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If this isn't apartheid, then what is it?

We do not need to find identical practices to those prevailing in pre-1994 South Africa in order to determine whether apartheid exists elsewhere.

By Ran Greenstein

A partly constructed portion of Israel’s separation wall, in Walaja, December 7, 2010 (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

For a few years now, opinion pieces and articles in the South African and Israeli press have shown confusion regarding the meaning of the comparison between Israel and apartheid South Africa. How can we sort out the conceptual mess that afflicts the debates around the issue?

First, let us examine the meaning of apartheid. The term defines the race-based regime of political domination and social marginalisation that ruled South Africa from 1948 to 1994. Alongside this meaning, another definition emerged in international law, drawing on the South African example but gradually moving away from it. With the demise of the apartheid regime in 1994, its legal meaning took a decisive step away from South African realities. The 2002 Statute of the International Criminal Court contains no references to South Africa and regards apartheid as “an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group.” We must also bear in mind that the 1965 International Convention on eliminating racial discrimination extends the term to cover “any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin.” In other words, it is not restricted to ‘race’ in the common meaning that invokes real or imaginary biological differences in its definition.

While apartheid remains associated in our minds with its South African origins, legally it has no necessary relation to South Africa. We do not need to find identical practices to those prevailing in pre-1994 South Africa in order to determine whether apartheid exists elsewhere. The key question is the identification of a regime that practices systematic oppression and domination by one group over another. How then does it apply to Israel?

To answer that, we need to clarify another concept: Israel. While usually seen as residing within its pre-1967 boundaries, the Israeli regime exercises control over Palestinians in the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza. For the last 46 years, all residents within Greater Israel have lived under the same regime, which claims to be the sole legitimate political and military authority. The state controls the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, ruling over 8 million rights-bearing citizens (75 percent of whom are Jews) and 4 million Palestinian subjects denied civil and political rights. To complete the picture, millions of Palestinian refugees (who were born in the territory or their direct ancestors were) cannot set foot in their homeland, let alone determine its political future as citizens.

How is the notion of apartheid relevant to this reality?

The Israeli regime is based on an ethnic/religious distinction between Jewish insiders and Palestinian outsiders. It expands citizenship beyond its territory, potentially to all Jews regardless of their links to the country, and contracts citizenship within it: Palestinians in the occupied territories and refugees outside have no citizenship and cannot become Israeli citizens.

The regime combines different modes of rule: civilian authority with democratic institutions within the Green Line (pre-67 boundaries), and military authority beyond it. In times of crisis, the military mode of rule spills over the Line to apply to Palestinian citizens in Israel. At all times, the civilian mode of rule spills over the Line to apply to Jewish settlers. The distinction between the two sides of the Line is constantly eroding as a result, and norms and practices developed under the occupation filter back into Israel. Israel as a ‘Jewish democratic state’ is ‘democratic’ for Jews and ‘Jewish’ for Arabs.

It is in fact a ‘Jewish demographic state.’ Demography – the fear that Jews may become a minority – is the prime concern behind state policies. All state institutions and practices are geared to meet the concern for a permanent Jewish majority exercising absolute political domination.

These conditions are particularly visible in the occupied territories: Jewish settlers live in exclusive communities, from which all Palestinian locals are barred (except, occasionally, as ‘hewers of wood and drawers of water’). They drive on Israeli-only roads, enjoy Israeli military protection and access to all the privileges and and services that come with citizenship rights, including voting for the Israeli parliament. Palestinian subjects are denied access to any of the above, and have no say in the way they are governed. ‘No taxation without representation’ is a noble political principle that does not apply to them, only to Israeli settlers.

How should we call a regime that leaves millions of its subjects with no political rights, that practices segregation in all walks of life and that denies them the basic right to determine their future? True, there is a Palestinian Authority as well, but it has no power over crucial issues of security, land, water, movement of people and goods, industry and trade. All that matters is controlled by Israeli military authorities, which operate on behalf and at the behest of settlers and Israeli interest groups. That the territories have not been formally annexed to Israel is irrelevant – it changes none of the oppressive practices to which Palestinians are daily subjected.

