Israel and the Apartheid Slander – Judge Richard Goldstone

This piece, by Richard Goldstone, is from the New York Times.

The Palestinian Authority’s request for full United Nations membership has put hope for any two-state solution under increasing pressure. The need for reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians has never been greater. So it is important to separate legitimate criticism of Israel from assaults that aim to isolate, demonize and delegitimize it.

One particularly pernicious and enduring canard that is surfacing again is that Israel pursues “apartheid” policies. In Cape Town starting on Saturday, a London-based nongovernmental organization called the Russell Tribunal on Palestine will hold a “hearing” on whether Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid. It is not a “tribunal.” The “evidence” is going to be one-sided and the members of the “jury” are critics whose harsh views of Israel are well known.

While “apartheid” can have broader meaning, its use is meant to evoke the situation in pre-1994 South Africa. It is an unfair and inaccurate slander against Israel, calculated to retard rather than advance peace negotiations.

I know all too well the cruelty of South Africa’s abhorrent apartheid system, under which human beings characterized as black had no rights to vote, hold political office, use “white” toilets or beaches, marry whites, live in whites-only areas or even be there without a “pass.” Blacks critically injured in car accidents were left to bleed to death if there was no “black” ambulance to rush them to a “black” hospital. “White” hospitals were prohibited from saving their lives.

In assessing the accusation that Israel pursues apartheid policies, which are by definition primarily about race or ethnicity, it is important first to distinguish between the situations in Israel, where Arabs are citizens, and in West Bank areas that remain under Israeli control in the absence of a peace agreement.

In Israel, there is no apartheid. Nothing there comes close to the definition of apartheid under the 1998 Rome Statute: “Inhumane acts … committed in the context of an institutionalized 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.” Israeli Arabs — 20 percent of Israel’s population — vote, have political parties and representatives in the Knesset and occupy positions of acclaim, including on its Supreme Court. Arab patients lie alongside Jewish patients in Israeli hospitals, receiving identical treatment.

To be sure, there is more de facto separation between Jewish and Arab populations than Israelis should accept. Much of it is chosen by the communities themselves. Some results from discrimination. But it is not apartheid, which consciously enshrines separation as an ideal. In Israel, equal rights are the law, the aspiration and the ideal; inequities are often successfully challenged in court.

The situation in the West Bank is more complex. But here too there is no intent to maintain “an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group.” This is a critical distinction, even if Israel acts oppressively toward Palestinians there. South Africa’s enforced racial separation was intended to permanently benefit the white minority, to the detriment of other races. By contrast, Israel has agreed in concept to the existence of a Palestinian state in Gaza and almost all of the West Bank, and is calling for the Palestinians to negotiate the parameters.

But until there is a two-state peace, or at least as long as Israel’s citizens remain under threat of attacks from the West Bank and Gaza, Israel will see roadblocks and similar measures as necessary for self-defense, even as Palestinians feel oppressed. As things stand, attacks from one side are met by counterattacks from the other. And the deep disputes, claims and counterclaims are only hardened when the offensive analogy of “apartheid” is invoked.

Those seeking to promote the myth of Israeli apartheid often point to clashes between heavily armed Israeli soldiers and stone-throwing Palestinians in the West Bank, or the building of what they call an “apartheid wall” and disparate treatment on West Bank roads. While such images may appear to invite a superficial comparison, it is disingenuous to use them to distort the reality. The security barrier was built to stop unrelenting terrorist attacks; while it has inflicted great hardship in places, the Israeli Supreme Court has ordered the state in many cases to reroute it to minimize unreasonable hardship. Road restrictions get more intrusive after violent attacks and are ameliorated when the threat is reduced.

Of course, the Palestinian people have national aspirations and human rights that all must respect. But those who conflate the situations in Israel and the West Bank and liken both to the old South Africa do a disservice to all who hope for justice and peace.

Jewish-Arab relations in Israel and the West Bank cannot be simplified to a narrative of Jewish discrimination. There is hostility and suspicion on both sides. Israel, unique among democracies, has been in a state of war with many of its neighbors who refuse to accept its existence. Even some Israeli Arabs, because they are citizens of Israel, have at times come under suspicion from other Arabs as a result of that longstanding enmity.

The mutual recognition and protection of the human dignity of all people is indispensable to bringing an end to hatred and anger. The charge that Israel is an apartheid state is a false and malicious one that precludes, rather than promotes, peace and harmony.

Richard J. Goldstone, a former justice of the South African Constitutional Court, led the United Nations fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict of 2008-9.

This piece, by Richard Goldstone, is from the New York Times.

94 Responses to “Israel and the Apartheid Slander – Judge Richard Goldstone”

  1. David Kessler Says:

    I agree with Richard Goldstone that it is important to challenge the myth of israeli “Apartheid.” But I cannot see how that relates to his opening statement that “The Palestinian Authority’s request for full United Nations membership has put hope for any two-state solution under increasing pressure.” That statement is a complete non-sequitur to almost everything that follows. I see recognition of Palestine (at least on paper) as a positive step and one that can only advance a two state solution.

    • Thomas Venner Says:

      You took the words right out of my mouth – I really can’t get my head around why everyone seems to be making a fuss about the Palestinians looking to get full UN membership. It seems to me that this is a great way for the PA to effectively give Israel what it wants, including a de facto annulment of the Palestinian “right of return” to Israel (once they have their own state, they would have no real legal grounds for demanding a right of return to another state, in the same way that the Israeli descendants of Jews expelled from other Arab countries have no legal right of return to those countries – not that they would really want to go back anyway) while appearing to be winning a victory over Israel, and thereby avoiding the loss of face that a more open compromise would bring.

      Of course, Netanyahu & co. don’t like this precisely because they don’t want a peace deal at all. He and his associates have built their entire careers out of exploiting the conflict, along with using it as a convenient external threat to distract from their own failings as a government. A peace deal with the Palestinians would mean the end of a lot of right-wingers’ careers in the Israeli government, along with all the “benefits” which they get from helping the settlers and their backers in the Bible Belt out, so they continue to block any potential deals and sell out their own people’s interests.

    • Gil Says:

      “I see recognition of Palestine (at least on paper) as a positive step and one that can only advance a two state solution”

      What a naive view. The Arabs of Mandate Palestine fled (and in some cases were expelled or massacred by the Jewish forces) because they were promised the keys to the Jews’ houses once the Arab armies had wiped out the Jews. The Arabs reject the UN resolution on Palestine. They reafirm their hardline position in Khartoum after the Six-Day War. And now you want to give them some medal or prize for good behaviour by having the UN with its inbuilt anti-zionist majority hand them a state on a silver platter?

      Moreover, this will be only the first step towards their dream of eradicating Jewish sovereignty in what was Palestine west of the Jordan river.

      • Lynne T Says:

        I also think it goes some distance to accuse Netanyahu of wanting no peace deal.

        And seeing how events are turning in post-Arab spring Egypt and Libya don’t portant well for a Palestinian state living peaceably along side of Israel. Fatah may not be overtly “moderate Islamist”, but will certainly turn in that direction if that’s all it takes to regain control of Gaza, and, as Hussein Ibish warns, there are no moderate Islamists. (If I recall correctly, Ibish, who heads the American Task Force on Palestine, is not keen on Abbas’s attempt to achieve statehood via the UN.)

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      Come now, Philip, if this is your idea of a rebuttal, you need to go back to your text books. First of all, Al Jazeera is hardly a neutral media source, by definition. For all the complaints made against it by supporters of Israel, Al Jazeera makes the BBC Middle East service look like a beacon of even-handed neutrality.

      Further, the Russell Tribunal isn’t, either, a neutral, intellectually focused investigative body. It is Non-Governmental Organisation with an “agenda”: indeed, it is on a par for open and equal consideration of the evidence with the UN Human Rights Council and _its_ consideration of all things Israeli. The Tribunal is stacked with anti-Zonists and those who have shown sympathy, to put it mildly, with the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement.

