Apartheid: Stigmatizing Israel?

Questions Not Asked

Israel defense minister Ehud Barak has spoken to apartheid in Israel.

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.1

Israeli media Haaretz responded:

His [Barak’s] stark language and the South African analogy might have been unthinkable for a senior Israeli figure only a few years ago and is a rare admission of the gravity of the deadlocked peace process.1

Barak did not, however, relinquish Israel’s claim to the rest of the Occupied Territories of Palestine, he just mused on what was to be done about the non-Jewish people.

The question not asked was: What about Jimmy Carter? Or Desmond Tutu? How can an Israeli defense minister talk about an apartheid state and anyone else not?

Former US president Jimmy Carter was raked over Zionist coals for using the term apartheid, which appeared in the title of his book Palestine Peace Not Apartheid.

Carter wrote of an apartheid worse than in South Africa:

When Israel does occupy this territory deep within the West Bank, and connects the 200-or-so settlements with each other, with a road, and then prohibits the Palestinians from using that road, or in many cases even crossing the road, this perpetrates even worse instances of apartness, or apartheid, than we witnessed even in South Africa.2

Of course, Carter was smeared as an anti-Semite. In the end, following the Lobby’s mobbing of Carter, he apologized to American Jews for “stigmatizing Israel.”3

Before Carter, South African archbishop Desmond Tutu, who lived under apartheid, spoke of apartheid practices in Israel against the Palestinians. He, too, was accused of anti-Semitism.

Tutu was unapologetic.

People are scared in this country, to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful — very powerful. Well, so what?

The apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists.

Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet, Milosevic, and Idi Amin were all powerful, but in the end they bit the dust.4

Added Tutu:

Have our Jewish sisters and brothers forgotten their humiliation? Have they forgotten the collective punishment, the home demolitions, in their own history so soon?4

Will Barak be chastened, accused of “self-hatred,” and forced to apologize for his “stigmatization” of Israeli Jews? This is not so important.

More important is that the stigmatization of people who oppose the oppression of Palestinians must cease, and above all, the apartheid5 and oppression of Palestinians must cease.

  1. Rory McCarthy, “Barak: make peace with Palestinians or face apartheid,” Guardian, 3 February 2010. [] []
  2. Excerpt cited by Haaretz Service, “Jimmy Carter: Israel’s ‘apartheid’ policies worse than South Africa’s,” Haaretz, 11 December 2006. []
  3. Haaretz Service, “Jimmy Carter to U.S. Jews: Forgive me for stigmatizing Israel,” Haaretz, 22 December 2009. []
  4. Tutu condemns Israeli ‘apartheid’,” BBC News, 29 April 2002. [] []
  5. 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 an independent writer and former co-editor of the Dissident Voice newsletter. He can be emailed at: kimohp at gmail.com. Twitter: @kimpetersen. Read other articles by Kim.

4 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Ismail Zayid said on February 5th, 2010 at 12:37pm #

    To confirm Kim Petersen’s analysis of the true nature of the racist apartheid policies of Israel, nothing can be more compelling than the the testimonies of people who lived through the apartheid system in South Africa:

    “I’ve been very distressed in my visit to the Holy Land; it reminded me so much of what happened to us blacks in South Africa. I have seen the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about….” {Archbishop Desmond Tutu, The Guardian, April 29, 2002}

    On, [Nov. 29, 2006], the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran the following op-ed, by John Dugard, a South African former anti-apartheid leader. He is currently the Special Rapporteur on Palestine to the United Nations Human Rights Council. He not only compares Israeli policies to apartheid, but says that in many ways Israeli policies are worse than South African apartheid was.

    Archbishop Desmond Tutu and John Dugard knew what they were talking about.

  2. Rehmat said on February 5th, 2010 at 6:18pm #

    Comparing Israel with the late Apartheid state of South Africa – is like pardoning a serial killer. Israel is an outright colonization of Zionist facists. From the time of founder of the modern Zionism – it had been based on the total extermination of the Palestinian native population.

    The leaders of the World Zionist Congress (founded at Basle, 1897) knew that Arab Muslim world would never accept a European Jewish homeland in the Middle East. Therefore, they cultivated close relations with the non-Arab Muslim world, especially those Muslim nation-states under the British, French or Russian colonization or dominated by the US. As a result, Iran under Shah and Turkey under Kemalist military rule, became the first Muslim nation-states to recognize the Zionist entity.

    “We have no connection with the Arabs. Our regime, our culture, our relations, is not the fruit of this region. There is no political affinity between us, or international solidarity,” – David Ben Gurion quoted by Avi Shlaim in ‘Israel, the Great Powers and the Middle East crisis of 1958′. In other words, Ben Gurion was admitting in 1952 that western Jews don’t belong to Palestine…..

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2009/09/01/iranian-journey-from-an-ally-to-israels-enemy-no-1/

  3. deceschi said on February 6th, 2010 at 3:55am #

    Petersen: “More important is that the stigmatization of people who oppose the oppression of Palestinians must cease, and above all, the apartheid and oppression of Palestinians must cease.”

    “The stigmatization of people”, as Petersen call it, who criticize Israel does not fall out of the blue, it is the logical response to the fashionable widespread phenomenon of the one-sided stigmatization, true bashing, of Israel by the supporters of Palestinian rights. You can not expect to be taken seriously, if your criticism is unilaterally and exclusively aimed at hitting the state of Israel in an attempt to label it as a rogue state, as the one and only culprit, while you hold deliberately both eyes closed in the face of terrorist crimes committed by the other side.
    Who puts it this way appears more as a denial and an enemy of Israel than as a true peace seeker, and exposes himself to the suspition of acting on the same ideological level of radical Palestinians who want the destruction of Israel, on what you prefer to draw a pitiful veil.
    So if you criticize Israel for Cast Lead, you must also criticized Hamas for the thousands of rockets on Israeli civilians for years (without ever having been made the subject of attention from fervent champions of human rights); if you criticize the occupation of Israel, you should also criticize the indiscriminate terrorism of the Palestinians, the bombing of innocents in busses, markets and coffee shops. A more objective and fair approach to the Middle East conflict would make you a more credible interlocutor and you would avoid the stigma that falls back like a boomerang on you if you prefer to attack Israel unilaterally and with bias.
    Claims that it is only Israel that must act to redress the situation are illusory and dangerous. Only two Arab states have so far normalized the relations with Israel, the Palestinians are divided between apparently moderates and radicals, still devoted to anti-israeli/Jewish education and propaganda, openly willing to “struggle by all means,” reluctant to a negotiated peace. This too is to criticize and to change if you want Israel to be able to change with sufficient margin of safety its policy toward the Palestinians.

  4. Kim Petersen said on February 6th, 2010 at 4:49am #

    deceschi,

    A look at the logic and ethics you proffer:

    If a gang broke into your home, threw you and your family into the crawl space, fed you scraps from the table, beat you, humiliated you, raped, and shot at you … and the neighbors denounced the abuse, then the neighbors should be criticized for their “one-sided stigmatization, true bashing, of the house-occupying gang by the supporters of your family’s rights” because they didn’t criticize you and your family for throwing some pebbles back?

    Now according to your logic, to be “taken seriously,” the neighbors must be in denial and must be an enemy of the house-occupying gang. How can the house-occupying gang be singled out as rogue? What about the “radical” family members who want the destruction of the house-occupying state?

    Claims that it is only the house-occupying gang that must act to redress the situation are illusory and dangerous. No, the victimized family must be criticized for pebble throwing at their oppressors.

    I submit that all critically thinking people can see through such illogic and nugatory ethics.