Eric Lee, Kim Berman, Salim Vally on Israel and apartheid

Eric Lee writes on his blog:

I visited South Africa twice in recent years, both times as the guest of the trade union movement. On my second visit, to Cape Town, I found myself walking along a beautiful beach with a leader of South Africa’s Communication Workers Union. He told me that under apartheid, if he’d be found walking on this beach, he could have been shot. This was a whites-only beach. That’s what apartheid means. It means you can be shot for walking on the wrong beach.

As for “apartheid Israel,” suffice it to say that my two sons were born in a hospital that serves the residents of the Jezreel Valley — Jews and Arabs. The staff, including doctors and nurses, were a mix of all ethnic groups and religions, as were the patients. There was no segregation, no separate facilities, no differences at all in how Jews and Arabs were treated.

Does this mean that Israel is a perfect society, a real paradise on earth for everyone? Of course not.

But if one cannot see the difference between running the risk of being shot for being on the “wrong” beach — and having your child born in a hospital full of Jews and Arabs working together — if you can’t see that difference, you understand nothing at all.

See the whole piece, on Eric Lee’s blog.

Eric’s piece relates to Kim Berman’s open letter to Salim Vally, originally published onEngage.

Salim Vally’s reply is here, on the UJ website

David Hirsh on the UJ boycott; and letter responding to a boycotter;  and on how it is progressing at UJ; and Hirsh on the apartheid analogy.

For the Engage archive on the Israel / Apartheid analogy click here.

John Strawson on UJ.

For  the debate around the South African campaign for an academic boycott of Israel, with Desmond Tutu, David Newman, Neve Gordon, David Hirsh, Robert Fine, Ran Greenstein, Uri Avnery, Farid Essack click here.

 

 

65 Responses to “Eric Lee, Kim Berman, Salim Vally on Israel and apartheid”

  1. Sam Says:

    You could definitely not be shot for being on the wrong beach. Most likely one would have just been given a fine, told to leave or arrested and released at the station.

    While there are differences between apartheid in SA and current Israel, there are also many similarities. The largest is the dividing wall and forcing the citizens to use passes to cross over into Israel proper. This closely resembles the South African group areas act and pass system.

    Hospitals in South Africa also serviced all races with very good health care during Apartheid. Take for example Groote Schuur hospital – races were treated in separate wards but they had access to the same doctors and medical experts.

    • David Galant Says:

      The largest is the dividing wall and forcing the citizens to use passes to cross over into Israel proper. This closely resembles the South African group areas act and pass system.

      Except, of course, this does not apply to anyone with an Israel passport. Noncitizens are noncitizens, the rules that apply are those for a foreigner, not a citizen.

      If you do not see this as a huge difference overwhelming any supposed similarity, then you should consider that you are suffering an huge cognitive dissonance.

      • Paul M Says:

        Even more than the matter of passes or passports is the reason for Israel’s fences. The same ideological blinkering that requires anti-Zionists to see at a fence and call it a wall (or never to have seen it at all, but parrot the received wisdom) makes them see an antiterrorism measure, reluctantly built but of proven value, and chant that it was made for racism’s sake. Do you have no memory at all, Sam, of the decade of suicide bombing that preceded the fence, or are you just unable to acknowledge it?

  2. Curious Says:

    These are some of the apartheid laws of SA. They relate to all those “citizens” of SA within what one can call SA “proper”.

    A genuine question.
    What laws are in existence in “Israel proper” that discriminate between Jewish and non-Jewish, or Jewish and (non-Jewish) Arab citizens in a similar manner to the “race” laws of SA (listed below)?

    Since Engage is concerned with educational matters, I would welcome comments regarding this particular law,

    “Extension of University Education Act, Act 45 of 1959
    Put an end to black students attending white universities (mainly the universities of Cape Town and Witwatersrand). Created separate tertiary institutions for whites, Coloured, blacks, and Asians.”

    Does this apply to (non-Jewish) Arab citizens of Israel?

    “Bantu Education Act, Act No 47 of 1953
    Established a Black Education Department in the Department of Native Affairs which would compile a curriculum that suited the “nature and requirements of the black people”. The author of the legislation, Dr Hendrik Verwoerd (then Minister of Native Affairs, later Prime Minister), stated that its aim was to prevent Africans receiving an education that would lead them to aspire to positions they wouldn’t be allowed to hold in society. Instead Africans were to receive an education designed to provide them with skills to serve their own people in the homelands or to work in labouring jobs under whites.”

    Does this apply to (non-Jewish) Arab citizens of Israel?

    “Natives (Abolition of Passes and Co-ordination of Documents) Act, Act No 67 of 1952
    Commonly known as the Pass Laws, this ironically named act forced black people to carry identification with them at all times. A pass included a photograph, details of place of origin, employment record, tax payments, and encounters with the police. It was a criminal offence to be unable to produce a pass when required to do so by the police. No black person could leave a rural area for an urban one without a permit from the local authorities. On arrival in an urban area a permit to seek work had to be obtained within 72 hours.”

    Does this apply to (non-Jewish) Arab citizens of Israel?

    “Group Areas Act, Act No 41 of 1950
    Forced physical separation between races by creating different residential areas for different races. Led to forced removals of people living in “wrong” areas, for example Coloureds living in District Six in Cape Town.”

    Does this apply to (non-Jewish) Arab citizens of Israel?

    “Separate Representation of Voters Act, Act No 46 of 1951
    Together with the 1956 amendment, this act led to the removal of Coloureds from the common voters’ roll.”

    Does this apply to (non-Jewish) Arab citizens of Israel?

    “Natives Laws Amendment Act of 1952
    Narrowed the definition of the category of blacks who had the right of permanent residence in towns. Section 10 limited this to those who’d been born in a town and had lived there continuously for not less than 15 years, or who had been employed there continuously for at least 15 years, or who had worked continuously for the same employer for at least 10 years.”

    Does this apply to (non-Jewish) Arab citizens of Israel?

    “Bantu Education Act, Act No 47 of 1953
    Established a Black Education Department in the Department of Native Affairs which would compile a curriculum that suited the “nature and requirements of the black people”. The author of the legislation, Dr Hendrik Verwoerd (then Minister of Native Affairs, later Prime Minister), stated that its aim was to prevent Africans receiving an education that would lead them to aspire to positions they wouldn’t be allowed to hold in society. Instead Africans were to receive an education designed to provide them with skills to serve their own people in the homelands or to work in labouring jobs under whites.”

    Does this apply to (non-Jewish) Arab citizens of Israel?

  3. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    And Curious doesn’t even mention Bantustans, those supposedly “self-governing” enclaves, to be occupied only by Black South Africans. No viable economic infrastructure, of course, so the inhabitants had to travel back to white South Africa to earn their livings. Given that these were established by law by the apartheid Nationalist government, Curious’s question remains pertinent. As I recall, the aim of the apartheid Nationalist Party was that the 80% of the South African population defined as “Black” was to be confined to some 10% of the land: very equitable.