Some people prefer not to term this regime apartheid because it is indeed different (not better) in some respects from what existed in South Africa before 1994. Fair enough, but what better term is there?

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

Echoes of South Africa’s ‘District Six’ in the Negev
Tzipi Livni joins the ‘Israel apartheid’ club
When ‘apartheid’ seems to be the hardest word 

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    1. Kolumn9

      Blah blah blah. Here we go again. There is a Palestinian Authority in the territories that rules the day-to-day lives of Palestinians, but it is ‘irrelevant’. Israel hasn’t annexed the territories, but that too is ‘irrelevant’. The Israeli Arabs have full citizenship, but this too is ‘irrelevant’. For the author all these inconvenient facts are problematic so they become ‘irrelevant’ on the way towards his predetermined conclusion which in turn bears no relationship to reality and so is irrelevant.

      The answer to the author’s question is pretty straightforward. There is a conflict between two peoples in a territory (the West Bank) that has yet to be partitioned permanently but where multiple internationally recognized governments currently rule. There is a process of Israeli settlement of areas in the West Bank which are claimed by Israel (this is called ‘settlement’). Likewise there is a process of Palestinian settlement of areas in the West Bank which are claimed by Palestine (this is just called ‘construction’). There is an awkward system of relations during the transition period during which the permanent status will be determined.

      This seems like a much more convincing explanation of what ‘it is’ than what the author is trying to pitch.

      Reply to Comment
      • tod

        Kolums your claims are weak. I answer to 1.
        The fact that Israel did not annex the Palestinian Territories only confirms that prefers to exploit the area without taking any responsability. It is not something to be proud of. The Palestinian Territories represent indeed a “sui generis case”. In other somewhat similar contexts, such as, just to name a few, Abkhazia, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and East Turkestan, the “occupying powers” of these areas have created in loco nominally independent states (TRNC-Turkey, Abkhazia-Russia and so on), and/or are not building settlements in their “occupied territories” (Chechnya is just an example), and/or have incorporated the local inhabitants as their citizens: with all the guarantees, rights and problems that this entails.
        No “conflict between two peoples in a territory (the West Bank)”: there is just an occupier and an occupied.

        Reply to Comment
    2. This is the pot calling the kettle black isnt it–what do you call a move to expel the Jews from their homes? Apartheid, or JUDENREIN

      Reply to Comment
      • carl

        Nazmi Jubeh on Deborah’s JUDENREIN propaganda:
        “I think that slogans are not useful and do not explain the complexity of things. Any Jew who wants to live in our community, following the rules which this entails, must be free to do so. It’s quite a different story, however, to request that the settlers who arrived here by force and in defiance of international law can ipso facto be entitled to see their actions justified. In other words, those who want to live in a future Palestinian state must do so under the law and not as colonialists. When Israel was created, the Palestinians were already here, and accounted for the vast majority of the local population. This is why there are now over one million Palestinians in Israel, many of whom are known as ‘internally displaced persons’ [IDPs]. In constrast to this, settlers arrived in the Palestinian territories through violence and incentives received in recent years from Israeli governments. Equating the former to the latter is not only simplistic, but also morally reprehensible.”