      To make matters worse, you don’t present your own reasoning as to why Goldstone gets it wrong (on a par with your earlier efforts here: assert, don’t argue, and above all, don’t present evidence), you link to an implacable enemy of the whole idea of Israel.

      By therefore, in practice, ignoring Goldstone’s article and its contents, you fail to convince (except those already convinced, and most of those don’t need your links, they’ve already got their own) anyone of anything. Goldstone argues (convincingly) that the attempt to apply the term “apartheid” to Israel is not only not arguable, it is plain wrong. This has been plainly stated time and again by those who should know: South Africans who lived through the apartheid era (like Goldstone himself, which is more than the writers on Al Jazeera did) and often went to jail for their pains. One of many is Benjamin Pogrund. One his more recent efforts to tell the truth is here:
      http://www.weeklyblitz.net/1831/is-israel-the-new-apartheid.

      The point is taken by Goldstone (and by many others, and I’ve done so myself) that this doesn’t mean that there isn’t any discrimination or unequal treatment within Israel, both towards Arab-Israelis and, indeed, Jews from Arab lands. But so there is in the UK and elsewhere, countries that, formally, have legislation (and agencies to enforce the law) that creates equal treatment for all.

      The West Bank, Goldstone, Pogrund and many others acknowledge, is a different story. But whatever that different story is, it isn’t apartheid.

      If you’re so convinced that Goldstone has it wrong, why don’t you expend some of your energy and effort in deconstructing Goldstone.

      • Philip Says:

        Ok, paragraph by paragraph rebuttal.

        Paragraph 1: bluster.

        Paragraph 2: assertion, no evidence.

        Paragraph 3: this is what you yourself do in paragraph 4.

        Paragraph 4: you’re right, I didn’t make arguments, I presented a rebuttal, one it appears you haven’t read, since you don’t address any of the points. If you want me to line up people who lived under apartheid in South Africa who also think that Israel is an apartheid state, that’s really not so hard (Desmond Tutu, anyone?). I don’t think that’s a meaningful way to argue. Instead, I lined up a professor of international law with an informed opinion. Unfortunately there wasn’t one available from De Montford, so I had to find one from Princeton instead.

        Paragraph 5: this is a little irrelevant. The point of ethics is not to pat oneself on the back by sneering at others, but to strive to live and act more ethically regardless.

        Paragraph 6: this is an assertion. It might help if you presented a discussion of the meaning of sovereignty.

        Paragraph 7: perhaps I will.

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          I take it that your effort above is actually directed at me, not Goldstone, and thus, for a start, is not a rebuttal or a deconstruction of Goldstone, which you say, in your last sentence you might do. So go ahead, Philip, we all waiting for something more than mere assertion and clever words from you, and we’ve been waiting ever since you started posting comments here. It’s about time you put up or shut up. And don’t tell me that I’m being rude: the words mean exactly what they say – provide a counter argument or quit the field.

          As for your specific comments: how is paragraph 1 bluster? All I say is that “Al Jazeera is hardly a neutral media source”. Should you wish for support for this view, how about this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Jazeera#Israel. At least as valid as your original link, I would think.

          Now let me turn to the Russell Tribunal on Palestine. Much can be said about this, and as you insist that, unlike yourself, I do the work, let me begin. Alice Walker, who is unable to attend because of ill-health, is on the record for anti-Zionist statements: just search for her through the engage website. If you can’t be bothered to do that, how about this, from the Tribunal itself:
          “Pulitzer prize-winning writer Alice Walker today compared Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians with the historical racism of the British Empire.” No evidence, at least on the Tribunal website, although, I suppose, her original statement/article might have provided some.

          Next up, John Dugdale, shown on the Tribunal website as “Former Special Rapporteur for…UN Commission on HUman Rights. That says it all, but for more, here:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel_and_the_apartheid_analogy. Then we have Ronald Kasrils, defender of Bongu Masaku and all-round purveyor of the “Israel is apartheid line”, again, search for him on the Engage site. Michael Mansfield is also on the record as an anti-Zionist. Cynthia McKinney is a member of the 9/11 Truth Movement, which I think speaks for itself.

          That’s 5 of the 11 “jury members”, one unable to attend, so we have half of them demonstrably partial on the subject of Israel. And this says nothing of the infernal nerve of stealing Bertrand Russell’s name and idea for a Tribunal and giving it a twist that we have no as to whether he would have approved or not.

          Paragraphs 3 & 4 you lump together: actually, I do argue and present arguments: I present a link to Pogrund on the Israel and the apartheid analogy. You may not like his argument and/or disagree with it, but you fail to respond to it.

          Paragraph 5 is hardly irrelevant. It’s exactly what both Goldstone and Pogrund say and given the so-called arguments that go into the claim that Israel is an apartheid state, then the comparisons (which I repeat in my response to Rangjan below) are entirely valid. If you believe otherwise, where are _your_ arguments that the UK, the US, France, Germany, et al are also apartheid states (and we’ll say nothing about all those states with appalling human rights records elsewhere, a number of them members of the UN Human Rights Council. And while I’m on the subject, you might like to follow the link here, to see just how “free” all the other middle eastern and West African states are:
          http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=363&year=2010

          No, paragraph 6 is not an assertion: it follows directly from reading the Goldstone & Pogrund articles. Perhaps you haven’t actually read these? If you had, you would have to provide a (hopefully detailed) rebuttal of these, not just a one sentence non-reply.

          All of which means, that, yes, you should spend some time and energy deconstructing Goldstone, not just musing that “perhaps I will.” If you don’t, then you risk being labelled (wrongly, in my view) a mere troll.

          And I must also note that a number of other commenters here have made many of these points about your original posting on this thread. They also deserve a reply. Or shall we presume that your response to me is a response to them?

        • Richard Gold Says:

          Brian. I don’t think Philip’s really interested in discussing why Israel is an apartheid state. For Philip, Israel is a bad state, a state that shouldn’t exist as a zionist state and is thus for Philip not a legitimate state. Philip isn’t too interested in going into details because the apartheid label is simply a tactic of deligitimisation. It’s just lazy short-hand for Israel should not exist. So i wouldn’t waste too much time on asking Philip for details as it’s not something he’s too bothered about.

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          Richard, yes I know. Much the same point has been made to me before, both publicly and privately, and not just over specific individuals. However, one of my motivations for commenting (both here and elsewhere) is that there are, to my personal knowledge, people out there who read sites such as this one and who are either: looking for arguments the next time some unthinking person reiterates an anti-Zionist or worse trope at the dinner table; or are genuinely on the sidelines in this debate. It is much to talk to them as to maintain my intellectual vigour in retirement that I comment. And the likes of Philip Blue should not be allowed the last word, unless the last word is an irrefutably logic-based, evidence-led and (above all) rational argument and conclusion.

          I’m still waiting for one of those from the “other side”.

        • Philip Says:

          Richard Gold, I don’t see too much evidence for your assertion of my motivations. I don’t think Israel is a ‘bad’ state, and I don’t care about delegitimisation, which in any case, is a meaningless word. Please do define it for me. And perhaps address comments about me to me, rather than to Barry Goldfarb. It makes for better discussion. You say I’m not interested in discussing specifics. Well, actually, had you read the article I linked to, you would have seen the following case for why the apartheid label is appropriate:

          ‘The overwhelming evidence of systematic discrimination is impossible to overlook in any objective description of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, and to a lesser degree East Jerusalem. The pattern of establishing settlements for Israelis throughout the West Bank not only violates the prohibition in international humanitarian law against transferring members of the occupying population to an occupied territory. It also creates the operational justifications for the establishment of a legal regime of separation and subjugation.

          ‘From this settlement phenomenon follows an Israeli community protected by Israeli security forces, provided at great expense with a network of settler-only roads, enjoying Israeli constitutional protection, and given direct unregulated access to Israel. What also follows is a Palestinian community subject to often abusive military administration without the protection of effective rights, living with great daily difficulty due to many burdensome restrictions on mobility, and subject to an array of humiliating and dangerous conditions that include frequent Israeli use of arbitrary and excessive force, house demolitions, nighttime arrests and detentions that subjects Palestinians as a whole to a lifetime of acute human insecurity.

