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What can we learn from the Israel apartheid analogy?

Although there is room within the legal definition of apartheid for Israel/Palestine, that does not mean it fits the South African model, both in its characteristics and in resistance against it. Only by fully understanding those core differences can Israel/Palestine draw valuable and useful lessons from South Africa’s anti-apartheid struggle.

By Ran Greenstein

Demonstrators sit in front of the “Skunk” water canon, during the weekly protest against the occupation in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, May 18, 2012. (Photo by: Oren Ziv/ Activestills.org)

In a previous post I argued that the Israeli regime between the River and the Sea is a form of apartheid as defined in international law (“an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial  group over any other racial group”). This refers to the regime as an integrated whole, ruling both Israel ‘proper’ and the Occupied Territories. It  includes or excludes and allocates or denies rights to different groups in the population in a differentiated manner, based on ethno-religious affiliation.

Read part 1: If this isn’t apartheid, then what is it?

Having established the apartheid ‘credentials’ of the Israeli state, we must note it is different in important respects from historical apartheid in South Africa. This difference is related both to the nature of the regime and the possibilities for resistance and change. It is tempting but misleading to assume that ‘family resemblance’ leads all oppressive regimes in identical directions. Their specific historical legacies shape their current and future prospects in different ways. What are these legacies then and how relevant are they for analysis and activism in Israel/Palestine? To answer that we have to look at the South African experience.

Apartheid in South Africa was the product of a centuries-long history, which saw colonial forces (the Dutch East India Company and the British Empire, Afrikaner and English settlers, Christian missionaries, big landlords and industrial capitalists), collaborate and compete with each other over land and labour resources, and political control over indigenous groups. Both settlers and natives were highly diverse populations, and their encounters – spread over a long period and large territory – created a multi-layered system of domination, collaboration and resistance. Apartheid was a link in this historical chain, seeking to close loopholes and entrench white domination. During that period, the nature of indigenous resistance also changed, from attempts to retain or regain independence in the 18th and 19th centuries, to a struggle for civil and political equality in the 20th century, based above all on the thorough incorporation of indigenous people into the white-dominated economy and society.

The legal foundation of apartheid in South Africa was a racial distinction between white and black people (further divided into many racial and ethnic sub-groups), rather than a dichotomous ethno-religious distinction. Racial groups were not homogeneous, but internally divided on the basis of language, religion, ethnicity, and political affiliation. And, people forged important links across the color line. For example, white people were divided between English and Afrikaans speakers, and many black people too speak one of these as a mother tongue. Christian churches brought together some white and black believers in some churches (though usually not worshipping together), and separated them from other mixed groups of white and black believers. In contrast, lines of division in Israel/Palestine usually overlap. Potential bases for cross-cutting affiliations – anti-Zionist orthodox Jews, Arab Jews, indigenous Palestinian Jewish communities – were undermined by the rise of Zionism and Arab nationalism in the 20th century. This left no space for people straddling multiple identities.

Under South African apartheid, the central goal of the state was to ensure that black people performed their role as providers of labor, without making disruptive social and political demands. The strategy used to achieve that focused on externalizing them. Although they were physically present in white homes, factories, farms and service industries, they were absent – politically and legally – as rights-bearing citizens. They were expected to exercise their rights in the rural ‘homelands.’ Black people employed in the urban areas were supposed to commute regularly between the places where they had jobs but no political rights, and the places where they had families and political rights but no jobs.

This system of migrant labor opened up a contradiction between the ideological and economic imperatives of the apartheid regime. It broke down families and the social order, hampered efforts to create a skilled labor force, reduced productivity, and gave rise to crime and social protest. To control people’s movements, it created a bloated repressive apparatus, which was a constant burden on state resources and capacities. Domestic and industrial employers faced increasing difficulties in meeting labor needs. From an economic asset (for whites) apartheid became a liability. It had to go.

The economic imperative of the Israeli system, in contrast, has been to create employment for Jewish immigrants. Palestinian labor was used at times, but was never central to Jewish prosperity in Israel. After the first Intifada, under conditions of globalization, it was replaced by politically unproblematic foreign workers. In addition, a massive wave of Russian immigration in the 1990s helped this process. The externalization of Palestinians, through denial of rights, ethnic cleansing and ‘hafrada,’ has not been problematic for Israeli Jews. There is little evidence of the contradiction between economic and ideological imperatives that undermined apartheid South Africa.

