In Your Face Apartheid

A reader, seemingly unaware and doubtful that there is apartheid in Israel, wrote with some queries. Here is my response.

Reader: Hello you say Israel is an aparthied [sic] country.
Then explain to me, how their [sic] are Arab members of the Knesset who support Hamas and the PLO.

Why shouldn’t they be able to support Hamas and the PLO? Isn’t freedom of choice and speech a cornerstone of democracy?

As for democracy, what does the attempt to bar Arab Knesset members reveal about Israeli “democracy”?1 What does subjecting Arab MKs to censure motions and ousting them from the Knesset imply?2

Reader: How are Israeli Arabs able to vote, If Israel is aparthied [sic].

When the Palestinians comprise only 20 percent of the population, they are hardly in danger of taking over Israel through elections. Besides, just how far can Israeli Jews go in denying and clamping down on Arab rights in Israel before the world can no longer turn a blind eye? I say this, sadly, with tongue wedged firmly in cheek because anyone who follows international events and scrutinizes state/corporate media knows that there probably is no limit to the depths of disinformation they will plumb to attain elitist aims; hence, most/many people will be unexposed to the crimes of Zionism. To iterate, allowing Palestinians the right to vote is a harmless gesture. Nonetheless, just how ironclad is the Arab right to vote? In 2009, the Knesset stripped 25,000 Bedouins of their right to vote.3

In the 2006 Palestinian elections Israel prevented Hamas from campaigning in East Jerusalem, and it prevented many Palestinians from voting. Furthermore, as a further example of apartheid, Palestinians living in annexed East Jerusalem have no citizenship and they cannot run for mayor.4

Reader: How are Israeli Arabs able to criticize Israeli leaders?

Does the ability to criticize Israeli leaders deny the existence of apartheid?

Why does a leading Israeli press says Israel is apartheid5 — and even worse than apartheid was in while-ruled South Africa?6

Arch-Zionist and Israel defense minister Ehud Barak faced reality when he said: “As long as in this territory west of the Jordan river there is only one political entity called Israel it is going to be either non-Jewish, or non-democratic. If this bloc of millions of ­Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state.”7

Reverend Desmond Tutu said, “Have our Jewish sisters and brothers forgotten their humiliation? Have they forgotten the collective punishment, the home demolitions, in their own history so soon?”8

Logically, when a truckload of evidence and criteria points to apartheid, does the paucity of some criteria deny the apartheid? If a short-haired woman works as a bus driver, wears pants, and smokes cigars, does that mean she is not a woman?

Reader: 2nd, can you tell me how many Jews live in the Arab countries?

Anyone with internet access can do the research themselves.

First, what does the number of Jews living in Arab countries have to do with Israeli apartheid? Did it undermine apartheid in South Africa and Rhodesia that there were few Whites in Mozambique and Namibia? Second, tell me where Jews are barred from living in any Arab country (or any country, for that matter). Third, and what does it suggest when Jews have to resort to scaring Jews out of Arab countries?9

While Arabs are a minority in Iran, Jews are content to stay. Why would Jews choose to stay in a state that is allegedly an enemy to the Jewish state? Even refusing money to leave.10

There are 1.5 million Arabs in Israel. Israel is the formerly Palestinian/Arab territory that was stolen from them. And after the UN-sanctioned dispossession, Jews “ethically cleansed” the territory of 800,000 Palestinian residents. Currently, 4-6 million Palestinian refugees are prevented from exercising their right of return, a right that is enshrined in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights to which Israel is a signatory. So the ones prevented from living somewhere are the Palestinians/Arabs in the Jewish state.

Reader: Can a Jew live in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, UAE, Egypt, North Sudan, Qatar, Syria etc

First, the premise is invalid. It is tu quoque. Second, are you saying that a Jew cannot live in those countries?

Are you intimating that because Jews are, allegedly, not allowed to live in Arab countries, then Arabs shouldn’t be allowed to live in Israel? Would these two wrongs add up to a right?