    Further, both Sam and David Galant fail to mention so many other factors: no votes for non-Whites (last time anyone looked, Arab-Israelis had the vote on an equal basis with all other Israeli citizens); education: most (if not all?) Israeli universities have 20% Arab-Israeli undergraduate population, just about in line with the proportion in the population – just like apartheid South Africa, he said ironically. Further, I recall, as an undergrad myself, in the UK in the early 1960s, watching a drama-doc film (title long-forgotten) which documented, inter-alia, the stark division between the “races” on medical provision. One scene showed a “black” ambulance showing up at a road accident, and being refused permission to take the “white” casualties anywhere. Hopefully, someone here will be able to remind me of the title, etc, of that film.

    If this is the best they can come up with on the “apartheid analogy”, their case is lost before they begin. At least, however, unlike so many others, they do go beyond the mere words and attempt to provide some evidence. As the fairground barker might say, “nice try, but no cigar”.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      And I haven’t even mentioned Omar Barghouti: how’s his case for an indication of equal access to higher education? Just imagine the South African government before 1990 letting Nelson Mandela into the U of Johannesburg to take a Doctorate.

  4. Philip Says:

    No no no no no no. The label of apartheid isn’t applied because of comparisons to South Africa. No. The crime of Apartheid is defined by the UN Apartheid Convention and by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. You can go on about differences between South Africa and Israel for as long as you like. The only relevant reference, however, is international law.

    • Bill Says:

      No no no no no no. The label of apartheid isn’t applied because of comparisons to South Africa. No. The crime of Apartheid is defined by the UN Apartheid Convention and by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. You can go on about differences between South Africa and Israel for as long as you like. The only relevant reference, however, is international law.

      Oh! I get it! In other words, the brand-name used by the UN’s A-word convention and the ICC A-word definition (or any other modern use of the A-word beyond SA history lessons) has nothing to do with well… Apartheid as once practiced in SA. Thanks for your candor! If only others were as honest.

      You know darned well that the loaded redflag/redbutton term, “Apartheid,” has exacting historical connotations and its use will blow away any “relevant references” that opportunistic hacks write into any definition of the A-word so their document will be memorable sheet of paper not to mention a handy cudgel, which they selectively apply — fairly of course: one jewish state (and only the jewish states) at a time. And just try in “anti-zionist ‘apartheid’” forums to assign that label to any other state besides Israel no matter how well the shoe (be it the original or the “knockoffs” you admit they are) fits and see what traction you get with the ones who will tell you that you’re changing the subject and go Lawrence Lowell all over you. The “definitions” and “conventions” have no meaning beyond “are they Jewish?” or “is it Israel?” for that. Heck, they don’t even seem to apply to some of the UN convention’s acutal signatories that use the document as a manual and they knew as much when the pit their ink on the page. They know that regardless of the intentions that it’s become a crafted bill of attainder against one country, Israel.

      • Bill Says:

        bill of attainder

        And I should add that it’s not even that since for it to be so, it’d 1) have to be unique – not nearly broadly ignored and 2) the charges would have to irrefutably stick because, after all BoAs, like the ones the US Congress tried to do a few years ago are truely custom made.

    • Paul M Says:

      All those “no’s” seem very insistent, so you must be very serious. It’s rather strange though, as the apartheid slander is mostly made by people who I’d bet haven’t a clue as to the applicable law and who seem very keen to tie Israel to the late, unlamented South African regime. And for that matter, the UN’s apartheid convention begins with “the term ‘the crime of apartheid’, which shall include similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practiced in southern Africa”… so I guess comparisons with S.A. provide important context after all.

      The convention goes on to say that the crime of apartheid has to do with purpose: “… the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them”. Which clearly doesn’t fit Israel. Palestinians and other non-Jews who are citizens of Israel have legal and for the most part actual equality with Israeli Jews. Palestinians, other non-Jews and Jews who are not citizens of Israel don’t. That’s odd: If Israel’s purpose was establishing and maintaining domination you would expect that Israel’s non-Jewish citizens (if there any were permitted) would, if anything, be treated worse, not better than the same ‘races’ outside the borders. If race alone doesn’t predict oppression by Israel, what does? Could it be that the degree of “domination” and “oppression” non-Jews experience correlates directly with the degree of anti-Israel hostility emanating from the society they live in and worsens or eases as the level of violence does? It turns out that it correlates quite accurately. Who would have guessed?

      Meanwhile, Hamas states explicitly its intention to dominate and oppress (and exterminate) any Jews it has access to; the Palestinian Authority retains a law prescribing death for selling land to Jews; Jordan has been busy lately revoking citizenship from thousands of Palestinians; all other Arab states deny citizenship to Palestinians in the first place and every Arab state has singled out its Jewish citizens for persecution, death or expulsion; Syria and Turkey subjugate and brutalise their Kurds…. The list goes on, and that’s just the Middle East. Shall we start on China’s treatment of Tibetans, or Indonesia’s of Tamils? Any or all of these cases could more readily be shoehorned into the formal definition of apartheid — “racial segregation and discrimination for the purpose of domination and oppression” — than Israel’s treatment of its minorities. Not one of them is. Explain why.

      • Philip Says:

        Paul, that’s a very worthwhile discussion to have. For my part, I do think that Israel is an apartheid state. However, with reference to the correct laws, I welcome others putting forward the argument to the contrary. My only point was to note that there is relevant international public law on the matter.

        • Paul M Says:

          I think I’ve said everything I intended to about the apartheid slander, and I don’t think there’s anything to be gained from dignifying it with further “discussion”. The “relevant international law” is more relevant to countless other cases than it is to Israel, as I pointed out: If you feel like explaining why Israel is accused of apartheid and the others are not, then by all means do so. Otherwise, you’re talking to yourself.

        • Philip Says:

          And just a point of clarification: the crime of apartheid is relevant because we extend the application beyond simply Israeli citizens, ie, to the people who live under Israeli occupation, in territory controlled by the Israeli state.

        • modernityblog Says:

          Philip,

          Would you kindly address my point of July 29, 2011 at 4:31 pm?

        • Comment is not free Says:

          More of Philip’s cake and eating it.
          “with reference to the correct laws……………My only point was to note that there is relevant international public law on the matter.”

          But, just in case that doesn’t work (which of course it doesn’t) “we” will ignore the law and make it apply where “we” think we should…..
          “the crime of apartheid is relevant because “we” extend the application beyond simply Israeli citizens, ie, to the people who live under Israeli occupation, in territory controlled by the Israeli state.”
          A pity since, a. the law cited does not and, b. that the nature of the crime that constitutes apartheid is absent, even in the West Bank which Israel still occupies.