Apartheid was the latest in a chain of regimes in which white settlers dominated indigenous black people in South Africa. People of European origins were always in the minority, relying on military power, technological superiority, and divide and rule strategies to entrench their rule. Demography was never an overriding concern. As long as security of person, property and investment could be guaranteed, there was no need for numerical dominance. When repression proved increasingly counter-productive, a deal exchanging political power for ongoing prosperity was acceptable to the majority of whites. Can such a deal be offered to Israeli Jews, for whom a demographic majority is the key to domination and the guarantee of political survival on their own terms?

In summary, Apartheid in Israel is different then from South African apartheid in three major respects:

1. At its foundation are relatively consolidated and mutually-exclusive ethno-religious identities, with no cross-cutting affiliations across the principal divide in society;

2. It is relatively free of economic imperatives that run counter to its exclusionary thrust, because it is not dependent on the exploitation of indigenous labor. This means that Palestinians cannot use the crucial strategic weapon of South Africans – the ability to bring the economy to a halt and threaten white prosperity. And;

3. Its main quest is for demographic majority as the basis for legal, military and political domination.

In all these respects it is a system less prone to an integrative solution along the lines of post-apartheid South Africa. This has implications in particular for the debates around the question of one/two states and the strategies to be used in the struggle to change the regime. Without providing an overall analysis, here are a few reflections on the relevance of the South African experience.

Why the differences are important

The starting point is the co-existence of two ethno-religious groups in Israel/Palestine. Israeli Jews are unified by their legal status as full citizens. Palestinian Arabs are divided by their legal status into citizens in Israel proper, resident non-citizens in Greater Israel, and non-resident non-citizens in the Palestinian Diaspora. The two groups are distinct by virtue of their language, political identity, religion and ethnic origins. Only about 10 percent of the entire population (Palestinian citizens) are fully bilingual. Many Jews have Arab cultural origins, but that legacy has been largely erased through three generations of forced and voluntary political and cultural assimilation. As a result, they are not different politically from other Jews in the country.

Given these conditions, the South African one-state ‘rainbow nation’, based on the multiplicity of identities and the absence of a single axis of division to bring them all together and bind them – unity in diversity – is unlikely to be replicated in Israel/Palestine. Elements such as the mutual dependency between white business and black labor, the use of English as the  medium of political communication, business and higher education, shared by all groups, and Christianity as a religious umbrella for the majority of people from all racial groups, do not exist in Israel/Palestine. These features of the situation emerged in South Africa through a long process of territorial expansion, conquest of indigenous people and their incorporation as ‘hewers of wood and drawers of water’ in the growing economy. Such features cannot be created from from scratch by using attractive slogans that are not grounded in history.

This difference aside, if we consider ‘Israel proper’ in isolation, elements similar to the South African experience are evident. People of all backgrounds – Ashkenazi and Mizrahi Jews, new Russian and Ethiopian immigrants, and Palestinian citizens – use Hebrew in their daily interaction and largely share similar social and cultural tastes. In mixed towns, such as Haifa, Jaffa and Acre, there are neighborhoods in which Jews and Arabs live together with little to distinguish between their life styles except for their home language and religious practices. Without idealizing the situation, they have much more in common with one another than white suburbanites have with rural black South Africans, during apartheid or today.

What lessons can be learned?

Politically, this means a focus on working for a ‘one-state solution’ within pre-67 Israel as a state of all its citizens, at least in the immediate-medium term. Not an easy task in light of the recent right-wing campaign to enhance the Jewish character of the state, bolstered by this week’s ruling of the Supreme Court against recognition of a unified Israeli nationality. This means making Israel a democratic state in which ethno-religious affiliation confers no political privileges. Socially, the tent protests of (northern) Summer 2011 showed positive  but largely unrealized potential in identifying common economic interests and concerns of all people, as expressed by the Jaffa-based Tent 1948 for example. Activists could pursue this focus, guided by the Vision Documents of Palestinian citizens, and envision how these could be linked to the struggle against the occupation.