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    3. Richard

      Professor Greenstein asks us to ask ourselves: what better word is there that describes Israel/Palestine than the word “apartheid”? If you’ve decided, for some absurd reason, that the situation in Israel/Palestine needs to be reduced to one word before we can continue talking about it, and you care about respecting international law (as Professor Greenstein claims to), “occupation” is actually a better word. But what’s more important than arguing for the use of one term over another is pointing out that there’s absolutely no reason to participate in Professor Greenstein’s semantic game if you’re interested in having an intelligent discussion about reality. The only reason to ask this question is to sneak in through the back door the idea that Zionist Israel will share the fate of Apartheid SA. Maybe, since this pointless word game debate has been going on for so long, its more important for us to ask: what is the value of trying to describe Israel/Palestine in one word? The answer is of course that there is no value, except for propaganda, but this is not the only reason why Greenstein’s piece makes no sense. Professor Greenstein also undoes himself handedly in what is, though utterly derivative, an oft-repeated, buffoonishly ignorant juxtapositioning of two legal theories that ignores the basic contradiction between relying on the legitimacy of the idea of “apartheid” as a part of international law, and ignoring the much, much, much stronger part of international law that says the West Bank is not part of Israel (saying “de-facto” or something like it is a supposed to overcome the inconvenient fact that the world’s universal non-recognition of Israeli sovereignty over even the Old City of Jerusalem means that when it comes to the “occupation” v. “apartheid” question, international law stronger favors the former over the latter). If your appetite for semantic games is strong enough that, once you’ve understood the stupidity of the premise of this article, you still want to play one, try asking yourself: if Afrikaans had not spawned the word “apartheid”, what word, already existing during the time of apartheid SA, would anti-apartheid activists have used to describe the situation in their country in one word? Slavery? Nazism? Casteism? What this exercise, which is a lot more insightful, reveals, is that it is only possible to reduce a complex and historically unique geopolitical problem to one word when someone coins the word. That’s the only way it makes sense. Greenstein would argue that this is unnecessary because someone decided to write a definition of apartheid that doesn’t refer directly to SA. The problem here is that when a word has only been used to describe SA and Israel, a paper definition is meaningless, and pointless. Language assumes meaning through use, which is precisely why Greenstein knows, or should know, that promoting the use of the word is, and will always be, about a making a direct comparison to SA, not about “international law.”

      Reply to Comment
      • Since an Israeli commission has declared that there is no occupation, there is no word to describe things at all, neither “occupation” nor “apartheid.” Since there is no word, there is nothing to be described. Thus, there is no problem of any kind.

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          >Since there is no word, there is nothing to be described. Thus, there is no problem of any kind.

          There is no word because the situation is unique – there is no another example where some people were offered to have an independent state but refused.

          Reply to Comment
          • Well, full political independence was granted to various ethnicities in South Africa through bantus. Everyone had their bantu where they fully able to exercise independence. I guess, since resistance to the white regime continued, they too rejected independence. So Palestine is not so unique here, after all. Stick with not having a word so there is no problem. That’ll work.

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          • Richard

            I don’t see anyone arguing that the lack of a catchy word to describe the state of affairs in Is/Pal means there’s no problem. The fact that the Israeli government has not itself created a word to describe its set of policies in the WB or Gaza, the way the SA created the word “apartheid” deliberately to describes its own policies, is probably the main reason why there isn’t a single word people use. My only point is that trying to squeeze this unique situation into any already-existing word doesn’t make sense, and there’s no reason we have to identify a word or phrase to talk about the large and complex set of problems there most certainly are. That doesn’t mean there’s no problem, it just means its pointless trying to name the problem in overly simplistic terms.

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      • robert sklar

        Why no email forward??? Not everyone uses facebook

        Reply to Comment
    4. Rachamim Dwek

      The author seems to have been in a come for the last 18 years. Oslo II gave Palestinians full political self determination- including the 48,000 who live in Area C- the only place on the planet where a single Palestinian must interact with a single Israeli. The right to vote? The right to form political parties? Politically organise?

      As for his belief that the Jewish Right of Return is racist, most European nations have the very same law. Indeed, Spains “Law of Historical Memoury” takes it a whole lot further and yet, noone but a lunatic would accuse Spain of being an Apartheid State.

      If the author needs some lessons in why his applicationn of the Apartheid label is intellectually bankrupt, since he lives and works in South Africa he can talk to Minister of Parliament, Dr. Kenneth Meshoe who would probably be quite happy to explain to the author how wrong he truly is.

      Finally, misusing the Apartheid label is an affront to the millions of South Africans who spent almost half a century living under it. Twisting it according to interpretive definitions is notjing but a dishonest bait and switch and is used in nothing more than a petty, partisan attack on the State of Israel. If one opposes Israel, for whatever reason, do so with integrity and self respect. If the cause is just there should be no reason to lie or embellish.

      Reply to Comment
      • “Oslo II gave Palestinians full political self determination” : yes, including the right to enter and exit their land as they choose, as well as move within their land, to enjoy that “political association” you mention.