          ‘The contrast of these two sets of conditions, translated into operative legal regimes, for two peoples living side-by-side makes the allegations of apartheid seem persuasive, and if a slander is present then it is attributed to those who, like Goldstone, seek to defame and discredit the Russell Tribunal’s heroic attempt to challenge the scandal of silence that has allowed Israel to perpetrate injustice without accountability.’

          One is tempted to respond, accusing someone of not wanting Israel to exist, is simply lazy shorthand for not wanting to face up to the facts.

        • soupyone Says:

          Philip,

          Why do you nearly always clam up when Syria is mentioned?

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          Philip, your reply (presumably from the Al Jazeera article you linked to) quite openly and specifically refers to the West Bank and to a lesser degree (their words) East Jerusalem.

          Funnily enough, except for the argument lower down the quote claiming that this makes the allegations of apartheid seem persuasive, few people, and probably neither of Goldstone or Pogrund, would argue with the general drift of that argument concerning discrimination (or at least unequal behaviour). However, what they and I would argue strongly is that this does not constitute apartheid, because the West Bank is occupied territory and different rules apply there to the ones that apply within Israel proper. And nothing you’ve said here or have quoted directly from the Al Jazeera article gives any support to the claims that _Israel_ is an apartheid state.

          And that is all I’m saying, at great length, admittedly, because you don’t back up your arguments to the contrary, even when specifically requested to do so.

          If you remain convinced that those who deny any validity to the likes of Goldstone & Pogrund when they refute (with evidence and often referring back to the Rome definition of apartheid) the claims that Israel is an apartheid state, then you have to accept that any number of other states fit much more easily into the definition than Israel, including the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, with their treatment of their Romany minorities, to say nothing of the numerous Moslem societies which deny citizenship (and all the benefits that go with that status) to anyone who is not a Moslem. To do otherwise is to fly in the face of reality.

          However, when you cite (presumably with approval) the following from the Al Jazeera article: “those who…seek to defame and discredit the Russell Tribunal’s heroic attempt to challenge the scandal of silence that has allowed Israel to perpetrate injustice without accountability”, then you give a quote too far. I have noted that 5 (at least) of the 11 members of the “jury” of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine have made demonstrably anti-Israel statements, some going so far as to demand the dismantling of Israel as a sovreign state, then it is hardly an independent body, given that almost half have publicly condemned Israel in some form.

          I notice that you don’t pick up on any of my responses to your numbered points. Have you, at least, checked out the Freedom House link? You seem to prefer to talk of other things than to respond to specific comments directed at you.

          Finally, who is Barry Goldfarb? At least get my name right.

        • Troll Says:

          “Or are you trying to argue that Syria expelled Jews, because that’s the first I’ve heard of it.”

          This Philip chap who some posters seem to know quite well is not very well informed is he?

          “In Syria, real estate purchase was prohibited to Jews in 1947, and Jews began to be discharged from public service positions. In 1967, Muslim principals were appointed to Jewish schools.”

          “With anti-Jewish feeling reaching a climax in the late 1930s and early 1940s, many Jews considered emigrating. Between 1942 and 1947, around 4,500 Jews arrived in Palestine from Syria and Lebanon.[42] In December 1947, a pogrom in Aleppo left the community devastated. In August 1949, the Menarsha synagogue was attacked in Damascus. 12 people were killed and dozens injured.”

          “The 1947 Aleppo pogrom refers to an attack against Aleppo’s Jews in December 1947, following the United Nations vote in favor of partitioning Palestine. The attack, a part of anti-Jewish wave of unrest across Middle East and North Africa, resulted in between 8 to 75 Jews killed and several hundred wounded.[1] In the aftermath of the pogrom, half the city’s Jewish population had abandoned the city.”way.

          But I bet he can give you every sorry sordid detail of the Israel – Palestine conflict………..well, some version of it anyway – he would not be the only one.

        • Philip Says:

          Brian Goldfarb, on your first point, regarding how other states such as the UK and France would also be guilty of apartheid. I think you are confusing different crimes against humanity. Many middle eastern states are guilty of grave crimes against humanity. Apartheid is one kind of crime against humanity, and no more or less serious than any of the others. It is accorded equal prominence in the Rome Statute, for example.

          So yes, Bahrein, Syria, Saudi, etc. are all guilty of grave crimes against humanity. I am not convinced that in any of these cases these crimes constitute the crime of apartheid. Perhaps you can persuade me otherwise.

          On your second point, I disagree with your reading of the arguments that Goldstone is making. There are two kinds of argument, and Goldstone is making one, and you are making a different one. Argument (a) is: what is happening in the Occupied Territories does not constitute apartheid. Argument (b) is what is happening in the Occupied Territories might well constitute apartheid, but for the fact that Israel is not the sovereign power in that geographical area.

          Goldstone is using argument (a). For example, he writes: ‘The situation in the West Bank is more complex. But here too there is no intent to maintain “an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group.” This is a critical distinction, even if Israel acts oppressively toward Palestinians there.’

          You on the other hand write: ‘what they and I would argue strongly is that this does not constitute apartheid, because the West Bank is occupied territory and different rules apply there to the ones that apply within Israel proper.’ I take this as the position in argument (b). Hence, it seems that to convince you of the charge of apartheid I would have to convince you that Israel is indeed sovereign in the Occupied Territories. Is that correct?

          Finally, you say that I have not had the good grace to read your linked articles, especially the Freedom House one. You also write: ‘your reply (presumably from the Al Jazeera article you linked to) quite openly and specifically refers to the West Bank and to a lesser degree (their words) East Jerusalem.’ This suggests to me that you didn’t take the trouble yourself to read the article I linked to. What other reason would you have to say ‘presumably’? It was quite apparent that I was quoting from Falk’s Al Jazeera piece. Do me a favour. At least hold yourself to the ‘academic’ code to which you hold others.

        • David Kessler Says:

          Philip I have tried to find any evidence in your postings of Israeli Apartheid, but despite careful reading have failed to find such evidence.

          Your position appears to be that apartheid involves any sort of oppression that is not equally applied to all races/religions. It is your implicit definition that is flawed. Apartheid has a very specific meaning: systematic legally enforced separation of races/religions for non-security-related reasons. Outside the scope of this definition it is not apartheid. That does not necessarily make the policies under review justified, but they would not be apartheid. Neither Israel nor the occupied territories has “Jews only” toilets, restaurants, hotels, beaches, cinemas, public parks, etc. There are Arabs in all walks of life in Israel, as i have stated previously.

          In contrast Syria has laws against Jews owning land and restricts their employment. Iran has laws against Jews becoming judges, civil servants and high school principles.

          In the case of Israel, some of their security-related restrictions may go too far. However to quote your own words “I am not convinced that in any of these cases these crimes constitute the crime of apartheid. Perhaps you can persuade me otherwise.”

        • Philip Says:

          David Kessler, what’s your source for these claims you make about Syria?

          And what’s the basis for your definition of apartheid: ‘systematic legally enforced separation of races/religions for non-security-related reasons.’? Specifically, where do you take the non-security related clause from? And what criteria would you use to assess whether such a defence is being used correctly or not? It’s not hard to imagine that, given a get-out clause, an offender will try to use it, whether in good faith or not.

        • David Kessler Says:

          Philip,

          1) My source for claims about Syria was a talk given by a Jew who had managed to escape from Syria. It was a few years ago. Things may have changed – although I somehow doubt it.

          2) My definition. The word “apartheid” is an Afrikaans word meaning “Apartness.” It originated in South Africa and was enshrined in legislation there in 1948. (It had existed de facto long before that, but in 1948 it was enshrined in a series of legislative acts.)

          I exclude security-related restrictions because they may be legitimately motivated even if not always fair and because they are quite common in occupied territories and indeed other trouble spots (e.g. Northern Ireland). Such restrictions apply both to the locals and in some cases even to ones own troops.