        • Philip Says:

          Modernityblog, unfortunately the moderators chose not to publish my reply.

          Comment is not free, it has nothing to do with cake. It’s a matter of law. I may be wrong, which is fine. Show it. In general, the crime of apartheid is a new concept in international law. It’s unsurprising that the jurisprudence leaves some room for debate. However, my sense, from talking to people who actually help formulate and apply international, is that the consensus is shifting towards cohesion around Israel and apartheid. We’ll see how it goes.

        • Bill Says:

          And any other states? Like the signatories that practice it? As you say with all the others, “that’s different.” There are signatories to these conventions that practice apartheid to various degrees, some even more toxic than what you claim to be happening in Israel but you with the rest insist on special pleadings in their favor (they’re just deprived of a “few” rights as compared to the dominant group or thats just socialism despite the self-selection that so often emerges in such systems). When tiny niches of activists use Sri Lanka, China, and such they are dismissed in the same fashion as people who discuss Darfur. If only one person in town is known to be the object of speed traps, then it’s not “law” but a lie. And using “international law” in such a dishonest fashion is no different — but not quite, to make the analogy really work, this is no different than constantly stoping the town’s only successful black businessman for doing 46 in a 45 white rednecks drive at speeds measured in warp factors (which is totally irrelevant, the law has been carefully constructed, and we can’t stop everyone, and the others aren’t really speeding or otherwise had good excuses and do stop changing the subject and showing contempt for public safety).

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      Well spotted, Philip. And of course the UN Apartheid Convention and the Rome Statute don’t apply to Israel. It doesn’t fit any of the criteria.

      Now we know where to refer the “apartheid comparators” to.

    • Jimbo Says:

      The trouble is, by the criteria that Israel is guilty of apartheid, so is pretty much every Arab, Islamic state and society in the region, with regard to Jews, including Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian society. Which begs the question, Why perfect solely the one Jewish state in the world from existence? Why dissolve it for its alleged apartheid qualities into the surrounding sea/desert of Arab, Islamic apartheid states and societies, including the Palestinian? How does that constitute ‘justice’?

      Unsurprisingly, the prime movers of the charge of ‘apartheid’ against Israel are those very same Arab and other Islamic states and societies. Pretty much the same set of states that affirmed apartheid a crime in 1973 also declared ‘Zionism is racism’ in 1975.

      ‘Zionism is apartheid’ is a resurrection of that rescinded ‘Zionism is racism’ resolution.

      • Philip Says:

        I disagree. Palestine is not a state. It does not control borders. It does not have effective jurisdiction. In this case, the occupying power is the power that must be guilty of any systems that systematically discriminate against people on the basis of race. And in this case, that is the Israeli government.

        • Jimbo Says:

          ‘I disagree. Palestine is not a state.’

          It is a society, as I said, which can only be described as apartheid with regard to Jews based on its history of the last 100 years, or more.

          Their state being still born, their refugees, are all consequences of an attempt to impose that apartheid upon Jews, which many would still do, by denying a Jewish ROR, ending a Jewish state or any kind of Israel.

          ‘It does not control borders.’

          Thank heavens. It tried to, to exclude Jews.

          ‘It does not have effective jurisdiction.’

          It tried to, to exclude Jews. The P.A. does have jurisdiction. It is a capital offence to sell land to Israeli or other Jews.

          ‘In this case, the occupying power is the power that must be guilty’

          Why ‘must’? The occupation exists because of that Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian apartheid against Jews, on so many levels.

          ‘of any systems that systematically discriminate against people on the basis of race.’

          A complete non-argument, as though societies cannot systematically discriminate, as has Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christian, against Jews, for generations.

          ‘And in this case, that is the Israeli government.’

          No. It’s crime is to exist, to have survived the attempt by Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian apartheid to Resist any kind of Jewish ROR, large scale presence in the Land, Jewish state or any kind of Israel. Even today, the P.A. is profoundly ambivalent about it, while Hamas makes no bones about its ultimate intentions.

          Apartheid is apartheid is apartheid. And societies can be as much apartheid ones as states.

        • Jimbo Says:

          ‘I disagree. Palestine is not a state.’

          To iterate

          The trouble is, by the criteria that Israel is guilty of apartheid, so is pretty much every Arab, Islamic state and SOCIETY in the region, with regard to Jews, including Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian society.

        • Jimbo Says:

          The buzzword these days is ‘resistance’.

          Well, Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian resistance is rooted in a resistance to Jews existing in the land in other than the tiny numbers to which imperial Christian and Islamic apartheid had accustomed them, from the late 19th century, when Jews began to slip in through the cracks of the crumpling Ottoman empire.

          That resistance is itself rooted in that historical imperial Christian and Islamic apartheid.

          Israel is being accused of the crime of having successfullly resisted that resistance, and continuing to do so.

          BDS, for instance, wants to end a Jewish state and end a Jewish ROR, implementing a Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian ROR, to Israel, which would end any kind of Israel shortly thereafter.

          BDS thus is, in my view, a continuation of that Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian apartheid-Resistance against Jews, by other means.

          The charge of apartheid which it casts against the Jews concerned is one which can only be described as fairly depicting Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christians society, with regard to Jews, based on its history of the last 100 years or more.

        • Jimbo Says:

          ‘I disagree. Palestine is not a state.’

          A complete non-argument.

          Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians thought it more important to deny Jews a state than acquire one themselves; it more important to impose their apartheid against the Jews concerned, and others, than allow them a state, and ROR or even right to exist in above the tiny numbers to which imperial Christian and Islamic apartheid had accustomed them.

          The Jewish state arose from the proto-state of the Yishuv: Jews had no choice but to band together in an effective state, to successfully resist the resistance to their presence a priori.

          A Jewish ROR in Israel is only discriminatory, for instance, as the Zionism-is-apartheid brigard proclaim, if one allows some kind of Jewish ROR to Israel or Palestine a priori, which the majority do not.

          JNF land ownership is only discriminatory if one acknowledges the historical and current Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian ban on selling land to Jews as having been and continuing to be discriminatory.

          ‘Apartheid’, ‘separation’ or ‘exclusion’, characterises Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian historical narratives, which routinely write out Jewish history, never mind any kind of Jewish ROR (Right Of Return/Restoraton), and typify the tenor of modern Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian nationalism.

          It is absurd not to call it ‘apartheid’, just because Israeli, Palestinian or Zionist Jews successfully prevented its incarnation into an state that could only be described as a apartheid with regard to Jews.

          It is absurd to pick out the Jews concerned alone for the epithet ‘apartheid’ because they successfully prevented such apartheid being imposed on them, which is what the birth of the Jewish state of Israel did.

        • Jimbo Says:

          The P.L.O. successfully lobbied for the ‘Zionism is racism’ resolution in the 1970s, even while its covenant proclaimed that no Jew resident in Palestine after 1917 could become a Palestinian citizen.