Can the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa provide lessons for the struggle to democratize Israel, terminate the occupation and extend equal rights to all Israelis and Palestinians?

Yes, provided we understand the core strength of the movement: its grounding in local conditions and reliance on mass mobilization in the streets, factories, schools, townships and communities. The ability to generate support overseas was based on the movement’s widely-recognized claim to represent the masses and lead them in struggle, above all through the multi-racial UDF (United Democratic Front), which brought together hundreds of community organizations, labor unions, women and student constituencies, progressive religious movements, white draft resisters and so on. The slogan ‘one person, one vote’ provided a banner behind which people inside and outside the country could march together.

The Palestinian solidarity movement sets out to replicate the achievements of the anti-apartheid  movement, but with no equivalent mass movement. In a sense, it acts as if the cart could pull the proverbial horses. Activists must consider the implications of the absence of a grounded mass movement in Israel/Palestine, when aiming to build on the South African experience. The key difference between the South African apartheid regime with its massive dependence on black labor power, and the Israeli regime which has relied historically on the labor power of immigrant Jews, is behind this contrast. Labor exploitation in South Africa led to the creation of a mass movement of workers and township residents, willing and able to overturn the apartheid regime from within, while Palestinians have been restricted to a large extent to struggling against the oppressive regime from without. Uplifting slogans asserting similarity of conditions and strategies cannot disguise this deep socio-political difference.

Identifying Israel as an apartheid regime, then, is just the beginning of the task. It is not a substitute for an analysis of the specific features of the regime, its strong and vulnerable spots, its allies and opponents. Strategies used successfully in South Africa may be irrelevant to the Israel/Palestine struggle if they are applied in a different context. Perhaps the most important lesson of the South African movement is its originality, having worked with no preconceived models in order to develop a unique combination of passive resistance, mass defiance, marches, popular mobilization and militant resistance. What activists should ‘copy’ is this creative attitude rather than any fixed set of tactics (such as the BDS) regardless of the concrete historical circumstances.

Ran Greenstein is an Israeli-born associate professor in the sociology department at the University of the Witwatersrand, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Related:
Echoes of South Africa’s ‘District Six’ in the Negev
If this isn’t apartheid, then what is it?
When ‘apartheid’ seems to be the hardest word 

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Shmuel

      Utter nonsense. This guy can’t even muster enough courage to talk about THE TWO STATE SOLUTION that the UN voted for in 1948 and which most Israelis accepted but which the Arabs in general and Palestinian Arabs in particular rejected at every opportunity.

      This is the description of the author of that two state solution:

      “Politically, this means a focus on working for a ‘one-state solution’ within pre-67 Israel as a state of all its citizens, at least in the immediate-medium term.”

      At best this is DOUBLE TALK, at worst it betrays what his real aims are.

      “At least in the immediate-medium term”,

      indeed we know what he means by that. It means the STAGES approach or SALAMI TACTICS that Arafat talked about when he thought that westerners were not listening.

      Reply to Comment
      • un2here

        The Jews did not “accept” the division of Palestine – they suggested it.

        Reply to Comment
        • Shmuel

          What the fuck does that mean? More double talk?

          Reply to Comment
          • I have always wondered why such an agreeable activity should not have an agreeable word associated with it. “Make love” doesn’t quite fit, for two people may be in a very agreeable state without being in love. Instead, we have a word which shifts the activity to a hostile state, and I have indeed used the word thusly many times. Then we are stuck wanting a state which is agreeable but somehow hostile. Maybe a reflection of the evolutionary based sex wars.

            You’re harming your goals here. Detail why the piece enrages you and then do not attack but provide reasoned thought.

            Reply to Comment
          • Shmuel

            Awwww, Greg, you really think it is possible to harm my cause with people who already have closed minds? I don’t. The way I see it, I may as well have the satisfaction of conveying my real feelings.

            Peace :)

            Reply to Comment
    2. Shmuel

      According to some, when their country gets attacked it is time to defend themselves.

      So, the battle of Britain was the defence of Mother England.

      The defence of Russia was the defence of Mother Russia.

      The war against Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany was the defence of the free world.

      But when we Israeli Jews defend ourselves against Arab attempts to eradicate our existence, that is Apartheid?

      How can one take such people seriously?