          It’s not really a get-out clause, as such restrictions can still be criticized as being wrong or excessive. You said yourself that there were government crimes other than Apartheid. All it means is that critics of Israel will not be able to go unchallenged if they reply on simplistic and bogus associations with South Africa as a kind of sound-byte short-cut to presenting their case against Israel. They might actually have to THINK.

        • Troll Says:

          “After the birth of the State of Israel in 1948, persecution of Jews remaining in Syria was common. The Jews were no longer permitted to own property, travel or practice their occupation. Jews who tried to leave the country were persecuted. The Muslim dhimmi laws were strictly enforced. Those Jews who were permitted to travel for business purposes could not travel with family members because the Syrian government feared that they would flee. The Syrian government feared that Jewish men would join forces with Israel and fight against them in the Israeli Army.”

          http://www.jewishgen.org/sephardic/aleppojews.htm

        • Bill Says:

          You know Richard, there is so little point here. He wants examples of apartheid states in a world filled with it. You can bring up fact after fact, Jews in Syria gets us nowhere. Party/Class/UrbanVsRural “self-selection” and the social microevolution that therein evolves doesn’t count either we are told, especially when it self-selects on ethnic and class lines. (EEOC/RRA lawyers would kindly disagree.) Bring up gender and of course that won’t count since the many of the countries that need the apartheid meme levied against Israel and only Israel obviously use it like 80s bands used synthesizers . Sorry. (And sorry Kajagoogoo.) Religion, only counts if it’s used to demonize-but-not-really-demoinize Jews. China? (PRC, ROC? Oh heck! So many cuisines from Tibet, Hukou, Formosans, etc to chose from?) One-two-three “That’s Different!” Sri Lanka where you WILL see the A word used among parochial enthusiasts but not much else and there will always be some level of sniffing at that since it’s “not really the same thing.”

          It will always be bad. Often very very bad. Sometimes very very very bad. So very very very bad we now have a new bone, “discrimination states” (!), to throw people who are serious about such things so they can go about delegitimizing and demonizing countries while denying that they are doing it. But it never gets as bad as Israel because it’s the only current active Apartheid state (the others Philip holds up only nostalgically, SA and his home country). It will always be different. It will always be not quite the same. It will never be bad regardless of context. It will never get awarded the scarlet letter A. Why? The hair will always be parted just a quarter inch to make it “compliant” with the “official” metrics because that’s why the metrics were written, to let counties that aggressively discriminate by race, class, clique and gender to keep their elites on the local gravy train in under the wire. I will give him credit for one thing. There indeed only can be a couple (or just one) apartheid states out there. Just as there can be only a few rare scapegoats for all the other countries bounty of sins. And ironically it becomes an impediment to confronting many of these other problems by people who are focuses like a laser beam on the only only current apartheid state (established for global convenience).

          I’m through with him and his hair splitting and denial. This debate only serves to demonstrate to fence sitters how dishonest the apartheid scapegoating meme is and how it distracts from global injustice.

        • Philip Says:

          David Kessler, if as you say, ‘Syria has laws against Jews owning land and restricts their employment,’ then why not cite the law? If you can’t find it online, then perhaps refer to the number. If it’s in Arabic, that’s fine. I can read Arabic.

          You seem to regard your security clause as uncontroversial. Yet surely you’re aware that the South African apartheid government used security as an excuse for maintaining the system. Was that legitimate? And where in the Apartheid Convention or the Rome Statute is the clause permitting apartheid laws when security demands it?

          And what of the fact that the security needs only arise because of settlement construction in the Occupied Territories?

        • Philip Says:

          Bill, what you describe about Syria appears to be forced expulsion, which is a separate crime against humanity under the Rome Statute. It won’t be charged, incidentally, since the Statute can only be used to try crimes since its inception. Fortunately that means Israel gets off the hook for its own ethnic cleansing back in 1948! (B Morris).

          You seem to think that by naming countries this counts as a convincing legal case. It doesn’t. China’s crimes seem to me (and please correct me where appropriate) to be the other way around. Rather than trying to make separation between different groups, and enshrining a legal code to do so, they are simply trying to assimilate all cultures into one. That’s very (very very) bad, but it’s not ‘apartheid’.

          When you say that the rules are drafted just to catch Israel, I presume that means you think the Apartheid Convention of the 1970s was written to catch out Israel rather than, ahem, South Africa. And you accuse me of having a narrow focus on Israel? Pah!

          Finally, when you write ‘Formosa’ rather than Taiwan you betray your age and / or your colonialist pretensions. Which kind of explains a lot.

        • Philip Says:

          Troll, the article you linked to was a great portrait of a community. However, it doesn’t describe developments in Syria since 1948, which is a very long time. Much has changed.

          Also, you didn’t link to the first article you used. I’d be interested in reading it.

        • soupyone Says:

          Philip,

          When the issue is Syria you will quibble about *everything*, when it comes to Israel you will believe & argue anything, even the very worst.

          Which is why it is fruitless to discuss these complex issues with you.

        • David Kessler Says:

          Philip, regarding the law against Jews owning land in Syria, as I said, I based my information on a talk given by a Jew who managed to escape from the Syrian dictatorship a few years ago. He also said that Jews in Kamishli were subjected to a dusk to dawn curfew, were forbidden to work, and were consequently entirely dependent on UN handouts. he also revealed that at one point they were subject to a continuous eight-month curfew in which they were confined to their homes and would have starved but for international aid.

          If you are suggesting that I am wrong on the property ownership issue, perhaps you could give me the name of a Jew who DOES own land in Syria – along with the parcel/plot details and the appropriate reference in the Syrian land registry (and of course proof that the owner is Jewish). That way you can rule out not only de jure restrictions on such ownership but also de facto restrictions – if indeed your position is correct.

          Also I am still waiting for you to provide evidence of Israeli apartheid and also could you clarify are you referring to the occupied territories or Israel in relation to its Arab citizens?

        • Bill Says:

          Phillip, you have literally dug so far in your need to deny apartheid anywhere else its happening you have literally hit China. “Formosans” commonly also refers to pre-Han indigenous Taiwanese to distinguish them from the mainlanders. Hukou has absolutely NOTHING to do with unifying Chinese culture it’s about keeping the lowly peasants out of the cities to concentrate opportunity for the elites. But that’s not apartheid since the hair is parted “just so” (and that’s a lot of hair gel) and there aren’t any Jews involved. If your obsession with Israel and making sure that its the only current dues paying apartheid state keeps you from seeing this sort of thing, then its proof that the apartheid meme exists to scapegoat one or two current “low-risk” countries (SA then Israel – and apparently once for your mystery home country) so the rest can breathe easy.

          As for naming names I did as you asked, and I knew I would get this response. a) total cluelessness b) a claim that naming countries that practice apartheid conduct (as requested) doesn’t make a case and of course c) it will ALWAYS be different. But in all honesty I didn’t expect you to call Hukou an assimilationist policy! Awesome, that. I bet if Israel were a utopian bi-national state where Jews had to ask permission to be Jewish from Hamas and Fatah, you’d have known that. But probably not. Both or together, PRC and ROC are as important to the global economy as the oil producing nations, the scarlet letter will never be allowed to apply to them. Even as you laughably claim that it’s “just another crime against humanity” while then claiming that it’s so bad only a few countries get the title.

          Stop. Digging. And I’m not enabling you anymore. You’re denialism is entrenched. You’re full of it.

        • Philip Says:

          David Kessler, thanks for the response. Syria is not the kind of country to computerise its land registry, you may not be aware that it has a socialist government, forms of which around the world tend to do a great disservice to a great many people. So I don’t have the information that you request. If you go to the Old City in Damascus, you’ll see a remarkable difference between the Jewish Quarter and the Christian Quarter (the other two are Muslim Quarters). Many of the old houses in the Jewish Quarter have engravings of stars of David and other such markings. The area is ramshackle and run-down, and is now a trendy base for artists looking for cheap studio space. Many poorer Christians moved into the area following the departure of Jews. It now also hosts Damascus’s top boutique hotel as well as its best backpacker hostel. The ramshackle empty houses are said to be held in trust for Jews when they return to Syria (of course this is unlikely to happen, but the government likes to kid itself). So despite it being a profitable area for (especially tourist) business, people cannot simply buy up this property and use it. The Jews I met there did not mention to me restrictions on property ownership, but then again, I didn’t ask. This article, which does a good job of explaining the nuances the situation, may answer your questions: http://bit.ly/sokkCy.