          The charge of apartheid against the Jewish state of Israel is an extension of the very traditional Christian, Islamic or post-Christian and post-Islamic charge against Jews of ‘exclucivism’, ‘tribalism’ and ‘clubbishness’, before any modern state of Israel existed. As though any kind of Israel could have existed unless Palestinian Jews had secured the ability to defend and preserve the very Jewish ROR which Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians Resisted.

          For BDSers, the charge of ‘apartheid’ is a tool by which they hope to dissolve the one Jewish state in the world; it so happens into the surrounding sea or desert of Arab, Islamic apartheid states and societies. Its hope is to end or reverse the crime of Zionism, the Jewish national movement of return and restoration to the land, of a people historically stateless or dispossessed. It makes no acknowledgement, for the most part, of any justice or legitimacy to Zionism a priori. Ben White certainly does not. His tendency is to depict it as an a priori crime or injustice against Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians i.e. to exclude any kind of justice to Israel’s founding a priori. It is an act of intellectual and ideological apartheid against justice for the Jews concerned, to leave them without their most fundamental justification or defence in the court of history.

          It is a monstrous hypocrisy or injustice, intended or otherwise.

        • Bill Says:

          Jim isn’t just talking about the PA. If you want to have an honest discussion, talk about the states that are in breach and more importantly why people don’t want to have a discussion on why they are in breach and why they are not apartheid states. This is why the apartheid analogy is a red flag for a dishonest argument.

    • Jimbo Says:

      Ben White calls the apartheid laws of segregation in SA, which do not exist in Israel, ‘petty apartheid’; as though the most serious and egregious expression of apartheid, present in SA but not in Israel, were in fact the least serious.

      The ‘Zionism is apartheid’ brigade claim the Jewish ROR in Israel is de facto discriminatory or racist against Palestinian Arabs so long as they are denied ROR to Israel. Which would make more sense had Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians not Resisted any kind of Jewish ROR ab initio, leading to the conflict in which they were dispossessed instead of Jews.

      You can’t complain a Jewish ROR is discriminatory if you have never allowed any kind of Jewish ROR in the first place. The Balfour Declaration, League of Nations Mandate and Partition are all premised on some kind of Jewish ROR. If you allow no kind of Jewish ROR, you are violating the spirit of international law, even if you claim to accord with the letter.

      Likewise with regard to the JNF and Jewish land ownership: Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians successfully lobbied the Ottoman authorities to ban all Jewish immigration into Palestine in 1882, all sales of land to Jews in 1892. That was to remain the tenor of Palestinian Arab nationalists thereafter.

      Once again, you cannot complain of JNF land ownership if you make no cognizance of the Palestinian Arab ban on all sales of land to Jews, even until the present day, to wit current P.A. law: it is treason and a capital offence to sell land to Israeli Jews. And pretty much always has been.

      • Bill Says:

        Ben White calls the apartheid laws of segregation in SA, which do not exist in Israel, ‘petty apartheid’; as though the most serious and egregious expression of apartheid, present in SA but not in Israel, were in fact the least serious.

        So now “real” Apartheid cannot even be applied to the country that created the trademark?

        Ok, now they’re being silly on purpose. I think at this point the use of the A-word should just be swept off the debate floor with the broom of laughter… and some pointing. We may even have a new variant of Godwin’s Law since it’s clearly devolved into a childish emotional ad hominem.

    • Jimbo Says:

      The ‘Zionism is apartheid’ thesis cannot see Zionism as anything other than ‘Jewish racial supremacy’, how Ben White defined it at the start of his journalistic career.

      The chief difference between SA and Israel is, it seems to me, that

      a) the Whites weren’t returning to whence they had originally been dispossessed, least of all from the lands even of exile;

      b) the Blacks weren’t trying to keep them out; and hadn’t been largely keeping them out for 2000 years or so.

      It’s interesting that a professed Christian like Ben White, with a professedly Christian view of justice in the matter, cannot see the imperial Christian and Islamic regimes of apartheid against Jews that have ruled Palestine for most of Palestinian Christian and Islamic history.

      A case of acuity toward the mote in the Other’s eye, but blindness to the plank in one’s own.

      Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians haven’t been Aliens on Mars for the last 2000 years. They have been participants in and benefactors from the imperial Christian then Islamic regimes that kept Jews in the land to the tiny minority to which they felt entitled. While modern Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian Resistance to a larger Jewish presence is rooted in that historical Christian and Islamic apartheid.

      This history has very little in common with S.A.

  5. Absolutely Observer Says:

    Philip,
    Good to hear from you. I must admit I was getting a bit worried when we hadn’t heard from you for a while. I am aware that you spend time in Syria and was genuinely concerned with your well being. I am glad that you appear to be well.

    Having said that, and back to the normal business, I appreciate your defence against the claim that the term “apartheid” does not apply to Israel.
    AO

    • Philip Says:

      I appreciate that. I have visited Syria a few times in the past 6 months, but no longer live there. I’m very excited that the Syrians are finally throwing off the disgusting and immoral baathist socialism which has kept them down for so long. Unfortunately, many of them are dying in the process. But in terms of my own wellbeing, I’m perfectly ok.

      As I say, there’s an argument to be had. It should just be on the right terms.

      • Bill Says:

        As I say, there’s an argument to be had. It should just be on the right terms.

        Would that include why a country that actually signed the International Convention on Apartheid that was and is still ruled by an ethic minority using murder, oppresion and such (you know, like the one you were in) is NOT being hauled on the carpet as an apartheid state while one that didn’t and practices this re-imagined definition of Apartheid to a lesser degree if at all within its internationally recognized borders? Or is that one different, too?

        • Philip Says:

          Bill, Syria is not an apartheid state. It is ruled by an axis which is made of quite a diverse group. It’s just an old-fashioned socialist tyranny. (One which the Israeli govt is desperate to see stay in its place, incidentally.)

          Now, I’m on the record as condemning the Syrian government numerous times.

          On the point about internationally recognised border, this is the whole point. Israel’s control is not within the 1967 lines. It controls the Occupied Palestinian Territories (hence the word Occupied). And it is within these borders that the crime of apartheid is committed so egregiously. The point is that apartheid is about controlled territory. Now, all the international lawyers and diplomats I know in the Middle East agree with with this. As do Ehuk Barak and Ehud Olmert.

        • modernityblog Says:

          “Now, I’m on the record as condemning the Syrian government numerous times.”

          Philip,

          Presumably after you left the country recently?

          That’s not the impression you gave me when you posted this:

          http://danielblanche.blogspot.com/2009/07/israeli-apartheid-beginners-guide.html

          Syria and Lebanon treat Jews well. In Syria they have the same rights as all other minorities, that is, a littl bit fewer than Muslims. Jews are not singled out for this, they share it with Christians and Druze.