      Reply to Comment
      • un2here

        You made a mistake when you chose to expel the population of the land you invaded.

        Reply to Comment
        • Shmuel

          “You made a mistake when you chose to expel the population of the land you invaded.”

          Either that, or they made the mistake of thinking that we would behave the way that they intended to behave with us if they would win the war so they fled.

          Watch this video of a confession by a Palestinian leader. You may understand it yourself, he speaks in Arabic. If you don’t and you don’t believe the voice-over, get someone you trust to translate it for you. Or maybe even two independent translators?

          http://maurice-ostroff.tripod.com/deir_yassin.html

          “In this interview with the BBC he [Nusseibeh] admits that in 1948 he was instructed by Hussein Khalidi, a prominent Palestinian Arab leader, to fabricate claims of atrocities at Deir Yassin in order to encourage Arab regimes to invade the expected Jewish state. He made this damming admission in explaining why the Arabs failed in the 1948 war. He said “this was our biggest mistake”, because Palestinians fled in terror and left the country in huge numbers after hearing the atrocity claims.”

          Reply to Comment
          • un2here

            The point is that you came to Palestine, Palestine did not come to you. Consequently, you are the ones who are viewed as the aggressors – like the Nazis, or colonial Britain for that matter – who by definition are not defending anything, but instead are attacking others.

            Reply to Comment
          • Shmuel

            The point is that the Arabs came to Palestine as agressors! We returned to our home.

            Reply to Comment
          • un2here

            Myth!

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            And your claims are BS

            Reply to Comment
      • Philos

        “Mother England”? Such virulently fascistic notions of nationalism are entirely alien to the British, or even English, sense of national identity. Even the most right-wing bigoted “Little England” xenophobe would balk at using terms like “motherland”, “fatherland”, or “homeland.” If you’re going to use worthless analogies at least get them right

        Reply to Comment
        • Shmuel

          Yawn …

          http://www.bartleby.com/248/1164.html

          “Then mother—Mother England!—home I came,
          Like one who hath been all too long away!”

          Google it. There is plenty more like it.

          Reply to Comment
    3. Shmuel

      “Having established the apartheid ‘credentials’ of the Israeli state”

      Ummmmmm, the thing is: you haven’t. You and your like minded biased spin artists only think you have.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Shmuel

      I am a non religious secular Israeli person whose ethnicity is Jewish.

      Given the history of my people, I believe that it is in my interest and my right to want to live in a democratic but Jewish majority country. If that is apartheid then so are all the other ethnic majority countries in the world. Which means every single country on this planet.

      Those who disagree should just pick on any country on this planet and try to conduct the same social experiment/campaign that they are trying to conduct on my country. They should appeal to the general population to allow an immigration policy which would result in making the currently dominant population becoming a minority in their own country. Let’s see how a German, an Italian, a Thai, or Arabs would receive such a proposal.

      My prediction is that anyone who tried it on, would be laughed at and they would be given the one finger salute. Yet this is what ideologues like this author are trying to force on us. To accept the so called right of return and to NOT try to maintain the demographic Jewish (ethnicity) in our country. And since we laugh his crazy idea off and give him the one finger salute, he/they try to blackmail us by trying to label us as supporters of apartheid. Pathetic. Just pathetic!

      Reply to Comment
      • un2here

        Once you abandon your religion, your “ethnicity” goes down the drain as well – a “Jewish Muslim” would be an oxymoron.

        Reply to Comment
        • Shmuel

          “Once you abandon your religion, your “ethnicity” goes down the drain as well – a “Jewish Muslim” would be an oxymoron.”

          Really? So according to you, religion is the same as ethnicity?

          Personally, I disagree. It may have been a means of keeping the Jewish people alive, I grant you that. But ethnicity and religion are not necessarily the same although they can be.

          Think about this: You can have the following combinations:

          1. A person can be Greek Orthodox by religion but he may not be ethnically Greek.

          2. Or he may be ethnically Greek but be not religious at all.

          3. Or he may be both Greek Orthodox by Religion and be ethnically Greek.

          Don’t you agree? It’s the same with us Jews.

          Oh by the way, A Muslim Israeli citizen living in the state of the Jewish people (ethnic Jews) is not an oxymoron. It is fact. It is what we have in Israel today.