          The things you say about Qamishli are the first I’ve heard of them. Qamishli is a predominantly Kurdish city in the northeast of Syria. It has a big UN presence, mostly dealing with Iraqi refugees (from that good old war that AIPAC kindly cheerled for). There are many cases of abuses against the Kurdish population there. If you have evidence of abuses against Jews (and indeed, I was unaware that there was still a Jewish community there) then I’d genuinely be interested to hear / read about them.

          You ask me to provide evidence and to clarify my case on apartheid in Israel. I already did so here: https://engageonline.wordpress.com/2011/11/08/israel-and-the-apartheid-slander-judge-richard-goldstone/#comment-17671.

        • Troll Says:

          “It has a big UN presence, mostly dealing with Iraqi refugees (from that good old war that AIPAC kindly cheerled for)”

          Philip,
          When you start acting with good faith on these issues, then I will respond to you requests.
          In the meantime, your tendency to make stupid, idiotic little jibes that do no more than feed the ignorant shows that your claim to want to learn things along with your obsession with Israel’s apartheid is premised on nothing more than prejudice.
          Grow up even a little and then, maybe, just maybe, I will acknowledge you as someone worthy of my time.
          Until then I will treat you like the minor irritant that you are.
          I trust I have made myself clear.

        • Philip Says:

          Bill, a few points, even if you don’t care to reply.

          I’m unaware of the use of the term Formosa or Formosan except to describe a variety of termite and among colonialism-fetishists. Since you say it’s ‘common,’ I guess I at least would have expected it to be in the Wikipedia list, but I couldn’t locate it (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Chinese_ethnic_groups).

          My comment was mostly pertaining to Tibet, but I’m not an expert on China, so perhaps you can help me to learn. Does the Hokou System separate people either intentionally or in its effects along racial, ethnic or even religious lines? If so, then I would say it could well be apartheid. But I would need to know more facts. The Wikipedia entry appears to suggest that the separation is ‘social’. Do you have any other recommended reading on the topic?

          Incidentally, I didn’t ask you to name names, I asked you to make a case for apartheid in other states. For example, I wrote, ‘You seem to think that by naming countries this counts as a convincing legal case. It doesn’t.’ Which seems to make quite the opposite point, don’t you think? So, present a case, and we’ll evaluate it. (I’ll indulge your whataboutery for a while, though don’t think I can’t see what you’re trying to do!)

          By the way, if you want to make my location less mysterious, all you need do is demonstrate web-based research skills and click on the link where my name is. Not so mysterious.

      • Brian Goldfarb Says:

        Philip says (some way above): “I lined up a professor of international law with an informed opinion. Unfortunately there wasn’t one available from De Montford, so I had to find one from Princeton instead.”
        Actually you didn’t line him up: he fell into your lap because you went searching for him. It’s interesting that you cite the work of an avowed anti-Zionist. There must be other, less obviously biased, observers you could have used.

        Then again, I let this go before, but Philip, stop patronising me: it isn’t clever and it isn’t smart. It’s puerile. Further, I note that you shift your ground yet again, by, essentially, ignoring my comments, except for the ones you believe make your case, should you be able to undermine mine. So be it, but don’t complain when others do the same to you. And, by the way, why have you ignored “Troll”, immediately before my last comment? Is it because he makes unanswerable points?

        However, to come to the matter of your reply to me of 14 November. You say in your second paragraph that ”So yes, Bahrein, Syria, Saudi, etc. are all guilty of grave crimes against humanity. I am not convinced that in any of these cases these crimes constitute the crime of apartheid.” [If you believe that, follow this link:
        http://untreaty.un.org/cod/icc/statute/99_corr/2.htm
        Article 7 Crimes against humanity
        see section 2(h).]

        So Israel is, but these countries are not. Tell me, have you linked to Freedom House yet? If not, why not? And if you have, why do you not acknowledge that israel’s human rights record is so much better than other Middle Eastern states? Given that, why is Israel an apartheid state and they are not? It is incumbent on you to prove the positive that you assert, not me the negative. Your comment on Freedom House would indicate that you haven’t linked to it.

        “Argument (b) is what is happening in the Occupied Territories might well constitute apartheid, but for the fact that Israel is not the sovereign power in that geographical area.” No, this is not what I am saying, nor is Goldstone, and, again, you know it. Different rules apply in the Occupied Territories to those within the borders of a sovereign state.

        While still on the subject of apartheid, you say: “it seems that to convince you of the charge of apartheid I would have to convince you that Israel is indeed sovereign in the Occupied Territories. Is that correct?” Nothing I have written could possibly lead you to that conclusion, except for a determination to read into my words what you wish to see, not what I have actually said.

        “This suggests to me that you didn’t take the trouble yourself to read the article I linked to. What other reason would you have to say ‘presumably’? It was quite apparent that I was quoting from Falk’s Al Jazeera piece. Do me a favour. At least hold yourself to the ‘academic’ code to which you hold others.”
        Yet again, you patronise me. Don’t. I am holding myself to such standards, but, I’m sorry to say, you don’t appear to be doing the same. I did you the honour (which is more than you do me) not to assume anything that isn’t directly sourced must be from a given source. Yes I did read the article, but why should I take any notice of the UN HRC Special Rapporteur on Palestine who has made his anti-Zionism very clear. Further, he has openly endorsed Gilad Atzmon’s book “The Wandering Who” which is openly acknowledged by its author to be antisemitic. Don’t believe me (or don’t want to)? See this:

        http://www.tnr.com/print/article/politics/97030/atzmon-wandering-who-anti-semitism-israel

        This is someone whose views I should be respecting? Why? And don’t cite his academic position at me: high levels of formal qualification and job achievement don’t stop people holding peculiar views and opinions.

        • Philip Says:

          I don’t quite understand your argument. Syria, for example, appears to be guilty of many crimes against humanity, such as torture, enforced disappearance, and possibly even war crimes, though it’s unclear whether these actions can fall under war crimes given the uncertainty of whether it constitutes a war under international law.

          Israel is probably not guilty of crimes against humanity such as torture, but is, in my view, probably guilty of the crime of apartheid. Is this clear? I’m not disputing that there are human rights abuses in many middle eastern countries. In any case it matters not a jot. You are engaged in a spot of whataboutery, which is hardly ‘academic’.

          Moving on.

          You write: ‘ “Argument (b) is what is happening in the Occupied Territories might well constitute apartheid, but for the fact that Israel is not the sovereign power in that geographical area.” No, this is not what I am saying, nor is Goldstone, and, again, you know it. Different rules apply in the Occupied Territories to those within the borders of a sovereign state.’

          You have clearly misread what I wrote. I know that Goldstone doesn’t make argument (b). I said that quite clearly. I wrote: ‘ ‘Goldstone is using argument (a). For example, he writes: ‘The situation in the West Bank is more complex. But here too there is no intent to maintain “an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group.” This is a critical distinction, even if Israel acts oppressively toward Palestinians there.’ ‘

          I do believe that you are making argument (b), and indeed you repeat the argument in your latest comment. For example, you write, ‘Different rules apply in the Occupied Territories to those within the borders of a sovereign state.’ Or in other words, we can have separate roads for Jews and non-Jews in the Occupied Territories because they are not part of Israel’s sovereign jurisdiction. (Out of interest, do cite for me the specific international law where this distinction is made.)

          But if you want to deny the argument you are making, then perhaps I’ll turn to Pogrund instead. He writes: ‘Israel is in military occupation of the West Bank. I am among the many Israelis who oppose the occupation and who believe that we must get out of there. Nothing about occupation is pleasant. Its nature is oppressive and abusive. Day after day the actions needed to maintain the occupation debase Palestinian victims as well as Israeli soldiers.