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      • andrew r

        “As for his belief that the Jewish Right of Return is racist, most European nations have the very same law.”

        If Israel had the same law of return as the European states, it would be for the millions of Palestinian political exiles and would no longer be able to exist as a Jewish state. What the Israeli law actually does is allocate possible citizenship on a confessional-racial basis for people who have no verifiable ancestry in historic Palestine. In the case of Germany or Spain, you must have ancestors who actually lived there.

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        • Kolumn9

          Bullshit. There are millions of ethnic Germans from former Soviet states granted citizenship who had a tenuous claim to have ancestors that ever lived in what is now Germany. Likewise in Spain one just needs to be an “Ibero-American” to be granted expedited citizenship. Likewise with the immigration laws in Greece, Hungary, Armenia, Serbia which all provide citizenship to their respective ethnic communities. What Israeli law actually does is allocate possible citizenship on an ethno-national basis for people who share the ethno-national identity of the state. This is exactly the same as the laws in the books in several European states.

          Reply to Comment
          • There are prior residents. And you are extending population into areas of prior residence. The Law of Return is not the problem–it is a garland of victory. But immigrating further inland, that ties Return to Greater Israel. Prior residents are made less than incoming Jews there, are condemned for existing, are given no consistent administrated rights, rather told they are responsible for their plight by being of the race of their hobbled “leaders.”

            This silence on their being is why the label “apartheid” is employed. You would be enraged if Jews were in this position; indeed, have been enraged. So ethnicity is trumping the rule of law in a zero sum world. Arabs can never be trusted, just take a look at all the surrounding destruction. Jews rarely make mistakes in all of this or, if they do, they do not reach mistakes demanding redress.

            The silence over Yossi Gurvitz’s Yesh Din posts says there is nothing to redress, no real wrong, just another bit of the unending race war. 100 years now. 100s to go.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            I have no idea what you are talking about. Yes, Jews are prior residents that are now returning to the land. And yes we are expanding into other areas of our prior residence.

            No one is condemned for existing. Some people are treated with some suspicion given recent periods of prolonged, wide-scale and popular hostile activities against us from within that group that took the form of trying to kill the maximum number of our civilians for political effect. Previously the same group of people made an effort to stifle our existence in this land and we somewhat unexpectedly (for the Arabs) managed to survive. Since then the popular and persistent hobby among that group has been trying to come up with ways to make our lives unpleasant and ideally eventually to make us leave.

            And certainly I have a very hard time believing those predicting paradise on earth in the region partially due to the simple and certainly entirely irrelevant fact that there is a civil war to the north, anarchy to the south, and various quite nasty disorders in other parts of the region. Likewise it is hard for me to imagine that the Palestinians are so far removed and isolated from the overall weltanschauung of their fellow Arab Muslims dominant in the rest of this unhappy region as to exclude the current state of other Arab Muslim states from consideration. I would also be the last to suggest that Jews do not make mistakes. Of course we do. We are likely to make many more in the future as well. We are in fact so prone to making mistakes that any plan that relies on us not making mistakes and not having extremists and spoilers within our ranks is doomed from the get-go.

            And yes, we are in a war. The war goes on. The war will end at some point and we aren’t planning to let our guard down until it does.

            Reply to Comment
          • “Jews are prior residents that are now returning to the land. And yes we are expanding into other areas of our prior residence.” : This from the Kolumn9 label who once said all settlers could be expelled upon appropriate peace agreement. Perhaps your thinking has, well, evolved; or the label has been passed on.

            Reply to Comment
          • andrew r

            You need to do more homework.

            Germany does not have an open-ended policy of expediting any given ethnic German. Migrants from E. Europe and the FSU were accepted on the basis of their expulsion post-WWII; now they are subject to a quota and will not even be able to enter without passing a German exam.


            The only case now where Germany would waive the citizenship requirements for someone is if their ancestors were expelled by the Third Reich.

            Even if Germany was as loose as Israel, you again ignore the elephant in the room that Israel’s legislation is a device to replace the expelled natives with the affinity group of the colonial settlers. Israel exists as a Jewish state through the physical expulsion of the Palestinians and revoking the citizenship they held during the British Mandate.

