Benny Morris, Tom Segev, Ilan Pappe and others who poke many holes in this traditional historical narrative with painstaking archival research.
Ralph, I thought Meretz was supposed to be a left party?
My basic question to you has little to do with racism/apartheid/discrimination.
I find it hard to believe how much time can get spent disagreeing on semantics instead of agreeing on substance. Clearly you and Ralph both recognize that Palestinians in the OTs suffer from the Israeli occupation, and assuming that both of you believe in a two-state solution based on the June 4, 1967 boundaries (though perhaps that’s not your proposed solution – in which case you should make that clear), then why are you arguing with him, instead of trying to win over the undecided?
Are you looking to assign blame (which is how your postings sound)? Or are you looking to solve a problem? If it’s the former, that’s a shame. If it’s the latter, then I’m sure you realize that every conflict has two sides, two narratives, two sets of frightened and frustrated people.
Israelis are the “oppressors” because, at present, they happen to have the upper-hand – not because they’re especially demonic, or because the Palestinians are especially angelic. But Israelis don’t believe in or practice a doctrine of racial superiority. And if the Palestinians are being dehumanized by Israeli society – and they are – it’s born out of fear.
Perhaps it’s hard for you to imagine the fear of living in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv (or anywhere in Israel) back in 2001-2003, when the suicide bombings were at their height. I can; I was there. Just because you have the strongest army in the world doesn’t mean that you won’t be ripped to shreds when the bomb detonates 3 feet away from you. No tank or F-15 is going to save you.
The heart of the conflict is people – not proclamations.
I’m trying to solve the problem, but solving the problem requires defining it, and a solution flows from that. A solution will come from an end to discrimination and achieving human rights and equality for all. Doesn’t that seem obvious?
Justice will bring peace. Whether that occurs in two states or one state is not terribly important to me, nor is it my decision. There are scenarios where it can work in either.
We can’t achieve an end to discrimination, and therefore justice and peace without recognizing where that systematic discrimination exists. So it is not an exercise in name-calling or blaming as you suggest.
If Israel’s behavior was only a result of fear as you suggest then how do you explain settlements, the construction of the Wall deep inside the West Bank, that schools for Israeli Jews receive perhaps six times as much funding as schools for Palestinian citizens of Israel, that 250,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel are internally displaced from 1948 and unable to return to their homes or villages, that Bedouin villages in Israel are regularly bulldozed, exclusive Jewish control over 87% of Israel’s land through the JNF and Israel Lands Authority, etc., etc., etc.? I can go on with many, many more clear, irrefutable examples that have absolutely nothing to do with fear and everything to do with privileging the rights of Jews over the rights of non-Jews. Your favored narrative of “fear” attempts to whitewash all of this.
All of this discrimination is the logical outcome of the fundamental and probably irresolvable contradiction between being a Jewish and a democratic state in a land with a large Palestinian population. This is indeed a doctrine of superiority which certainly can be defined as ethno-religious superiority, and I believe also racist and apartheid.
Labeling the problem has everything to do with the solution. Your claim that the problem is simply “fear” based on the narrative of the people in power and a flawed analysis leads to the conclusion that there is no need to address all the problems of systematic discrimination which clearly has nothing to do with fear or security.
And by the way Ron, I was in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the West Bank and Gaza frequently between 2002-2005. Where do you imagine that I was frequently shot at and in danger?
People simply won’t listen to us if we were to demonize one side or the other, as you demonize Israel. I could demonize all Palestinians for terrorist efforts that target children and other unarmed civilians and supporters who celebrate such attacks when they are successful. There is enough blame to go around.
You ask me: “You also write as if you accept the traditional zionist narrative of Israel defending itself against Arab attacks. Yet I’m sure you’ve read the historical works of Avi Schlaim, Benny Morris, Tom Segev, Ilan Pappe….” The best of these historians — Morris, Segev and Schlaim (roughly in that order) make it clear that the history of the conflict is complex and both sides have repeatedly done shameful or dubious things.