          I was not trying to make the point that Arab countries are paragans of best-practice when it comes to treating minorities. However, I am not aware of an Arab country that has a policy of target discrimination against Jews.

          I wonder if you have changed your views?

        • Bill Says:

          “Syria and Lebanon treat Jews well. In Syria they have the same rights as all other minorities, that is, a littl bit fewer than Muslims. (emph mine)

          Well that’s mighty white of them. And is in now way apartheid due to various special pleadings, hair splittings and other needs to continue the narrative of “Israel the Appartheid State (and don’t you dare talk about any of the others).” We are now down to “degree” of what constitutes apartheid. If you are chained only slightly lower on the hill to the privileged group, its not apartheid, in fact it’s nothing at all to complain about. And of course what “few” deprived rights would these be? Irrelevant I suspect since they are not “targeted for discrimination” — just deprived of a “few rights.”

          Phillip, sorry but you’re in a hole of your own making. Do stop digging.

  6. Absolutely Observer Says:

    International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid,
    Article II[1]

    For the purpose of the present Convention, the term ‘the crime of apartheid’, which shall include similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practiced in southern Africa, shall apply to the following inhumane acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them:
    Denial to a member or members of a racial group or groups of the right to life and liberty of person
    By murder of members of a racial group or groups;
    By the infliction upon the members of a racial group or groups of serious bodily or mental harm, by the infringement of their freedom or dignity, or by subjecting them to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
    By arbitrary arrest and illegal imprisonment of the members of a racial group or groups;
    Deliberate imposition on a racial group or groups of living conditions calculated to cause its or their physical destruction in whole or in part;
    Any legislative measures and other measures calculated to prevent a racial group or groups from participation in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country and the deliberate creation of conditions preventing the full development of such a group or groups, in particular by denying to members of a racial group or groups basic human rights and freedoms, including the right to work, the right to form recognised trade unions, the right to education, the right to leave and to return to their country, the right to a nationality, the right to freedom of movement and residence, the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association;
    Any measures including legislative measures, designed to divide the population along racial lines by the creation of separate reserves and ghettos for the members of a racial group or groups, the prohibition of mixed marriages among members of various racial groups, the expropriation of landed property belonging to a racial group or groups or to members thereof;
    Exploitation of the labour of the members of a racial group or groups, in particular by submitting them to forced labour;
    Persecution of organizations and persons, by depriving them of fundamental rights and freedoms, because they oppose apartheid.

    Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court defines crimes against humanity as:
    Article 7
    Crimes against humanity
    For the purpose of this Statute, ‘crime against humanity’ means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:
    Murder;
    Extermination;
    Enslavement;
    Deportation or forcible transfer of population;
    Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law;
    Torture;
    Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity;
    Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court;
    Enforced disappearance of persons;
    The crime of apartheid;
    Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.[15]
    Later in Article 7, the crime of apartheid is defined as:
    The ‘crime of apartheid’ means inhumane acts of a character similar to those referred to in paragraph 1, committed in the context of an institutionalised regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.[15]

  7. Absolutely Observer Says:

    Philip,
    You argue you are opposed to a boycott, but you want an argument on that.
    You argue you do not think Israel is an apartheid state, but you want an argument on that.
    Others argue that they do not have much time for the Israel Lobby conspiracy theory, but they want an argument on that.
    Jenny Tonge did not think/was not sure if Israel was harvesting organs in Haitii, but she wanted an investigation into it.
    In the past, some French and Germans did not believe that Jews were not serving at the front, but they wanted an argument about it.
    In Britain, some who did not believe Jews were black marketeers, want a debate/argument about it.
    Some do not believe that Jews kill children for religious rituals, but they would welcome a debate about it.
    Some do not believe Holocaust deniers, but they want a debate about it.
    Some do not believe in the myth of “Islamification”, but they want a debate about it.

    The point is that topics for debate are not neutral frameworks, but are loaded from the start. Sometimes framing it as a legitimate subject for debate simply legitimises the prejudice inherent in the terms of the question to be debated.
    In the present case, it is clear that apartheid does not apply to Israel. Yet, despite this, people want a debate. And why? Because apartheid is a crime against humanity (as it should be) and by squeezing Israel into its definition, it can stigmatise Israel as a crime against humanity, regardless of the facts. (It is a reworking see the earlier version of this “argument” – Zionism equals racism, which people wanted a debate on and which, as you know, led to the banning of Jewish societies in UK universities).

    AO

    • Philip Says:

      Ok, so in relation to Israel, which topics are fair game for discussion?

      • Absolute Observer Says:

        “Ok, so in relation to Israel, which topics are fair game for discussion?”

        All topics are “fair game” Phillip.
        The question is the framework for such discussions.
        The discussions that you and many others (Tonge, White, Kuper, “Move on AIPAC, etc.) frame as “in relation” to Israel, anti-anti Zionists (thanks for that CINF) frame more correctly within a critical anti-racist discourse.

        As with so many of the points you make, your questions are derivative of more general ones.
        In this instance you are asking, what is rational “criticism of Israel”, and what is irrational, obsessive demonisation of Israel (a demonisation that can, but does not always include an antisemitic premise) and which should have no place in civilised conversation and progressive political movements.

        So Phillip, bring up any topic you want.
        Only don’t be surprised when you are shown that not only are the points you make quite simply wrong, but also when it is pointed out to you that the views which you express are both grounded in and reenforce ways of thinking that until recently do not have and in the future should not have no place within the progressive lexicon.

        One really shouldn’t have to spell this out in this day and age. The fact that one needs to, speaks volumes about what is so very, very wrong within the mindset of progressive thought when it comes to the “question” of Israel.

        • Philip Says:

          So it just strikes me that you so far haven’t ever seen a comment I’ve made that you don’t consider to be couched in racist over/under-tones, or some other such construction. Fair enough. That’s your opinion, and you may even be able to back it up with some kind of argument/theory/evidence. The problem is, I don’t consider that to be the case. Fine. So we are essentially not understanding each other. I’m trying to get to a point where I understand your views/arguments better. For which I need examples and instances of what you consider to be fine.

      • Absolute Observer Says:

        Phillip,
        In the past you have argued for the existence of “the Israel Lobby”.
        In this thread, you have argued that the motiviation for Nick Cohen’s belief is because he believes in the genocide of Arabs.
        In this thread, you are arguing for the Israel=apartheid line.

        You then complain that I respond to such arguments by noting their racist/demonising undercurrents.
        Tell you what, when you finally make an argument that avoids the pitfalls you mention, I will respond accordingly. Til then, don’t be surprised that I or others mention it.

