Lawyer John Dugard won high praise for his legal work on South African apartheid. When he began a forensic study of Israel’s racial divisions, and found they amounted to apartheid, he was denounced as antisemitic and persona non grata in many places. That didn’t change his judgment but it did help understand why Richard Goldstone, the Jewish South African judge who retracted his more critical findings for the UN Human Rights Council fact-finding mission on the 2009 Gaza War. He was assailed by, or ostracised from, his Jewish community.
The word is from South Africa, Afrikaans for separateness. This book of essays on apartheid in S. Africa and Israel looks at what’s like and unlike. S.Africa’s regime failed because it needed the black labour which it also wanted to banish to bantustans. Israel uses Palestinian labour but imports most from Asian countries. S. Africa passed laws making apartheid compulsory. Israel uses its bureaucracy to present a facade of democracy.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent actions have brought to an end 50 years of Israeli deception about the temporariness of the settlement enterprise – Yitzhak Laor, Ha’aretz
And Ban Ki-moon wades in at the UN: “Let me be absolutely clear: settlements are illegal under international law. The occupation, stifling and oppressive, must end.”
MidEast watchers have been waiting to find out what Avigdor Lieberman will do with his power as defence minister. Jonathan Cook describes his strategy to make Palestinian aspirations for self-determination unattainable.
This is an argument taking place in, and about, Haaretz as well as the unresolvable question of what Zionism is. Rogel Alpher says Amos Schocken, Haaretz publisher, is deluded when he thinks international pressure will end the Occupation allowing the recovery of a Zionism which Schocken admires.
This interview with BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti reveals a man who is cautious, realistic and utterly opposed to letting the poison of personal attacks and any sort of racism enter the movement.
Oren Yiftachel writes that the means used to control Palestinians is no longer occupation but apartheid. This is an arguable point given the role the military plays in policing the West Bank, checkpoints, home demolitions and running courts to prosecute and sentence any form of Palestinian resistance. But with the oPt divided into cantons, separated by settlements and their roads, maybe ‘apartheid’ does better describe that means of control.
The Chief Rabbi of a section of Commonwealth Orthodox Jews pronounces that he knows the term ‘apartheid’ cannot be used about Israel because he comes from S. Africa. Diana Neslen, like quite a few of our signatories, is also from South Africa and disagrees. Apart from that, the term apartheid now describes more forms of dividing society than existed in S. Africa.
Amos Schocken, publisher of Haaretz, unequivocally defines Israel as an apartheid society. Israelis accept this. But apartheid is a betrayal of the Zionist project which Schocken believes in. It would recognise Palestinian national rights as apartheid never can.
Thanks to Lee Jones we have the pleasure of posting his chapter from a forthcoming book. In it he examines the different function of BDS demands in S. Africa and Palestine. In brief, Palestinians lack an effective leadership, an intellectual analysis of Israel’s economy and the ability to mobilise the masses.
Last Sunday a few, then a lot of, Israeli Jewish passengers on an Aegean flight from Athens to Israel demanded that two Palestinians be removed from the flight. The captain refused – but to end the stand-off the Palestinians left the flight with dignity – and no doubt the familiar humiliation and anger.
Ma’an reports that a group of settlers is demanding that Palestinians be banned from ‘settlers” roads, presumably forcing Palestinians in the oPt to use what are in effect dirt tracks – or not travel at all. Because of the knife attacks, more and more measures are being taken to wall Palestinians in.
The visit by Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal to South Africa has enjoyed maximum publicity for the joint declaration of opposition to apartheid policies. The Israeli foreign ministry is ‘furious’. Covertly, the US tried to establish relations with Hamas in 2012 via South African agents – an Al Jazeera story from earlier this year.
The EU and USA continue to evade all action on Israeli illegality by summoning the ‘two-state-solution’. This is a chimera. Jeff Halper, redoubtable campaigner, tells Robert Cohen that now Israelis and Palestinians have to push for another ‘just and workable solution’ – and to work out the aims of the BDS campaign.
This article by Roy Isacowitz continues the debate about whether Israeli governance of Palestinians can properly be described as apartheid. Roy Isacowitz thinks yes. This is illustrated with photos of Israeli police rough-handling children and shouting at women whom they are not allowing through the Qalandia checkpoint. Israel justifies its repressive measures as protecting their security.
Youth Against Settlements is a very unsettling group for those who need Palestinians to be violent terrorists. The group has grown from seven to over 50 in a few years and drew a rally of 25,000 to protest against the assault on Gaza – all from a premise of not using violence. That is despite the fact that the Jewish settlers, often violent, are subject to civilian law while the Palestinians, however peaceful, are governed by martial law.
An anguished Bradley Burston, who immigrated from LA to Israel in 1976, has finally had to recognise that the mesh of laws which the Israeli state has amassed to restrict every possible form of independent Palestinian life can only be called apartheid. Every self-respecting Jew should oppose this injustice.
Defence minister Ya’alon announced a plan to make bus segregation absolute and required by law. PM Netanyahu, very aware of the symbolism of bus apartheid in his alma mater, the USA, has over-ruled him. This will not change the long-established practice of different bus lines for Palestinians and settlers in the West Bank. The settlers will be disappointed at not getting apartheid legally enforced.
Apartheid has become the preferred term for some critics of Israel as the best label for Israeli/Palestinian relations. Irene Calis disagrees. Whereas white South Africans needed, and still need, black people as cheap labour, Zionist containment of Palestinians is merely an unfortunate by-product of creating a Jews-only state.
The proposed amendment to Israel’s Basic Law, defining the country as ‘the national homeland of the Jewish people’, instead of ‘a Jewish and democratic state’ rips through the claim of ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’. The new law doesn’t define Palestinians as 2nd class citizens; it defines them as not belonging at all – while all Jews, wherever they now live, are imaginary citizens of the country. The law is based on a delusion.