Simply depicting Israel as the devil, and attacking the Zionist left as you do, does nothing to advance the causes of peace and redress for the Palestinians.
I note that neither you nor Ron seem to have a substantive respond to my factual information and resulting conclusion that Israel systematically discriminates against the Palestinian people in the Occupied Territories, Israel and as refugees in the diaspora. This is because there is because there is no substantive response. The facts support my argument.
Instead, you both change the subject, saying this argument is demonization, blaming or name calling, or saying that Israelis are in fear (of course Israelis have something to fear when they are taking someones’ land).
Ralph, another great distractor is the “both sides” argument, pretending there is equivalence. Since I would imagine that Meretz, as a self-proclaimed left party is concerned about international law, let’s compare “both sides” violations of international law. This is all as documented by B’Tselem, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty Internation.
Palestinians: Killing Israeli non-combatants
Israelis: Killing far more Palestinian non-combatants than Palestinians do (in this intifada more than three times as many Palestinian noncombatants killed according to B’Tselem), building settlements in occupied territory, building the wall in occupied territory, demolishing 14,000 Palestinian homes since 1967 (only about 5% “security” related), multiple other forms of collective punishment, disproportionate use of force, torture, extrajudicial execution, denial of due process, denial of right to freedom of movement within OPT, denial of right to enter and leave one’s country, denial of right to a residence, to education, to healthcare, to employment denial of right or return to what now number over 4.4 million Palestinian refugees.
Ralph, it seems to me that if we look at “both sides” it’s quite obvious that Israel’s violations dramatically outweigh Palestinians’ violations. And as I noted before, many, many Israeli violations cannot be explained as “defensive” or a result of “fear.”
You claim that Morris, Segev and Schlaim make it clear that both sides have done dubious things. That is true, yet I think all three would probably place the burden of violations on Israel. Morris recognizes Israel’s ethnic cleansing in 48 but rationalizes it saying it was necessary to create a Jewish state.
Ralph, do you have any factual, substantive responses? Or is your response simply that even though vastly disproportionate balance of violations has been committed by Israel that it is somehow helpful to avoid saying that?
Do you refrain from blaming the US for the disaster in Iraq, preferring to say that “both sides” have done bad things?
Your use of the term “whitewash” is disturbing and kind of insulting. You are imputing that my entire effort to make sense out of an enormously complex situation is basically an effort to support the “Zionist line” (whatever that is).
I do my best to understand the Palestinian narrative – e.g., the tremendous sense of loss, disorientation, fear, suffering, longing, anger and hatred that was caused to the hundreds of thousands who fled and/or were driven from their lands in 1947-48, and not allowed to return.
In the interest of dialogue and understanding, might I ask the same of you? Might I ask you not to forget that Israeli Jewish fear extends back to the war of 1947-48, and that this fear is informed by the persecution of Jews that goes back centuries? I’m sure you’re abundantly aware that during the holiday of Passover, Jews around the world recite: “In each and every generation, there are those who arise to annhialate us”.
This is not an effort to justify the warped state-supported “settler Zionism” that consciously endorses ethnic/national discrimination. It is an effort to represent the complexity of the situation.
Finally – your comment that whether a solution “occurs in two states or one state is not terribly important to me” seems very indicative: I try to focus on encouraging realistic and just solutions to the problem. You have a right to discuss the issues in the way you see fit, of course. But I kind of think that your goal is not the same as mine.
Ron and I don’t dispute that the Palestinians have suffered more under occupation than Israel has from the Intifada. Losers in a violent conflict generally do suffer more than the winners.
But neither side is blameless; tragically, the Palestinians initiated this conflict by totally rejecting the Jewish presence in 1948. And — although Barak shares some blame with Arafat on this — the Palestinians reignited this conflict by literally blowing up the peace process in 2000, just as they literally blew away the peace camp in 1996 with an earlier wave of terror.
Still, the point is not to argue over blame, but to work for peace and an end to occupation and violence.
Hi Ron and Ralph,
I have to conclude, after posing it many times, that Ralph, perhaps for political reasons, is unwilling to respond to this question on this blog:
Does Israel systematically discriminate against the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, in Israel and as refugees in the Diaspora?