          ‘Israeli control means checkpoints, late night raids and detentions and killings, and administrative cruelties in regulating people’s lives. Palestinians resist and fight back, attacking both soldiers and settlers, undermining their own morality through ugly deeds.

          ‘The fundamental point is that it is an occupation. Accusing Israel of practising apartheid on the West Bank is inappropriate and irrelevant. The charge confuses and distracts. Occupation is wrong and evil in itself.’

          In other words, if these actions were perpetrated by a state in its sovereign territory, then yes, they could be considered apartheid. However, I’ve got a get-out-of-jail-free card, which is that it’s an occupation. Let’s just focus on that charge, and forget about the crime against humanity issue!

          If you, or Pogrund, want to make argument (a), then you need to persuade me that there is not separation in the Occupied Territories. Or if you want to make argument (b), you need to show me the basis in international for why Occupied Territories should be treated differently.

        • Troll Says:

          “The Syrian constitution, ratified in 1973, delineates the same rights, freedoms, and responsibilities for women as it does for men. Article 45 of the constitution declares, “The state guarantees women all the opportunities that enable them to participate fully and effectively in political, social, cultural, and economic life. The state works to remove the restrictions that prevent women’s development and their participation in building socialist Arab society.” Yet, no laws protect women in the event of gender-based discrimination, and no formal mechanisms exist through which women may complain to the government if they do encounter discrimination.

          The Syrian legal system derives from French civil law, Turkish law, and Shari’a (Islamic law). Although the constitution guarantees “full rights and opportunity” for all citizens, exceptions exist in the nationality code, the personal status code, and the penal code that do not afford women full and equal status as citizens. The personal status code, the body of laws regulating family relationships and inheritance, makes women legal dependents of their fathers or husbands and denies women status as full legal adults in matters of marriage, child custody, and divorce.

          The nationality code of 1969 prevents a woman from passing Syrian citizenship to her non-Syrian husband or to her children, a right that is enjoyed by Syrian men.

          Furthermore, in 1962, about 120,000 Kurds were stripped of their Syrian nationality. Along with their descendants, these Kurds remain stateless, a total of 275,000 to 290,000 people, unable to obtain a passport or, in many cases, any official identification documents. This serves to disrupt numerous daily-life activities for both Kurdish men and Kurdish women, such as the ability to travel, own property, attend school, and obtain employment.”

          “A state of emergency, imposed by the government the year the Ba’ath Party took power, remains in effect today. Since its inception, the government and security agencies have used the state of emergency to curtail all civil society activity and suspend constitutional rights to expression, peaceful assembly, and privacy, resulting in a pervasive atmosphere of fear that has only recently begun to subside.”

          “The government seized control of Jewish property in Syria on the basis of emergency legislation and gave it to Arab refugees. Thus, Palestinians were settled in Damascus’s Jewish ghetto, while the Alliance Israélite Universelle School, finished 1n 1939, became a school for Palestinian children. A diplomat at the French embassy in Damascus intervened with the Syrian authorities about this school and was told that the Syrian Jews had to provide room for the Arab refugees, the latter having been expelled by their Palestinian co-religionists.”

        • Philip Says:

          Troll, I’d love to read the full piece / book you’re quoting from. Can you link to it?

      • Absolute Observer Says:

        “In the meantime, your tendency to make stupid, idiotic little jibes that do no more than feed the ignorant shows that your claim to want to learn things along with your obsession with Israel’s apartheid is premised on nothing more than prejudice.”

        D’uh!!
        The guy’s a conspiracy theorists for God’s sake. What else do you expect!

        • Bill Says:

          And double d’uh, given his apriori dismissal of the Hukou system as an apartheid system without even bothering to see what it was (not to mention thinking, once again without even lowering himself to check, that it was an integrative system) is proof that he and so many like him have no interest in critically looking at apartheid as anything other than something with which to smear one country (since the alumn(s) who held the title no longer count). Heck, I am waiting for the day that someone comes out and says that South Africa was never really an apartheid state and the true country that deserves to hold the patent on the A-word is Israel.

        • Philip Says:

          As I said, I’m very open to learning more about it: ‘Does the Hokou System separate people either intentionally or in its effects along racial, ethnic or even religious lines? If so, then I would say it could well be apartheid. But I would need to know more facts. The Wikipedia entry appears to suggest that the separation is ‘social’. Do you have any other recommended reading on the topic?’

          https://engageonline.wordpress.com/2011/11/08/israel-and-the-apartheid-slander-judge-richard-goldstone/#comment-17714

    • Gil Says:

      Philip, the ‘rebuttal’ may or may not be ‘excellent’. The fact is that you hold a partisan view on the conflict and you have found an article which confirms your prejudices. Hence, you calling it ‘excellent’…

      And more substantively, Falk is furious that Goldstone has courage and intellectual honesty in his two articles so as to undermine Falk’s precious, vicious exercise in demonising Israel, the Russell Tribunal.
      I would take former SA Supreme Court Judge Goldsone’s views on what is Apartheid any day over Professor Falk’s.

    • Bill Says:

      And the irony of this report coming from a state that unapologetically practices open religious apartheid in which other religions must stay in the closet and, of course, is effectively free of Jews save for coalition service men and women, is totally lost on you. Your international Apartheid Denialism was on fine display the last time you were trying to press it where you bent over backwards to justify Syria, including saying how well Jews in Syria are treated — once they reduced them to what.. a manageable number (I believe the state department’s 2005 number was 80, not counting the ones in the closet who know their place)?

      This isn’t a tu quoque, it’s continued proof that either there is invisible Ink in the Rome definition of Apartheid that says it only applies to Jews, or that the application of the standard is so utterly and dishonestly applied to one country that it’s no different than saying, as I said before, that the only black businessman in town in a BMW must drive a 15 mph speed limit for matters of safety, while every cracker in a sheet can drive their pickups at speeds measured in warp factors. When asked why there is such a double standards people like you just shrug it off, say “oh heck, that’s just Billybob, you know how he is,” just as you did last time, and then feign bogus concern for traffic safety when children are around.

      • Philip Says:

        The point of your paragraph 1 is lost on me. Are you trying to argue that Syria is an apartheid state? For all its crimes, oppression of racial or religious minorities is not something that you could easily accuse the regime of. Or are you trying to argue that Syria expelled Jews, because that’s the first I’ve heard of it. However, I would probably best refer you to Brian Goldfarb’s words of wisdom above, about how plenty of countries have discrimination. I would imagine Syria fits that description in the discrimination stakes. A discussion about Syria probably isn’t appropriate on this forum. Follow me on Twitter and I’ll DM you, and we can discuss there, if you like.

        Paragraph 2 doesn’t really make much sense to me. However, if you’re saying that I only apply the apartheid nomenclature to Israel and the Occupied Territories, then you couldn’t be further from the truth. I also apply it to… Apartheid South Africa! And indeed, my current country of residence was also an apartheid state, leading to a brutal civil war lasting 14 years. Nowadays, it still lives with the legacy, but I wouldn’t say meets the apartheid definition. Do you disagree?

        • Bill Says:

          Just Israel and South Africa. Right. Not any of the other states that practice religious, ethnic, gender oppression that check off the Rome/73 lists. The others are “different” — just by a hair, carefully parted by their apologists or those who want the A word to only apply to one state so they can have at it and not have to worry about alienating supporters of these other regimes. Of course to the honest, looking at the signatories of the ’73 convention, the list of people who went behind the list include a number of people who likely parted their own hairs.

          Don’t you get it? Actually you do. Syria and the others are “discrimination” states, a new term, but not as dramatic as apartheid state and since everyone does it, it’s not as easy to call out since there is camaraderie among many of these regimes. And therefore there is little incentive to go after all of them when it’s so much easier to go after the only apartheid state against whom the fix was in as they were writing the “Apartheid ‘standard.'”