          Reply to Comment
          • un2here

            No it is not the same. Although a Greek can indeed convert to any religion he may fancy, a Jew cannot convert, to say Islam, and still be a Jew. Judaism is not an ethnicity, it is a religion.

            Reply to Comment
          • Shmuel

            The point is that I can convert to Islam (as if I would want to) and still be of Jewish background because the Jewish people are an ethnic group too.

            I should know and you don ‘t know because I am Jewish and you are not.

            Reply to Comment
          • un2here

            If you can convert to Islam and still claim the right to the Jewish Homeland, then the Palestinians can too – even more so!

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            By your logic there are no Palestinians either. If a Palestinian would convert to Judaism, He would be part of the Jewish people.

            Reply to Comment
          • un2here

            No, not at all – what follows logically is that you are an imposter, claiming false title to land.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Myth.

            Reply to Comment
    5. andrew r

      Multiple-choice question: What’s the best response to this paragraph?

      “They should appeal to the general population to allow an immigration policy which would result in making the currently dominant population becoming a minority in their own country. Let’s see how a German, an Italian, a Thai, or Arabs would receive such a proposal.”

      a) That is one of the most succinct, hard-hitting indictments of Zionism I’ve ever read. And of course it was written in defense of Zionism. With no self-awareness whatsoever. If nothing else it raises irony to the level of performance art.

      b) Yeah, how dare anyone suggests doing to us what we did to the Palestinians!

      c) No shit, we saw how the Palestinians reacted 100 years ago when the Zionists appealed to the British to impose such an immigration policy on them.

      d) All of the above

      Answer: d)

      Reply to Comment
      • Tzutzik

        Good point Andrew but you overlook a few pertinent facts.

        (a) 100 Years ago, the Arabs had no sovereignity over any of Palestine which was an Ottoman province.

        (b) 100 years ago, the Arabs held no private ownership over even a quarter of Palestine.

        (c) Jews had sovereign ownership of Palestine well before th Arab invaders colonised Palestine in 634 AD

        (d) As a consequence, Jews had just as much right to immigrate live and BUY land in Palestine as the Arabs did. And probably even a greater right.

        So you see Andrew? You shot yourself in the foot by admitting that despite the above pertinent facts, the Arabs resisted the endeavour of the Jews to form an independent state on PART of Palestine. They resisted it because as you say, they did not want to become a minority. So using that same logic, NOW it is our turn to resist the attempt to make us a minority in the sovereign Jewish state that ALREADY exists today. What is good for the goose, is good for the gander too.

        Reply to Comment
        • un2here

          Palestine was a Christian stronghold at that time – and Judaism had gone out of fashion several hundred years before Muhammad was even born. People change their views you know, get over it.

          Reply to Comment
          • Shmuel

            Palestine was an Ottoman province 100 years ago, in 1913.

            Judaism has not gone out of fashion ever. Just because you are not Jewish and don’t know us, stop making up stories.

            You get over it.

            Who am I wasting my time with? A child? Or are you an idiot un2h? If you are, then I am sure you will be able to bring me down to your level and beat me with your experience at being an idiot. So I will stop responding to your inane opinionated yet ignorant posts. So long.

            Reply to Comment
          • un2here

            More than 90% of the 6 million Jews around the Mediterranean abandoned Judaism in favor of Christianity. They founded the movement, quite successfully. Spain and Morocco are the two notable exemptions, but that is a very far away from Palestine.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            A random statement that has no bearing on the discussion.

            Reply to Comment
          • un2here

            The evidence is not strengthening your case, correct, and neither was it intended to

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Nor does it strengthen your case. Like I said, it is just a random statement akin to saying that “the sky is blue”.

            Reply to Comment
        • andrew r

          First of all, if you’re implying that Jews are entitled to Eretz Palestina because Judaism predates Islam and Christianity, you’re missing the pertinent fact that human habitation of Palestine predates Judaism. The Palestinians’ ancestors were not colonizers from Arabia.

          Second, this rationale forgoes any standard of civilized behavior. The Zionists had no entitlement to any of Palestine; the only merit to their case is that they were able to take it by force with the tacit approval of the colonial powers (US, Britain, et. al). It boils down to might makes right.

          Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            I have no problems with Palestinians having part of Palestine. I and many Israelis both historically and now were/are in favour of the two state solution.

            However, it is you lot who claim that ALL of Palestine belongs to Arabs and Arabs ONLY. So what is your excuse for denying history and OUR rights?

            Reply to Comment
          • un2here

            What rights??

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Ok then, I can play your game too.

            If we don’t have rights, then your Palestinians don’t have rights either.

            Reply to Comment
          • un2here

            What rights do you not have??

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Heh heh heh, very funny. I think I am talking to a bot. I have been had :)

            Reply to Comment
          • un2here

            Self reflection can be a scary experience

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Try it sometime. It might make you human. The fact that it scares you, confirms my diagnosis of you.

            Reply to Comment
    6. I think this piece largely on mark. What seems to me an evolved decision to create Greater Israel (desired by many for some time, just a de facto result for others) means that economic development between Jewish residents in the WB and Palestinians (which I think inevitable albeit certainly not initially equitable) is necessary before civil protest can have true effect. The South African history cited above entailed decades of economic links; Palestinian protest deals in slogans and largely symbolic acts which are not sustainable (e.g., the creation of mini villages, then expunged by the IDF and police). The three cases of sustained nonviolence (or civil resistance) which I know (US, South Africa, India) involved years of built socio-economic ties within the protesting/oppressed community. It is not enough to organize for protest. One needs a socio-economic engine which lets one survive the arrests, retaliation, and waiting between protests. This seems sorely wanting on the WB, but only those living the experience can create what is needed; not to insult, academic suggestions here are not grounded in lived life. Even so, the weekly Wall and associated protests suggest something is happening socially on the ground, and that means economically too (aid to one another in various ways). Something is evolving therein.

      As to Israeli Arab citizens, the Israeli Declaration of Independence should entail their equal treatment as full citizens, but does not. Once again, only Israeli Arabs can create sustainable ways to protest this. Sadly, the greater territorial conflict has muzzled thought in this area and augmented State resistance to attempted articulation of full rights (consider failure to honor a c 1950 High Court decision allowing the repopulation of a village in northern Israel).

      I see a very long struggle. I do not think Two States will play out because of Israeli security needs. I sometimes hold hope that these peace talks might construct a form of economic redress of contract disputes, which would be a start; but the hope keeps flickering into darkness when I see Bibi in action.

      But the one’s that could/can go violent are out there. A sustainable socio-economy of protest and resistance (I like “refusal” more) is necessary to help dampen that potential as well. And I fear what the IDF may do if attacks occur. People will live. All sides must live with that.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ilonj

        To the American posters in here, I have an idea:

        You guys show those darn Israelis how it’s done. Initiate a referendum amongst your country-men and women. Remind them that since states like Texas, California, Arizona and maybe a few other states? Used to be part of Mexico, and you have quite a large Latino population already, suggest to your fellow Americans that it is high time to redress past wrongs and it is time to implement a one state solution by joining America with Mexico.

        Let’s see. How do you think your fellow Americans would react to such a suggestion?

        Psssst … Don’t try this at home. It may be a health hazard to ya all, LOL.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ed

          All people in Texas, California and Arizona etc. have equal rights so no solution is needed.

          Not all people in the area between the Jordan river and the sea have equal rights so a solution is needed.

          All the other comments here about Thailand, Nazi Germany, 634 AD etc. etc. is just verbiage for the purpose of digressing from this fact.

          Reply to Comment
          • Benji

            “Not all people in the area between the Jordan river and the sea have equal rights so a solution is needed.”

            You are right. According to some, Palestinians have the right to murder and terrorise Jews but Jews are not allowed to defend themselves.

            Reply to Comment
          • Benji

            Woowwwww!!!

            so according to you, it does not matter who initiates the violence. Nor which party attempted to reach peace for the last 65 years, in 1948, after 1967, in 2000 in 2001 in 2008, all that does not count. You just count the dead and if those who defend themselves kill more than those who are war mongers, the worst ones are the ones with the higher kill ratio.

            Bizarre logic to say the least.

            Reply to Comment
          • un2here

            Peace will come with the return of the refugees.

