The Israel-apartheid debate
Is Israel an apartheid state? Does its rule over the Palestinians constitute an apartheid regime?
With movements like BDS and others attempting to shift international discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to a rights-based and international law-based discourse, we at +972 take a look at the merits, increasing use and utility of applying the word “apartheid” to Israel and the Occupied Territories.
A number of public figures ranging from Ehud Barak, John Kerry, Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni have warned that if a two-state solution isn’t reached, Israel will become an apartheid state. Others say that apartheid is already here. The verdict isn’t yet in but the discussion is taking place here.
Beyond irony: Whitewashing Mandela's legacy
It is not the least bit surprising to see Israeli political leaders praising Mandela’s memory, with some even going so far as to declare him an Israeli hero. Some of these will surely be cynical, conscious attempts to whitewash his legacy and escape criticism. Many, however, believe every word they say. By Sean O’Neill Working in Palestine from late 2006 to late 2009, mostly in the Yatta/Hebron area, I have had the distinct (and often surreal) privilege of meeting a number of Israeli settlers who had emigrated from South Africa. One such man was G., the security guard for the settlement of…
Searching for a genuine anti-apartheid struggle in Israel/Palestine
While Palestinians and their leaders historically took their cues from anti-colonial resistance in Vietnam, Cuba and Algeria, their struggle has, over time, become similar to the fight against apartheid in South Africa. With the failure of the Oslo Accords, new, often overlapping approaches have proliferated, leading Ran Greenstein to find out what a genuine anti-apartheid model would look like in our time. By Ran Greenstein How can we define and understand the essence of the struggle against political oppression in Israel/Palestine? On the face of it the answer is simple: the target is the Israeli regime and its practices. But, is…
On Mandela's legacy: Three political innovations
Political and strategic legacies tend to be obscured in the mourning over the passing of a great leader and human being. Let us honor his memory not by regarding him as a flawless saint but as a comrade. By Ran Greenstein It is difficult to say anything not full of clichés about the death of Nelson Mandela. When tributes are pouring in from all over the world to the greatness of a unique leader, elevated to the status of a global icon and a saint, it is easy to forget that before he became a widely admired statesman who led South…
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 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…
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 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…
Same apartheid drama, on a new stage
The Jenin Freedom Theatre wraps its tour of Athol Fugard's 'The Island' in New York City, bringing Palestinian cultural resistance and prisoner experiences to U.S. audiences. NEW YORK -- You would think the words “Israel,” “Palestine” and “occupation” would have to be spoken during a theatrical production tackling the Palestinian political prisoner experience. Not so in the Jenin Freedom Theatre’s adaption of South African playwright Athol Fugard’s “The Island,” which just concluded a four-state U.S. tour, the first Freedom Theatre production performed in English to tour abroad. The reason: the Palestinian experience in Israeli prisons parallels that of black South African prisoners…
Echoes of South Africa’s 'District Six' in the Negev
Despite the openness of forced displacement in Israel and the OPT, the public and centers of power do not grasp the inherent severity and racism of the practice. A comparative case, albeit a controversial one, may help to put Israel’s policy into perspective. Israel’s policy of forcibly displacing and “transferring” the Palestinian Arab population is occurring both in the Occupied Territories and inside Israel itself. The problem is that despite knowledge of the practice, the public and centers of power do not grasp the severity of the policy or the racism behind it, both of which require harsh condemnation and…
Tzipi Livni joins the 'Israel apartheid' club
Israel's justice minister follows former prime ministers Barak and Olmert in applying the term to this occupying country. The newest self-hating Jewish anti-Semite, according to right-wing Zionist standards, is Tzipi Livni, who on Monday suggested that one of Israel’s possible futures is that of an “apartheid state.” From The Jerusalem Post: During her Eilat speech, Livni said she was impressed that youth in the country protested against the government decision to export natural gas. “I appreciate the fact that they care and are thinking about the future, and obligating us to think about the future,” she said. “But the time…
The worst argument against the Apartheid analogy
A senior employee at right-wing organization NGO Monitor penned an interesting op-ed in Israeli daily Yisrael Hayom this morning (Sunday). NGO Monitor, which targets organizations and people who actively oppose the occupation, is obsessed with use of the term Apartheid. The piece by NGO Monitor's deputy director of communications, Lena Abayev, is a longwinded attack on those who compare the situation in the West Bank to that of Apartheid South Africa. Interestingly enough, there are only two sentences in which the author actually addresses reality on the ground in the West Bank. Sadly, they work against her argument: Israel is…
Poll: 23% of Jewish Israelis support apartheid, 13% support status quo
Survey finds that majority of Jewish Israelis think the country should unilaterally determine its borders along the route of the West Bank separation barrier. One-third support either annexing the West Bank without giving Palestinians civil rights, or perpetuating the status quo -- both of which are apartheid. According to a poll* released Sunday, a majority of Jewish Israelis (57 percent) believe Israel should determine its borders unilaterally according to the current route of the separation wall, which cuts deep into the West Bank, winding through Palestinian land well east of the 1949 Armistice Lines (Green Line). This confirms that 1) Israelis…
Making the case for Israel Apartheid Week
For two student activists in Washington D.C., Israel Apartheid Week – and using the term 'apartheid' – is an opportunity to alter perceptions and the discourse surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Whereas 'occupation' defines Israel/Palestine as a military struggle with ambiguous moral implications, 'apartheid' describes a civil rights struggle with a clear moral imperative. By Joshua B. Michaels and Benjamin L. Mandel This month, cities and campuses across the U.S. participated in the 9th Annual Israeli Apartheid Week. As the apartheid paradigm becomes more and more pervasive throughout American political discourse when discussing Israel, it is fair to ask: what is meant by "apartheid?"…
Settlers: It’s we who suffer from apartheid - not Palestinians!
The word “apartheid” is slowly seeping more and more into mainstream discourse on the occupation. Yet I recently came across two cases in which, how to say, the usage of the word was a bit surprising. The first came in the official Yesha Council newsletter, which posted an item on the Palestinian-only buses recently “inaugurated” for Palestinian workers who enter Israel on a daily basis. You can read more about these bus lines here. Besides pointing to Chaim Levinson’s (Haaretz) piece claiming Palestinians are happy with the new arrangement, the Yesha Council - who went with the headline "Apartheid, nice…
Poll: Israelis support discrimination against Arabs, embrace the term apartheid
A majority of the public wants the state to discriminate against Palestinians, says a poll published in Haaretz. The findings don't reflect a failure in education, as some might argue, but rather the inherently discriminatory nature of the state and the result of decades-long occupation. Gideon Levy reports in Haaretz today the findings of a survey that reveals deeply-rooted racism in Israeli society, and a desire of most of the Jewish public to practice ethnic segregation between Arabs and Jews. This is the front page story of Haaretz today. The poll was conducted by Prof. Camil Fuchs, one of the…
other special coverages
Reports, maps, infographics and other documents on human rights and democracy.
20 Years Since the Cave of the Patriarchs Massacre
+972 and 'Hamakom' on reality in Hebron.
50 Years Too Many
Half a century of military occupation.
On the challenges facing a growing population of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.
Full coverage of the BDS movement, international pressure on Israel to end the occupation.