          Once again. Apartheid Denialism. Or as I said before. The only guy who ever gets stopped for speeding in a town whose roads are solid black from the skid marks is the black guy. But that’s ok. That’s the prerogative of law enforcement and the town attorney – not even the fair and impartial judge who can only hear cases that are brought before him (I mean what can he do, right?). And all the other motor scofflaws and car hoons are actually either just within the carefully written speeding ordinances (heck they wrote them themselves), or are guilty of other moving violations. You know, like failing to signal a u-turn when doing a 180 “drift” in rush hour traffic in a school zone — that’s different and not as dangerous as the car isn’t really moving all the much when it turns but it does make a nasty screechy noise in our quiet sleepy town and thus must be taken into account more seriously than speeding, but you now… that’s just Billybob again. And besides they are just holding the black guy up as “an example” since his place in the community as the only black guy in town says that he should be held to a higher standard And proof that this deterrence is working is seen by the fact that there are never any white speeders on the public record. And don’t you care about traffic safety? I mean, what about the children who are at threat from this lone black guy every single day when he gets behind the wheel — including the kid who got hit while our once perfect town’s worst traffic offender was standing before the judge in traffic court for the 10th time this year.

          You really don’t get it, do you. Or are you immune to satire.

          As for Syria or any other country that… ahem… “self selected out” their Jews (to use the ironic HR language that is a code word for successful pattern of discrimination). If over a short period of time, a workplace goes from their traditional M/F ratios in middle and upper management ranks to two ready to retire in a year anyway who will grin and bear an increasingly misogynistic work environment, what company that does that will have a snowballs chance in hell in a EEOC/RRA type hearing? Only the the ones where we’re really talking about Jews and countries and not women and the workplace.

          Starting to get it now?

        • Philip Says:

          Hm, I’m not really sure I can be accused of apartheid denialism. You haven’t yet presented any evidence of apartheid for me to comment on. (Unlike, for example, I did with the Falk article.) And I have given 3 examples, not two, of apartheid. Apartheid is a very serious charge, I wouldn’t expect it to be widespread. But I’m willing to consider any other cases that you believe meet the charge. Please present your case(s).

          As for Syria, as I said, better not to discuss here. Your example is ahistorical and misleading. Do DM me.

    • andrew halper Says:

      Excellent?! You’re joking. By the way, the Russell tribunal “jury” (so fulsomely lauded by the bizarre Professor Richard Falk in the article you cite) includes Cynthia McKinney, rabid anti-Semite and someone who appeared on Libyan state television to praise Col Gaddafi…..

      • Philip Says:

        Well, I can find plenty of people who have praised Gaddafi: Blair, La Clinton, etc., etc., etc. I take it you apply the same standards to them…, oh no, wait, they support Israel’s ‘forays’ into occupied territory and its ‘pre-emptive’ wars, and its bombardments of sovereign states. Silly me!

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          Maybe so, but you’re not calling them in (even by default) as proponents of the “Israel is an apartheid state”, whereas as you are with McKinney, et al.

  2. gary carp Says:

    Goldstone’s point is, and rightly made I think, the PA’s move is to have the UN acknowledge the exitence of a Palestinian state based on pre 1967 borders – and to do so wolud mean the signing of a real, final settlement treaty becoming almost impossible. Israel will never agree to the pre 1967 borders as they would redivide Jerusalem and create an undefendable territory. So the move is provocative and obstructive to material progress.

    And it is a deliberate provocation precisely because the PA want to kill the idea of a 2-state solution. The Palestinian position has always been thus. They rejected Resolution 242 back in 1967 because the premise for negotiating a settlement was between existing states in the region – and this would have precluded the creation of a Palestinian state. Whereas 30 years ago, the 2 state solution was the Palestinian and the far-left demand, it was only ever a trojan horse. As soon as Israeli popular and political opinion turned its mind to accept this,the desire fell away and the real agenda came to the fore.

    “Israel is an apartheid state” – this is a deliberate negotiation ploy – and the corollary is the Israeli “minority-oppressive regime” should stand aside and enable Palestinian majority rule. This statement only makes sense in the context of a one-state solution where the demography would see Israeli’s (jews) becoming a minority in a greater, united Palestine.

    Tragically, there can be no peace deal with the Palestinians. The don’t want peace – they wish to destroy the State of Israel. It’s that simple. We should never forget this. In the same way that liberal Weimar Germany failed to deal with the Nazis, and moderate people of good order wanted to belive the Nazis could be tamed and controlled – we risk underestimating our enemy and their patience and fortitude.

    Simple observation: If the Palestinians declared a unilateral end to violence tomorrow, all violence would end; If Israel declared a unilateral end to violonce tomorrow, Palestinian terrorism and suicide bombings would accelerate immediately.

    • David Kessler Says:

      Firstly, the UN could recognize Palestine without specifying the pre-67 boundaries, just as it recognizes Israel without specifying (except indirectly) which boundaries it recognizes. Secondly if Palestine is recognized as a state, that would actually give Israel greater (or at any rate clearer) legal latitude to retaliate against aggression from that state. It would make the Palestinian authority legally responsible for aggression from any territory of former Mandatory Palestine not under Israeli control.

      Furthermore, if Palestine were recognized in the pre-67 boundaries and they were to “accept” this, they would effectively have to renounce the right of “return” as Thomas Venner has pointed out.

      Finally, I share your pessimism regarding the ultimate aspirations of Palestinians. But we can only work with what we’ve got. We should try to win over their hearts and minds as best we can, without compromising essential security. Recognizing them as a people with a right to a state does not compromise essential security. Grinding them down with land expropriation and holding out no hope for them, gives them nowhere to turn and nothing to lose from the adoption of (or adherence to) an extremist position.

  3. Karl Pfeifer Says:

    The problem is that the Palestinian elite is not ready to tell their people, that there can be no right of return to Israel.
    A full membership in UN does not make a state out of a cleptocracy. Israel had before it was accepted by the UN already all the characteristics of a state. Hamastan and PA don’t have it.

  4. Noga Says:

    “It seems to me that this is a great way for the PA to effectively give Israel what it wants, including a de facto annulment of the Palestinian “right of return” to Israel (once they have their own state, they would have no real legal grounds for demanding a right of return to another state, ”

    Perhaps you need to listen more closely to what Palestinians are actually saying when they speak in Arabic:

    “The ambassador unequivocally says that Palestinian refugees would not become citizens of the sought for U.N.-recognized Palestinian state, an issue that has been much discussed. “They are Palestinians, that’s their identity,” he says. “But … they are not automatically citizens.”

    This would not only apply to refugees in countries such as Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and Jordan or the other 132 countries where Abdullah says Palestinians reside. Abdullah said that “even Palestinian refugees who are living in [refugee camps] inside the [Palestinian] state, they are still refugees. They will not be considered citizens.”

    Abdullah said that the new Palestinian state would “absolutely not” be issuing Palestinian passports to refugees.

    Neither this definitional status nor U.N. statehood, Abdullah says, would affect the eventual return of refugees to Palestine. “How the issue of the right of return will be solved I don’t know, it’s too early [to say], but it is a sacred right that has to be dealt with and solved [with] the acceptance of all.” He says statehood “will never affect the right of return for Palestinian refugees.”

    http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Politics/2011/Sep-15/148791-interview-refugees-will-not-be-citizens-of-new-state.ashx#axzz1dD9wGaTP

    • Thomas Venner Says:

      That’s what they say, because that’s what they have to say. To openly give up on the right of return would make them appear weak. What I’m saying is that this could be a way for them to push through a deal which gives Palestinians the foundations of their own state, then while everyone’s celebrating they can then say “oh, we’ve just realised, I suppose this means no more right of return to Israel – oh well”, and it won’t do too much damage to their government’s standing because they’ll already be on almost unassailable high ground.

      • Noga Says:

        And you think that Israel should act on this assumption you are making, that “while everyone’s celebrating they can then say “oh, we’ve just realised, I suppose this means no more right of return to Israel – oh well” ? Would you ever risk your own family’s future based on this kind of speculation?