            Reply to Comment
          • Shmuel

            “Peace will come with the return of the refugees”

            Then I am afraid there will never be peace :(

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            Oh, of course there would be peace.

            Palestinian repatriates would massacre some Israelis and destroy economy, after which Judenfrei Israel would become peaceful Arab state.

            Reply to Comment
          • Shmuel

            The refugees will never be allowed to return. Most of the real refugees, the ones who fled as a result of the war that their brethern started, are either old or dead. And according to international law, REAL international law, not one of the biased laws made up to appease Arab sentiments, those who were not born in in the land (descendants) should not be classified as refugees. That’s how it works with all other refugee populations.

            Reply to Comment
          • JG

            ” Most of the real refugees, the ones who fled as a result of the war that their brethern started, are either old or dead.”

            Very unlike the Jews who left 1800 years ago, they for sure have every right to come from everywhere and claim that Palestine is their land. Cause *they* never died and never got old in all these years. Fascinating logic, boy……

            Reply to Comment
          • Shmuel

            Yes we had the right. And we have the right to have one state in which we are a majority. The Arabs have 22 such states already and they have been and still are being offered their 23rd state, if only they would sign a peace deal in which they would undertake not to attack us any more.

            And no, we won’t let more of them come into OUR state and accomplish through demographic means what they could not do by force of arms.

            If we would let them return, at best we would have half a state and the Arabs would have 23 and a half states. At worst, we would have NO state of our own and that ain’t gonna happen. Get over it.

            Reply to Comment
          • un2here

            The Americans have FIFTY states and Obama is a great friend of AIPAC, very supportive – talk to him, maybe he can help?

            Reply to Comment
          • Tzutzik

            Nah. We will just keep Israel. What are you going to do about it?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ilonj

            Yes Ed, and would you care to recall who started the violence in 2000?

            Hint: Bill Clinton blamed Arafat for rejecting Israel’s peace offer which Clinton described as an opportunity of a lifetime. So tell us? Ed? Who started the violence?

            Reply to Comment
    7. Richard

      “an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group” – when the author quotes this language, and says that, because of it, Israel is a apartheid state under “international law”, he is playing legal quack, and certainly isn’t first anti-Israel zealot to play that role. Nothing new to see here. The more nuanced point, worth discussing, is that Greenstein is misleading his audience, by omission, and by cavalier use of the phrase “international law”, about what “international law” means in the context of his argument. Whether this is intended or not, using the phrase “international law” in an opinion piece as though the meaning of that phrase can and should easily be understood by a lay audience is very misleading. This is a different issue from the weakness of the legal argument itself – which seems to be that anything ever written in a convention is “international law.” This is too stupid to address, so I won’t. The more subtle problem is that this kind of argument passes the smell test for a lot of people because lay audiences don’t understand the difference between domestic laws and “international law” – “international law” is, even according to its most vocal advocates, very, very, very different from the domestic laws of countries in the Anglosphere – it’s not black or white, it doesn’t exist on paper for the most part, and it doesn’t amount to much if its just based on a resolution or convention that got some votes at some point in last 100 years. People who write about American law, or British law, are relaying concepts that their audiences understand. Greenstein isn’t doing the same thing. He’s hoping his audience understands “international law” as something akin to domestic law, when it isn’t. It’s unseemly to suggest, by omission, and by discussing the issue so simplistically, that both kinds of law can provide a clear answer the reader’s question about what’s “legal.” This shows contempt for readers, for lawyers, and for International Law.

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    8. XYZ

      Ran says:
      ————————————
      Politically, this means a focus on working for a ‘one-state solution’ within pre-67 Israel as a state of all its citizens, at least in the immediate-medium term
      ————————————
      Typical of Jewish “progressives” Ran completely leaves out the demand that the Palestinians make a similar thing for their proposed state. The Palestinian constitution officially proclaims that it will be an “ARAB state” (what about non-Arab citizens?) and with an official status for Islamic Sharia law which discriminates against non-Muslims. Why does Ran ignore this? Why is it okay for Arabs to make a state like this but not Jews? DOes Ran believe Jews are superior and “more progressives” than Arabs, or does he simply think Arabs are too primitive to understand his idea of a “progressive” state so he ignores them?

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    9. Carusa

      Apartheid in Israel? My arse!

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