        Racism, antisemitism, etc. are not matters of “subjective opinion” – although that is how racists like to present it; a matter of free speech, a matter which we can disagree, agree or agree to disagree. Racism and antisemitism are political ideologies that, like all political ideologies contain certain “objective” belief structures regardless of subjective expression by individuals.
        Over the various threads, I do notice, however, that when challenged, when shown how your thinking connects with racist ideology you always fall back on the “well, I don’t know if this is true, but this is my “belief”, but I don’t agree”. Well, I don’t give a damn whether you agree or not. You play with some very dangerous ideas, you perpetuate ideas with a long and viscous pedigree; I have shown what that pedigree is. You have refused to learn anything from the storehouse of anti-racist critiques, that is not my problem, it is yours.

  8. Bill Says:

    You argue you do not think Israel is an apartheid state, but you want an argument on that

    (Actually, AO, does think it’s an apartheid state.)

    And wanting to have a discussion or argument how Israel is the only country to be called an apartheid state (now defined by criteria that some think won’t even apply to old school SA or of so, applies only as “petty” infingements like White) is no different than wanting a discussion on how to make a law against speeding apply to only one person, who happens to be a relative pedestrian in town full of drunk driving speed demons. The Apartheid “discussion” currently exists only to dishonestly bash Israel. Ironically the A-word I suspect was a blessing to many “can’t-call-them-appartheid-states” back in the Botha days since it took the attention off of them — there was a new brand of oppression in town (actually it was an old one), similar to the other ones out there but unique to one country, and thank heavens it wasn’t them. Today Israel is no different, especially when you see the “can’t-call-them-appartheid-states” that signed the convention that uses the Apartheid Trademark who practice these very same tactics to keep themselves at the front of the gravy train. If you want to have an honest discussion, take the names off the exam paper and ask why THIS country or THAT isn’t being called an “Apartheid State” with all the penalties eligible therein. And you’ll get a host of “that’s diffferents” like the one we see above. (Honestly, if the PA becomes a state that can control its borders, we will no doubt see how it STILL won’t be an apartheid state — just like all the other states that aren’t predominantly Jewish).

  9. Bill Says:

    You argue you do not think Israel is an apartheid state, but you want an argument on that

    He does think it’s an apartheid state.

  10. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Philip wants it both ways (as AO notes): one must apply the proper test. As he says above: “The label of apartheid isn’t applied because of comparisons to South Africa. No. The crime of Apartheid is defined by the UN Apartheid Convention and by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court…The only relevant reference, however, is international law” which he then fails to apply, just like all the other apartheid name-callers. He doesn’t demonstrate how the UN Convention & the Rome Statute do or do not apply, just goes ahead as though they do.

    Just like every other time (or at least most of them) he appears here, he _asserts_. That is, he makes a claim then falls to provide evidence in support of it. Merely citing (even) international conventions, without detail, is not evidence. As ever, the devil is in the detail, which he fails to provide.

    I note that Philip is no longer in Syria (as he said some months ago), but he does tell us that “I’m very excited that the Syrians are finally throwing off the disgusting and immoral baathist socialism which has kept them down for so long. Unfortunately, many of them are dying in the process.” However, he still reads these columns very selectively. Not very long ago, I posted the following link
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jun/19/syria-bashar-assad-opposition-suppression,
    in which Nick Cohen argues that Syria under Assad is an apartheid state. To my surprise, Philip fails to refer to it.

    This, by the way, is evidence; refutable maybe, but indisputably evidence. Your view on this, Philip?

    • Philip Says:

      Brian, I’m happy to have a discussion about exactly what ways Israel falls into the crime of apartheid. I did not do that because (a) long comments on blogs are boring, and (b) because that was not the point I was making. The only claim I made (‘_asserted_’) is that I believe Israel to be an apartheid state. What evidence do you want? Who else can better know my beliefs than me? Are you going to turn around and tell me that I in fact believe Israeli to the original homeland of the Ghanaian people? No, I know what my beliefs are better than anyone else.

      As to the Cohen article, it just seems like Nick is warmongering again for a war to destroy an Arab state and kill thousands of people. (He did this with Iraq, as you will recall.) Does he cite any evidence of the UN convention or Rome Statute? No. In fact, I think mostly that subed got carried away. Still, Cohen says that Syria is run along confessional lines. Now, religion is not the basis of the crime of apartheid. But more importantly, Cohen is selling a half-truth: Syria is run by a sunni-alawi axis, which co-opts people from many other racial and religious groups. No, Syria is actually just an old fashioned socialist despotic and murderous regime. It’s not apartheid.

      • Brian Goldfarb Says:

        “Who else can better know my beliefs than me?”
        Frankly, your views are irrelevant. It’s evidence that of account here, and you still fail to provide any, You merely continue to assert (I use the word advisedly) the supposed fact of Israel being an apartheid state.

        • Philip Says:

          Brian Goldfarb, you are being a little slow. I have not tried to argue with either theory of evidence that Israel is an apartheid state. I simply presented what my view is (which incidentally I formulate over time, etc. etc.) If you’d like a discussion of the matter, then fine. But please don’t act as though I have tried to make an argument.

          You would do better to address the arguments I made about the Nick Cohen article, but probably you just posted it without having read it.

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          To Philip and his comment dated 30 July, 11.38pm:

          “But please don’t act as though I have tried to make an argument.” Exactly, you haven’t, and no-one here gives a damn about your views. On their own, they are an utter irrelevance and a waste of space to anyone but yourself and those who might happen to share them. Which, you might just have noticed, is not the overwhelming majority of those of us who comment here. If you want to just air your views, go and do it on your own site, where all your friends can collectively stroke you.

          Here, what we collectively care about is evidence. If you expect us here to listen to you and take you seriously, it’s about time you started to produce evidence, not just assertion piled on assertion. You have made it abundantly clear that hold certain views (e.g., on this thread, that Israel is practising apartheid in the Occupied Territories). When you are countered, with evidence-based argument, you ignore all this, and start accusing those doing this with being slow (“Brian Goldfarb, you are being a little slow.” – both rude and patronising). Or you try to change the subject. Or you claim that what you said isn’t what you said at all – for example, when you made the generic claim re Israel and apartheid and were promptly refuted, you rapidly switched to the West bank. Now you take refuge, as already noted, in trying to divert attention by being rude: n.b. “You would do better to address the arguments I made about the Nick Cohen article, but probably you just posted it without having read it.” You actually don’t make an argument, you merely accuse Nick Cohen of being a warmonmger. _That’s_ an argument?

          And yes I have read the argument, you patronising person, which is why I posted it. And as I said when I posted the link, Cohen presents arguments for his stated view. These are potentially refutable, but you don’t bother to attempt that, you merely attempt to vilify him, and call it an argument. Stop misusing the English language so wilfully. By the way, have you actually read the article? You present nothing to demonstrate this.

          No change there, then.

          And, stop taking me, as you did with your stupid arguments about the meaning of words, for a poltroon. Doing as you do only shows _you_ up.

  11. Absolute Observer Says:

    Either Israel is or is not an apartheid state.
    Phillip recognises it is not, whist at the same time thinking/believing it is.