Ron, thank you for giving at least a partial response by acknowledging:
“the warped state-supported “settler Zionism” that consciously endorses ethnic/national discrimination.”
It is not clear if you are confining this acknowledgement to the Occupied Territories or acknowdeging that it carries over into Israel where it also helps to explain the discrimination within Israel.
In either case, it is not a great distance from your acknowledgement to the use of the term “apartheid” as one possible framework to describe the outcome.
I am again not sure what to make of Ralph’s comment that “losers in a violent conflict generally do suffer more than winners”. Ralph, winning doesn’t make “oppression” OK. You are also again disregarding even Ron’s acknowledgement of “ethnic/national discrimination” as an explanation for what is happening. You are also disregarding that acquisition of territory by war is not accepted under international law. Indeed, Ralph and Ron, neither of you have shown a willingness to acknowldege international law up to this point.
I don’t think that you can deny that this discrimination has been an important strand in zionism, whether you like that strand or not, that did not have to do with Palestinians “rejecting the Jewish presence” in 1948. Indeed, it predated 1948, and is one of the causes of what happened in 1948.
I wonder, Ralph, do you really believe that Palestinians were wrong to feel that partition was an unfair deal when they were 65% of the population at the time and were offered control of only 45% of the land, while Jews were 35% of the population who owned only 7% of the land? Seems a bit off to me, no?
Ron, you are concerned that I am not deadset on a two state outcome. This is because I have serious doubts that human rights and equality can be achieved with Israel as a Jewish state. Perhaps it’s possible, but for the life of me I can’t see it. It seems to me a way of ensuring continued privileging of Jews and discrimination against Palestinians.
Ron, in answer to your question about my recognition of fears of Israelis, I used to be sympathetic, but have gradually lost much of my sympathy as I have come to understand Israeli oppression of Palestinians. Who then is responsible for my greatly diminished sympathy for Israel?
Furthermore, my symapthy is not augmented by efforts like that which Ralph seems to have happily engaged in at the AJC to try and combat the use of the term of the term “apartheid” and seemingly whitewash (yes, again) Israeli discrimination. I find this quite troubling and worrisome from someone who claims to be “left”, and it raises grave questions for me about whether I can consider Meretz USA to be left.
Since we can’t argue with Zack forever, I suggest that he find the writings of Benjamin Pogrund online. Pogrund was a South African Jewish journalist who took an anti-apartheid stand and moved to Israel a number of years ago. In Israel, he’s an activist for Israeli-Palestinian peace and reconciliation. He’s also written in detail on the difference between Israel’s situation and what constitutes apartheid.
Unlike Zack, who’s an apologist for Palestinian crimes and missteps in this conflict, Pogrund’s NOT an apologist for anything that Israel does that’s wrong. His writings should give Zack pause.
I missed the part where I was “an apologist for Palestinian crimes.” Can you please locate that for me?
As you know, there are many South Africans who disagree with Pogrund. Of course, Johh Nugrad was cited earlier. Others include:
Angela Godfrey-Goldstein (specifically in respone to Pogrund)
South African Minister Ronnie Kasrils:
Interesting that you cite Pogrund as working for reconciliation. Has he proposed a Truth and Reconciliation Commission of the sort used in South Africa and which is cited very frequently as a model workdwide?
Seems like every day I see a new article in the Israeli media on Israeli racism. Today’s was pretty shocking again.
IDF Women’s Orgnaization Blacklisted Minority Members
“Haaretz has learned they had been blacklisted along with some other 600 widows, most of whom hail from the Bedouin and Druze minorities. The blacklisted widows were not invited to events held by the organization, and excluded from receiving some benefits, according to a document obtained by Haaretz.”
Such instances of discrimination that Haaretz uncovered are reprehensible. I don’t believe that South Africa’s apartheid regime would allow the volumes of critical editorials, columns and investigative news articles of the sort published in Haaretz and occasionally elsewhere in the Israeli media. And, obviously, Israeli Arabs have the right to vote, run for office and sue for redress in Israel’s independent judiciary. These all run counter to any apartheid system.