            Reply to Comment
          • MoJo

            “Physical expulsion” and “colonial settlers” indicate a gross oversimplification of the demographic dynamics of Israel-Palestine. The Law of Return was passed at a time when Israel had to absorb refugees, who, in the early days of the state, were just as likely to be from the Middle East as Europe.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            Again, Bullshit. Ethnic Germans were accepted from the FSU en masse with no regard to any ‘expulsion’. Many of them were the descendants of Volga and Baltic Germans whose actual links to the current borders of Germany are questionable at best and only an ethnic link exists. Nor have you looked at the other countries I mentioned. You seem to be entirely ignorant of the matter but yet you are still talking. Why?

            The elephant in the room is that you wish for the State of Israel to not exist. So, you demand that Israel grant the great-grandchildren of WW2-era refugees the right to enter its borders despite the absence of any such ‘right’ anywhere else in the world, including for ethnic Germans expelled from Poland or the Czech Republic. Nor does the argument that Israeli immigration policy is unique in the world or even Europe have any legs as I already pointed out. So, your problem isn’t with any specific Israeli law or policy. The reason for you trying to apply double standards here is because your problem is that Israel simply exists.

            Reply to Comment
          • andrew r

            You’re actually, without realizing it, hammering the difference between Germany and Israel in this area – Germany only accepted ethnic Germans from the countries invaded by the Third Reich. Germany no longer has a policy of encouraging ethnic German migration. The post-Soviet wave was due to inertia and is now regulated.

            “So, you demand that Israel grant the great-grandchildren of WW2-era refugees the right to enter its borders despite the absence of any such ‘right’ anywhere else in the world”

            Anyone with an ancestor expelled by the Third Reich is entitled to German citizenship. Spain is supposed to be granting the same right to Sephardic Jews whose ancestors were expelled 500 years ago.

            “The reason for you trying to apply double standards here is because your problem is that Israel simply exists.”

            If Greece, Serbia, Hungary, Armenia and Germany forced people into exile so they could be a state for an ethnic group that isn’t from the country, I would still support the right of the exile population to return even if they couldn’t exist as a state.

            Reply to Comment
          • MoJo

            “If Greece, Serbia, Hungary, Armenia and Germany forced people into exile so they could be a state for an ethnic group that isn’t from the country, I would still support the right of the exile population to return even if they couldn’t exist as a state.”

            Funny, you leave out Poland and Czechoslovakia… and once again, the Palestinians were not simply “forced into exile” en masse – that is a rather one-sided reading of the 1948 war.

            Reply to Comment
          • andrew r

            The basic aim of Zionism could not be achieved without dispossessing the Palestinians. That’s not a one-sided reading.

            Reply to Comment
          • MoJo

            So says the Ilan Pappes of this world.

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          • Oriol2

            Sorry, K9, where did you read that in Spain you have just to be “Ibero-American” to get “expedited citizenship”? By the way, the “Ley of Memoria Histórica” is not about citizenship, but about the rights of people prosecuted by fascism.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ramzi

            “What Israeli law actually does is allocate possible citizenship on an ethno-national basis for people who share the ethno-national identity of the state” judaism is a religion you moron not a race or nationality or ethnicity or a “people”, would Greece or France give me citizenship because i’m a christian?…you zionist fundies are really confused and your logic and way of thinking is so twisted it’s got you believing your own nonsense

            Reply to Comment
    5. Shmuel

      The reason why ideologues like this author insist on using the word “apartheid” ONLY in relation to Israel is because they want to wilify and marginalise Israel. Why? Because if they would succeed in that quest, they would find it easier to isolate Israel and bring it to it’s knees.

      The fact is that they cannot give a stuff about discrimination or apartheid. If they would, they would look at the treatment of minorities in Arab countries. Do they do that? Of course not. They are too preoccupied with misrepresenting the situation between Israel and Palestinian Arabs who have been in a 100 year WAR with each other. And protagonists tend not to be overly nice to EACH OTHER in wars.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Polls published on this topic that demonstrate Jewish Israeli recognition of or outright support for apartheid are invariably savaged in Israel as unbalanced, poorly presented, unclear etc.