Still Don’t Know if Israel is an Apartheid State?

Consider this if you are still confused about whether Israel is an apartheid state. Imagine that there is an invasion of Martians and they occupy the United States.

There are Martian-only roads and you are not allowed to drive on them.11 New York, California, Texas, Florida, and Washington states have been fully cleared, and other states partially cleared, of human inhabitants without compensation. The former residents are denied any right of return. Newly arrived Martians continue to settle in these and other states.12 Trips to visit family, emergency runs to the hospital are stalled for hours at Martian roadblocks.13 The Martians erect walls to usurp the best agricultural land water resources and pen Americans into smaller ghettos.14 Americans are prevented from buying land in the US. A tax-deductible charity, the Martian National Fund, has been set up to own the land only for Martians.15 American houses that occupy land wanted by the Martians are demolished.16 Washington DC is split between Martian and human inhabitants, but the Martians begin rezoning neighborhoods for Martians only.17 Non-Americans who marry American citizens are forbidden to live in the US, and children born to such American-non-American marriages must leave the US despite being born there.18 However, remaining Americans (36 million) are allowed to vote, but it does little good since the Martians number 150 million.

Tell me, honestly, this is not apartheid and that you would be fine living in such conditions.

I am afraid that time spent on the no-brainer topic of Israeli apartheid is a distraction from something far more sinister.19

  1. Chris McGreal, “Knesset moves to bar Arab members,” Guardian, 30 December 2002. ” Israeli Supreme Court Overturns Ban Barring Arab Candidates from Elections – 2003-01-09,” VOA, 30 October 2009. []
  2. Michal Shmulovich, “Police say yes to right-wing march against MK Zoabi,” Times of Israel, 26 February 2012. []
  3. Press release, “New Law Deprives 25,000 Arab Bedouin Citizens of Israel of Right to Vote in Local Elections in the Naqab (Negev),” Adalah, 19 November 2009. []
  4. Daniel Seidemann, “The perils of polling in East Jerusalem,” Middle East Channel, 23 February 2012. []
  5. Yossi Sarid, “Yes, it is apartheid,” Haaretz, 25 April 2008. []
  6. Yitzhak Laor, “Israel’s apartheid is worse than South Africa’s,” Haaretz, 8 November 2009 []
  7. Quoted in Rory McCarthy, “Barak: make peace with Palestinians or face apartheid,” Guardian, 3 February 2010. []
  8. Tutu condemns Israeli ‘apartheid’,” BBC News, 29 April 2002. []
  9. See Ella Habiba Shohat, “Reflections By An Arab Jew,” Bint Jbeil and Naeim Giladi, “The Jews of Iraq,” Bint Jbeil. []
  10. Yossi Melman, “Iranian Jews blast offer of cash for immigrating to Israel,” Haaretz, 14 July 2007. []
  11. There are Israeli-only roads in West Bank. []
  12. Right of return for Jews who may have no geographical connection to Israel while Palestinian refugees are denied the right of return. []
  13. Checkpoints for Palestinians, not for Jews. []
  14. There is an illegal wall to keep Palestinians out (and to annex their territory). []
  15. The racism and discrimination practiced by the (tax exempt in Canada) Jewish National Fund. []
  16. House demolitions — even in West Bank. []
  17. Cleansing neighbourhoods of Palestinians so Jews can move in. []
  18. The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law prevents getting Israeli citizenship or residency by a Palestinian from the West Bank or Gaza through marriage. Children from such marriages must emigrate from Israel at age 12. []
  19. Read Gary Zatzman, “The Notion of the ‘Jewish State’ as an ‘Apartheid Regime’ is a Liberal-Zionist One,” Dissident Voice, 21 November 2005. []

Kim Petersen is co-editor of Dissident Voice. He can be reached at: kim@dissidentvoice.org. Read other articles by Kim.