    Phiiip says,
    “Now, religion is not the basis of the crime of apartheid”

    First Phillip states that
    “religion is not the basis of the crime of apartheid” (the Statute refers to “race”) On this criteria the State of Israel is not/cannot be an apartheid state’ aside from the fact that, as Phillip also recognises, the concept of “apartheid” is not appropriate to describe that State within its legitimate borders.

    Secondly, and more importantly, Philip states that,
    “Israel’s control is not within the 1967 lines. It controls the Occupied Palestinian Territories (hence the word Occupied). And it is within these borders that the crime of apartheid is committed so egregiously. The point is that apartheid is about controlled territory”.

    “The point is that apartheid is about controlled territory” is, frankly nonsense.
    The International Convention states that ,”Any legislative measures and other measures calculated to prevent a racial group or groups from participation in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country”
    Note the last three world, “of the country”, which in this case, would and can only mean “Israel”
    However, as much as Phillip and the Greater Israel right might want the OT’s to be “part of the country” (of Israel) it is not, never has been and, unless both get their way, will never be, legally or politically.

    So, two things follow from Phillip’s statement.
    Either,
    a. That within the internationally recgonised legitimate borders – i.e. the State of Israel – Israel is not an apartheid state, since as Philip recognises, the concept of “apartheid” is not appropriate to describe it.
    Or,
    b. That. like the “Greater Israel” mob, the Occupied Territories, where Philip thinks/believes the concept of apartheid is applicable are, in fact, part of Israel and so permits the concept to apply to Israel as a whole.

    Now, of course, Philip is not alone is this confusion.
    Most Israel=apartheid proponents see The State of Israel in itself (i.e. in its legitimate recognised border) as apartheid, so that, even the coming into existence of a sovereign Palestinian state alongside Israel, will not alter the fact that, for them, Israel was, is and remains an “apartheid” state whose very existence constitutes a “crime against humanity”.

    Phillip’s confusion is symptomatic of the problems that beset proponents of a theory whose very essence is a blurring, not only of concepts, but of their attitude to the existence of Israel itself, that is, from “criticism” of Israel’s occupation of Palestian land, to the demonisation of the very existence of Israel itself.

    The Palestinians in the OT are being occupied, they are subject to what amounts to the whims of military rule, they are suffering from restriction of movement, they do have to suffer the presence of Israeli settlements in their land. along with a dozen and one other disabilities. All is of this is real and horrible.
    However ,recognising and organising around these facts is not enough for Phillip and other Israel=apartheid purveyors. To do so would focus people’s attention “only”onto the Occupation,”only” on a need for a Palestinian state. (This would also entail recognising that other peoples and other lands are also being “occupied” (thereby leading to awkward question about the call to boycott Israel and only Israel and, not, say, China).
    So instead they have to go further and declare Israel an abomination, a “crime against humanity”.

    No wonder Phillip has to cling to his belief in the myth of an Israel Lobby.
    If he didn’t he would have to look to other causes for the (unnecessary) failures of what passes today for “Palestinian Solidarity”, causes such as his own “beliefs” which, as is so often the case, exhibit more a demonisation and hatred of Israel as Israel than a principled concern for Palestinian freedom and sovereignty.
    “.

    • Philip Says:

      I’ll try to ignore the bumpf and the insults.

      What you’re saying is that whether the crime of apartheid is relevant in the Israel case depends on whether you extend your consideration to the OPT. I entirely agree with this. If you confine it to the 1967 lines, then Israel is not an apartheid state. It has racism problems, particularly against Arabs, worse than some countries, not as bad as some others. If you include the OPT it’s apartheid pure and simple.

      Now, the crime of apartheid hasn’t yet been tested as a legal concept. I would be very interested to know how the ICC or the ICJ (or perhaps a British or Belgian or Spanish court under universal jurisdiction). My sense is that they would agree with my interpretation, but I could be wrong.

      • Absolute Observer Says:

        Quite right, it hasn’t been tested. It has had ample chance to do so. There are enough bodies/states only too willing to see Israel labeled apartheid. It hasn’t been tested because in the real world – unlike the blogosphere – )human rights) lawyers, politicians,, etc. know it doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of succeeding on its own terms (either in Israel proper or in the OT).
        But, of course, the point is not that Israel is or is not culpable for an apartheid regime, but rather the aim is to attach the label to Israel regardless of a legal finding. Just like the reactionaries who, after the release of the Birmingham Six or the Guilford Five, this attempt to label Israel with a crime against humanity rests on the argument that there is “no smoke without fire” and/or, well it is obvious that “they” would never find Israel guilty and so on and so forth, that “we” know they are guilty. Just because a bunch of obsessive anti-Zionists think they can use yet another stick to beat Israel with does not make it a “legitimate” claim. Yet, they hope that the more the rumour-mill spreads, the more the allegation will stick and the more people such as yourself say, well, there are all these claims, perhaps we need to put them on trial to see if it is true.

        The issue of “apartheid” is debatable in the same way that the Haiti accusations were debatable – “the question of Israel organ stealing is open, an investigation is needed to decide it one way or another”.

        As I said before, in matter like the present one, it is more than a pity that those like yourself,who support Palestinian solidarity are only too willing to sacrifice Palestine’s political and social needs on the alter of an all-consuming anti-ZIonism.

        • Philip Says:

          Funny, all the people you mention in that bracket that I know, ie, people who are diplomats, work in international courts, public international lawyers, tell me that sovereignty of Israel over the OPT is pretty much established clearing the way for an apartheid ruling.

          And who are the politicians you mention who are so sensible not to mention the dreaded a word? I presume you mean Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak, Jimmy Carter, etc., etc.

        • modernity Says:

          Philip,

          Do you still believe that “Syria and Lebanon treat Jews well. “?

  12. Jimbo Says:

    ‘No, Syria is actually just an old fashioned socialist despotic and murderous regime. It’s not apartheid.’

    It was so far as the Jews it forced out. It remains an apartheid society with regard to Jews because it remains a society in which no Jew (other than privileged western Anglophone non-Jewish Jewish aid workers, leading a neo-colonial life style) could possibly live. As, for the most part, do the other Arab, Islamic states and societies of the region.

    • Jimbo Says:

      Which is why dissolving the one Jewish state in the region for its alleged apartheid qualities into the surrounding sea/desert of states and societies apartheid with regard to Jews, including/especially the Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian one, would be a monstrous injustice.

  13. Comment is not free Says:

    “I’m happy to have a discussion about exactly what ways Israel falls into the crime of apartheid.”

    I’m sure you would.

    What you have said so far about Israel, the Occupied Territories, Israel and the US and their connection, and now anti-anti-ZIonist commentators on Engage points to the conclusion that you actually know very little. It is quite obvious that you believe the opposite (and, as you say, who can challenge your own beliefs).