We and Meretz-Israel are “left” in that we oppose the kind of things referred to in that Haaretz article. Since we are Zionists, we put the lie to the notion that Zionism = racism and apartheid.
I don’t recall if Zack specifically defends Palestinian terrorist and rocket attacks on civilians. Perhaps I’m unfair to him. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he excuses all such crimes as “resistance.”
A few points here:
1) “Since we can’t argue with Zack forever, I suggest that he find the writings of Benjamin Pogrund online.”
Read as, since I can’t actually refute Zack’s arguments, I will continue to avoid them…
2)”I don’t recall if Zack specifically defends Palestinian terrorist and rocket attacks on civilians. Perhaps I’m unfair to him. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he excuses all such crimes as “resistance.””
Good to see such concern for truth and accuracy. I never expressed any support for attacks on non-combattants by either side nor do I. I continually have used the standard of international law, which you notably continue to avoid. What I did write in a post above was this:
“Since I would imagine that Meretz, as a self-proclaimed left party is concerned about international law, let’s compare “both sides” violations of international law. This is all as documented by B’Tselem, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.
Palestinians: Killing Israeli non-combatants
Israelis: Killing far more Palestinian non-combatants than Palestinians do (in this intifada more than three times as many Palestinian noncombatants killed according to B’Tselem),” etc., etc..
3) These points you refer to do indeed run counter to an apartheid system: “And, obviously, Israeli Arabs have the right to vote, run for office and sue for redress in Israel’s independent judiciary. These all run counter to any apartheid system.”
However, the many other points I mentioned earlier, which you have avoided addressing repeatedly do support the existance of an apartheid system in Israel:
“that schools for Israeli Jews receive perhaps six times as much funding as schools for Palestinian citizens of Israel, that 250,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel are internally displaced from 1948 and unable to return to their homes or villages, that Bedouin villages in Israel are regularly bulldozed, exclusive Jewish control over 87% of Israel’s land through the JNF and Israel Lands Authority, etc., etc., etc.? I can go on with many, many more clear, irrefutable examples”
Ralph, perhaps you believe that YOUR zionism does not equal racism. However, you have not seriously cast doubt on the reality that zionism as it has been implemented has been discriminatory and racist, resulting in an apartheid system.
Don’t let the facts get in the way of your argument.
Yes, Israel has killed more non-combatant civilians than the Palestinians have, but Israel (unlike its enemies) does not target non-combatants nor does it encourage and celebrate such losees. Israel is fighting attackers who do not wear uniforms and are embedded among civilians; this creates moral dilemmas on how to fight and is but another reason why a peaceful solution is absolutely necessary.
As I’ve said before, Meretz and other progressive Zionists deplore instances of discrimination and inequity within Israel. This is a violation of Israel’s basic law as expressed in its declaration of independence. Toward this end, Meretz has chosen an Arab member to sit on the board of the KKL– the Jewish National Fund in Israel — and such Meretz spokespeople as party chair Yossi Beilin have advocated that the KKL/JNF be abolished.
The Rabin government was making progress toward eliminating inequities in funding allocations. Tragically, Rabin’s assassination, the return of the right to power under Netanayahu as a result of the terror attacks in Feb. & March 1996, and the blunderings of Barak during his brief stint as PM in ’99-2000, resulting in the Al-Aksa Intifada, have sidelined most efforts toward domestic equality under the law. The fact that Israel can be reformed under existing legal institutions to promote equality proves that we are not talking about Apartheid.
Also, Arab citizens of Israel are a minority who suffer discrimination but are not disenfranchised. This is a very different situation than that of non-white South Africans under Apartheid who were the disenfranchised majority.
As I’ve also said, the fact that we and others as Zionists deplore inequities suffered by Israeli Arabs and mourn non-combatant losses among Palestinians in the territories proves that “Zionism” does not equal racism and Apartheid. Far from me, as Zack quips, “letting the facts get in the way of my argument,” Zack should not let his argument get in the way of the facts.