      How unclear does a question have to be? For example a poll published in Haaretz asked “Is there apartheid in Israel?” How complicated or loaded is that? A full 58% of respondents agreed that there was apartheid in Israel… 39% said in some ways… 19% said in most ways. When asked “Should the right to vote be granted to Palestinians if Israel annexes the West Bank?” sixty nine percent of respondents said no.

      Mairav Zonszein had an article on 972 earlier this year in which she noted:

      The poll also mentions that 13 percent think the situation should remain as it is (“de facto Israeli control of Palestinians without annexation of Judea and Samaria”), which means maintaining the status quo. The situation we live in right now is de facto a bi-national state (or ‘one state’), in which every person between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean lives under varying degrees of Israeli rule, so I think it is fair to add this 13 percent to the 23 percent – which essentially means that a whopping 36 percent of Jewish Israelis support Israeli control of the West Bank without Palestinian civil rights – what I think can safely be called apartheid.

      Polling numbers aside, even the stats-challenged can find reams of evidence on YouTube, Facebook (often starring IDF members) and elsewhere of racism, discrimination and state-sanctioned apartheid-like practices that makes denial of a distinctive form of Israeli apartheid a non sequiter. Anyone familiar with Gideon Levy’s in-depth reporting on what really goes down in the territories would have to be in deep denial in order to minimize or downplay the pathological hatreds that exist and the chasms that divide.

      Racism, bigotry of any sort is a terrible thing. In N. Ireland sectarian hatred all but destroyed civic life and led to acts of barbarity during The Troubles. It was only when the costs of hatred became increasingly untenable that sanity began to take hold.

      I have the utmost respect and admiration for those Jewish Israelis are struggling to achieve a more just society. But polarized attitudes won’t change as a result of goodwill alone, there has to be political will and a government capable of creating the conditions for change.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Shmuel


      100 years of war, hatred, incitement, terrorism, suicide bombings, rockets. And counter measures by Israel too.

      What do people expect? Brotherly love?

      Show me one war in the history of mankind in which one side only (in this case Israelis) are expected to show brotherly love and respect to the other side while the other side, until barely 20 years ago, refused to even recognise the right of the other side (Israel to exist). And this has not really changed today either. Hamas still refuses to recognise Israel and the PLO talks from both sides of their mouth about it.

      I am actually surprised how tolerant most of us Israelis are under the circumstances. That is not to say that there is no discrimination by us or against us for that matter. But compared to many other conflicts, the situation here is not as rabid. Yet we are being painted as the worst of the worst by SOME. I am glad to say though that common people everywhere in the world (I travel a lot and talk to a lot of people) are beginning to see through the anti Israel propaganda and are recognising it as such.

      Reply to Comment
      • Arab Israeli citizens are not responsible for suicide bombings. But when you ask young Jewish Israelis if they think Arabs should rent in their building, look at the % no. You are not at war with your citizens. Nor are you at war with every resident Palestinian in the WB. It is too easy, it erases, immunizes, too many acts.

        You say you abhor racism. Then what of the vanguard settlers? The answer seems to be “we will be what you will be.”

        Reply to Comment
        • Shmuel

          How do you know what settlers say? And why do you pretend that ALL 500,000 “settlers” say the same thing?

          As to who we are at war with? Yes we the two peoples have been in war for nearly 100 years with each other. And yes, many Israeli Arabs, not all, see themselves as part of the Palestinian Arab people rather than as part of the Jewish people. And yes, some Jewish Israelis agree with them but not all. Stop simplifying us and talking about them with nuance.

          And Greg, I said this before, we treat our Arab citizens better than you treated your German, Japanese, Italian and Hungarian citizens during your war with them. WW2, remember the internment cams?

          Reply to Comment
          • I use “vanguard settlers” for a reason, and refer you to the Yesh Din reports on this site. “Vanguard” means vanguard, not all settlers.

            It is bizarre to think Arab Israeli citizens should be part of the “Jewish people.” The State is there for all of its citizens, as a matter of law; here I refer you to your own Declaration of Independence.

            As to the WWII internment camps, I have used this history herein as an example of egregious error.