    So far on Engage you have argued for the existence of the Israel Lobby; quite vehemently in fact.
    You have argued (against your own definitions and the meaning of the concept of “apartheid” itself), that Israel is an apartheid state.
    Now in your latest comment you reduce Nick Cohen’s views to that of a racist murderer, “it just seems like Nick is warmongering again for a war to destroy an Arab state and kill thousands of people.”

    And after all of that that you expect people to want to “have a discussion” with you?

  14. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Re Philip and the Nick Cohen article on Syria: “As to the Cohen article, it just seems like Nick is warmongering again for a war to destroy an Arab state and kill thousands of people…Does he cite any evidence of the UN convention or Rome Statute? No. In fact, I think mostly that subed got carried away.” Actually, Philip is the one who brings in the UN Convention and the Rome Statute. Nick Cohen merely cites the evidence and draws his conclusions from it. It is clearly too much effort for Philip to actually refute this evidence (those who have followed the link provided will see what it is); he prefers to hide behind assertions (“…it seems like Nick is warmongering again…”).

    Philip is quite happy to define Israel as an apartheid state with no evidence (because he knows what he thinks, and that, of course, is a greater force than any evidence could possibly bring to the situation) and unprepared to debate anyone else’s evidence, despite his claimed pleasure that “[He's] very excited that the Syrians are finally throwing off the disgusting and immoral baathist socialism which has kept them down for so long. Unfortunately, many of them are dying in the process.” However, as soon as someone provides evidence as to why the Syrian people might “finally [be] throwing off…” this tyranny, they are dismissed as a warmonger.

    Philip doesn’t change, he wants it both ways at the same time. No wonder he won’t or can’t debate and produce evidence. That would destroy his cosy little weltauunshung.

  15. Paul M Says:

    I’m so glad I chose to stop accepting Philip’s invitation to “discussion” when I did, but it’s taken me until now to understand how completely unserious he is.

    He came to this thread with the claim that, re apartheid, the law was the only thing that mattered. Respondents make the case that, by that criterion, the charge was both wrongly and selectively applied to Israel. Apparently unwilling to argue his own case (because that would be “boring” and anyway not the point he was making) and unable to acknowledge error, Philip takes a fallback position: He hasn’t actually argued from the law, only stated his opinion. He notes in passing that there is no legal finding of apartheid against Israel, but ignores what that does to his initial claim. He even makes the silly assertion that what we’re all arguing about is whether his opinion is or isn’t his opinion. Apparently, while everyone else is to reason from the law he need only tell us what he thinks, not explain why.

    A full week after Philip pops up in this thread, I’m forced to the conclusion that he’s just a better-than-average troll.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      “I’m forced to the conclusion that he’s just a better-than-average troll.” Better than average? Paul, you are remarkably generous. Given his constant changes of position to avoid having the say anything substantial, I’d say he’s a _worse_-than-average…something or other. As I keep saying, but Philip takes no notice, because if he did, he’d have to say something with evidence.

  16. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Now here’s something for Philip to chew on: real evidence from a real Arab-Israeli, one who considers herself a Palestinian. Do read it and tell us what you think, Philip. No, _really_ read it, not just glance at the heading and the first sentence, and then tell us what it’s about. You’ll even be able to file it under false consciousness, if you’ve read enough Marx, providing that you deconstruct it properly.

    Am I being rude? Yes, but I have a good tutor in learning how.

    http://cifwatch.com/2011/07/31/what-the-guardian-wont-report-about-growing-up-palestinian-under-the-israeli-occupation/#comments

  17. Adrian Rifkin Says:

    A slightly different temporal angle: in 1960 at the age of 15 I was sent, by boat, from Southampton UK to Cape Town to visit my 88 year old S African grandfather. As a rather naive teenager I had a lovely time, landscapes, animals and so forth, but suffered visceral shock at the already, before Sharpeville, revolting systems of separation, lines that the innocent could all too readily cross, wrong end of bus, of train, entry to post office and so forth – as well as the prejudice and vileness of everyday relations, not least against decent, white, Jewish, left S Africans who were against the regime. My own family on both sides. The next year, 1961,(Eichmann year) I went by boat to Israel on a youth trip for one month, one of the unhappiest months of my life, for a number of reasons, one of which was the immediate exposure to a racism as vile as that of the year before. The day to day propaganda of our Jewish Agency guides concerning the need for ‘good Jews’ to hate the Arab, the ‘worst Arab is one who pretends to live Jews’ is a phrase I have never forgotten; the pretty much enforced folkloric activity at every sortie from our bus, the smug occupation of Palestinian orange groves on the land of an indigenous people; visiting some of my father’s family who had left S Africa to go there because, as I realised, they no longer saw S Africa as being safe, whereas Israel would deal with the Arab after 1956. OF course, it was all the odder as I grew up hearing Sephardic Arabic every day… all these are old stories. My point is when did apartness begin? when was there not racism? how could there not be given that Herzl opted willingly to play the race card. The person who was to sort this out for me was Arendt in her Eichmann book, but – as it happens, unlike her, I have never been back.

    • vildechaye Says:

      You know, I visited israel 4 times (1973, 1975, 1978 and 1982-83). I found plenty to dislike (when compared to my native Canada), which is why I haven’t been back, but at least I understood why the people were the way they were, and why there attitudes were so harsh. I also never came across the racism you describe, and certainly not from official sources. In any event, why compare it to apartheid, when there’s no legal basis for doing so. And why pick on the flawed democracy, when there are real racist and even apartheid states operating openly in Israel’s neighborhood. Frankly, it makes you sound like a fool.

  18. Comment is not Free Says:

    Herzl playing the ‘race card’.
    Yes, that is one way of interpreting his response to the cry of ‘Death to the Jews’ that he witnessed in Paris during the Dreyfus Affair; the very affair that Arendt sees as the blueprint of the later nazism.
    And, as it so happens, while Arendt was unhappy at the national and militarist form Israel took and was incredibly critical of Israel’s ruling elite in EJ – although praising the judges – she realised the necessity for a Jewish state or at least Jewish autonomy in Palestine.
    And, on another question; when and how does racism begin in any society? And since when do anti-racists accept it as an inherent fate in any nation-state other than in Israel and which many trace back to the ‘idea’ of Zionism as if somehow, when it comes to Israel its actual social form is an unmediated expression of a concept (a concept with many contested meanings); that is, as if there is no space between idea and materiality?
    Perhaps you should have travelled some more or looked around at your own country of birth to ask those questions (see, e.g. the Notting Hill Riots; the ‘no Coloureds’ that were so much part of the English landscape and which was edging toward apartheid but was resisted and by some English people. But, then again, Israelis are not permitted such independence because they are the told they are nothing but material articulations of a (irredeemable) concept.
    Yet another Zionism=racism formula; this time in more elegaic terms.


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