            You speak of “nuance” after lumping all “Arabs” in a “100 years of war.” Your just playing the standard nationalist game. Keep the redress of wrongs off balance by (attempted) fancy foot work.

            Reply to Comment
          • Shmuel

            Greg, I told you before, I abhor racism whether it comes from Jews or against Jews.

            I tell you what else I abhor. I abhor one sided condemnation of racism. By that, I mean the pathological desire by some on sites like these to pretend that racism only exists in Israel and is practiced only by Israelis.

            The fact is that only some Israelis are racists and their racism does not exist in vacuum. The fact is that many Palestinian Arabs are racists too and they commit racist acts against Jews.

            As for your claim that it “is bizarre to try and count Israeli Arabs as part of the rest of the people of Israel (the Jews), YOU CAN’T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS. You can’t both complain that Jewish Israelis treat Arab Israelis differently then in the same breath complain that the Arab citizens of Israel are not the same as other Israelis (the Jewish ones). Either they are the same, in which case they should be treated the same or they are different as you claim but in that case, they will unavoidably be treated differently at times. You better make up your mind which would you prefer. I say, both sides have not only rights, but they ALSO have RESPONSIBILITIES.

            As for the internment of American citizens of German, Japanese and Italian origin in WW2, it is nice of you to admit in hindsight that it was an “egregious error”. But the reason I brought that up was because of the topic of THIS blog which alleges apartheid in Israel. I corrected that false allegation by pointing out what happens all wars. There is mistrust and mistreatment of “people who are from enemy countries”. Sometimes that mistrust is not justified yet sometimes it is. But if it is an “egregious error” in places like America, why do you try to call it by a different name (Apartheid) in Israel? If you persist in that, I will be forced to draw the appropriate conclusion about you too. That you are a hypocrite with double standards like many other posters and writers on this site. I would prefer not to think of you in those terms. Heaven knows why?

            Reply to Comment
          • RICK

            Whether or not all Germans were Nazis, or all Southern Whites were “racist” is beside the point: those societies and Israel are institutionally and structurally racist. Housing, education, any kind of legal rights all radically discriminates against Palestinians, as those other society did- which understates the severity. Any 19 year old Israeli soldier can kill any Palestinian in the Territories with absolute impunity. That is racism, whether you are in denial about like most Israelis- and Amer.Jews- through misinformation from cradle to grave. Most people in this world can see who is really David and who is a functioning believer of a settler state.

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          • RICK

            And maybe the moon is made of green cheese. Changing the subject from societal and institutional racism of Israel, in case you missed the question I raised, is the point. We all know both sides have committed atrocoties, the more important and usually missing piece is that settler states like Apartheid S. Africa, Protestant N. Ireland, etc, have a that includes (“nishul” in Hebrew) of the indigenous people and their unequal lack of any meaningful rights.That’s what we’re up against here, not just the individual cases of violent excess by individuals. My close relatives in the IDF are just as subject to the negative life choices, if not as harshly, as the Palestinian population they are assigned to be prison-keepers for are. A racist system creates misery and violence, including for victims of resistence.

            Reply to Comment
          • JohnW

            According to you RICK, the moon is indeed made of green cheese.

            “Individual cases of violence” humbug!

            You mean organised xenophobic violence supported and glorified by all levels of Palestinian institutions and society. Have you heard of Hamas? And even the PLO was founded and funded as a terrorist organisation who for now choose to put on sheep’s clothing but they have not given up on violence. How do we know? Because some of us watch them. They name streets after “Martyrs”, they insist that Israel should release murderers and when they are released in the name of elusive peace negotiations, they give them handsome stipends for life. A reward for their acts of murdering Israeli civilians.

            Yes, Rick, you really want us to believe that individual Palestinians just wake up one morning and decide to murder Israelis? And that even if they would, they could on their own? Without funding? Without logistics? Without backup? Either you think that we are fools who would believe your propaganda or you you yourself are a fool.

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          • nadav

            The PLO was created in 1964, three years prior to the six day war. Could it be the arabs rejected violently to the idea of a Jewish homeland before any settlement was ever erected? I wonder….

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