        • David Kessler Says:

          Recognizing Palestine as a state (on paper) does not risk anyone’s future. Obviously giving up land depends on appropriate security arrangements. But recognizing the Palestinians as a nation in principle warms up the atmosphere of peace by showing respect for their dignity and encouraging mutual respect.

        • Thomas Venner Says:

          That’s not what I’m saying at all. International recognition of a Palestinian state would not leave Israel’s security in any worse condition than it is already. In fact, as many people have already pointed out, it would give the PA a much greater responsibility under international law to prevent further terrorist attacks from inside their national boundaries against Israel, because a refusal to do so would constitute an act of war against Israel on their part.

          Also, for the Palestinians, with recognition as a state comes responsibility for their own actions and their own future. It would place them in a stronger position to negotiate, but at the same time would compel them to do so, because, again, refusing to negotiate on issues such as Jerusalem would make them, as a sovereign state, as much an “occupying power” as they call Israel. On top of that, if a sovereign Palestinian state came into existence, Israel would then be under no obligation to provide their population with water, healthcare, maintenance of infrastructure, materiel for their security forces, funding to their state institutions and so on, changing Israel’s position from that of an occupying power with legal responsibilities to that of an unusually charitable neighbour maintaining those things out of goodwill, which would give Israel a pretty significant set of bargaining chips until the Palestinian state can build up its own autonomy.

          However skeptical you may be about the real motivations of the Palestinian Authority (which I believe to be the same old cynical self-interest as any other political body), recognition of an independent Palestinian state would be extremely unlikely to make the situation any worse for Israel than it is right now, and could potentially make things better in the long run.

        • Thomas Venner Says:

          My comment was direct at Noga, just to clarify.

      • Gil Says:

        ‘That’s what they say, because that’s what they have to say. To openly give up on the right of return would make them appear weak’.

        Well, that’s exactly what can be applied to Netanyahu’s positions, substituting the ‘right of return’ issue for…lets say…’secure borders’.

        Does Bibi not deserve the same benefit of the doubt? But your prejudice towards Bibi means that you choose to take his hawkish statements at face value and ignore all the statements he has made that actually are more moderate, including his UN and Bar Ilan speeches.

  5. Rangjan Says:

    I have been reading this blog and the comments on it for some time and it seems that there is not much interest in a just peace and looking at what that would entail. The focus is always on “defending” Israel against attack.

    The fact is that there are as many similarities as differences between Israel and apartheid South Africa and this is not an argument that “supporters” of Israel can win outright.

    • Bill Says:

      Rangjan,

      As David says, if you go into the proper borders of Israel, the Apartheid analogy dissolves quickly. In the territories, then any country that has a territorial dispute and is occupying hostile turf is an apartheid state. And that’s the problem. Using the formal definition of Apartheid, there are scores of apartheid states using ethnicity, race, religion and gender as explicit exclusionary criteria, or as an end result of another “self-selection” process, excluding them in practice. Ironically some of the worst of it happens in countries that are in Israel’s neighborhood and are also extremely hostile to it. Yet none of these countries (or any of the others in the world) are breaking a sweat when it comes to the A-word. Why? They know that the fix is in and no one is really interested in apartheid. It’s all about demonizing the only country where Jews don’t have to ask permission from their religious “betters” to be Jewish.

    • Thomas Venner Says:

      People can come up with a list of tenuous “similarities” between Israel and Apartheid as much as they like, it won’t make it the same thing. It could be argued that Britain has many of the same “similarities”, the USA even more so, but neither of them are “Aparthied states” in any recognisable sense.

      Let’s put it this way. Humans share a very significant proportion of their DNA with dolphins. However, they are not the specific things that make a dolphin a dolphin, and therefore we are not, by any stretch of the imagination, equivalent to dolphins.

    • Lynne T Says:

      Rangjan (and a few others here who believe that maybe Israel practices apartheid in the WB and “Arab parts of Jerusalem”):

      Did you bother reading the Goldstone op-ed — not only did he demonstrate that Israel doesn’t practice apartheid within its borders, it also doesn’t practice apartheid in the parts of the PA that it occupies, or in its embargo on the delivery of weaponry to Gaza. Please see the three paragraphs below:

      “In Israel, there is no apartheid. Nothing there comes close to the definition of apartheid under the 1998 Rome Statute: “Inhumane acts … committed in the context of an institutionalized 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.” Israeli Arabs — 20 percent of Israel’s population — vote, have political parties and representatives in the Knesset and occupy positions of acclaim, including on its Supreme Court. Arab patients lie alongside Jewish patients in Israeli hospitals, receiving identical treatment.

      To be sure, there is more de facto separation between Jewish and Arab populations than Israelis should accept. Much of it is chosen by the communities themselves. Some results from discrimination. But it is not apartheid, which consciously enshrines separation as an ideal. In Israel, equal rights are the law, the aspiration and the ideal; inequities are often successfully challenged in court.

      The situation in the West Bank is more complex. But here too there is no intent to maintain ‘an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group.’ This is a critical distinction, even if Israel acts oppressively toward Palestinians there. South Africa’s enforced racial separation was intended to permanently benefit the white minority, to the detriment of other races. By contrast, Israel has agreed in concept to the existence of a Palestinian state in Gaza and almost all of the West Bank, and is calling for the Palestinians to negotiate the parameters.”

  6. David Kessler Says:

    Are you talking about Israel in the territories or Israel in relation to its Arab citizens? If the former, there may be a case to answer. If the latter then I would challenge you to state the case. Such “similarities” between Israel and apartheid South Africa are related to security – e.g. Israeli Arabs are excluded from the army (except Bedouin career soldiers). OTOH Israel has two official languages (Hebrew and Arabic), Arabs can vote and are members of the Knesset (Israel even has proportional representation). Although religious control of marriage makes intermarriage harder, a Jew can always convert to Christianity or Islam to marry or can co-habit and enter into a legal contract. There are no “Jews only” restaurants, toilets, bus seats, cinema seats, etc. Arabs are to be found in positions at all ranks in all walks of civilian life.

    • Argaman Says:

      Bedouin aren’t the only Arabs serving in the IDF. Druze men also serve, and there are occasionally other Arabs who volunteer for the IDF.

      • David Kessler Says:

        You’re right. I wasn’t sure if Druze are technically Arabs. Also, there was a period (in the late seventies I think) when their leaders tried to discourage them from serving in the IDF. However, I now know that they not only serve as volunteers but (like the Bedouin) are quite formidable in combat and good allies to have on ones side.

  7. Comment is not free. Says:

    And while some focus on the ‘similarities’ others focus on the ‘differences’. It is not an argument that ‘detractors’ of Israel can win outright. It does not stop them, however, from repeating Israel=Apartheid South Africa over and over again.
    The fact of the matter is that Israel-Palestine is Israel-Palestine; it is not apartheid South Africa (nor is it, as some others have claimed, Nazi Germany). It is Israel-Palestine; its own unique situation, a situation that of course does not exclude is multiple injustices and conflicts.
    Apart from sheer the laziness of using aparthied analogy, its use by some is for the political traction of exclusion it brings with it; hence the need to force Israel and Palestine situation into a concept which it does not fit.
    It is but another strategy of demonisaton, deligitimation and, ultimately dissolution of the State of Israel.
    This being the case, one can see why on this question, people who do not think that a ‘just peace’ is synonomous with the dissolution of Israel appear from certain perspectives, as ‘defensive’.

  8. Gil Says:

    Rangjan, if I may be so bold as to suggest that you can’t have read that much of this blog. The focus of the blog is to campaign against antisemitism; the demonisation of Israel is one – possibly a major one – facet of this.

    There is no need to preface ‘peace’ with the word ‘just’ because that sounds like an attempt to qualify the concept of peace. For peace Israel has always gone the extra mile or in the case of its withdrawal from the Sinai desert many many miles of strategic depth including oil fields, towns and other assets.

    Israel is under attack and and it is under attack in a particular vicious manner by those who should no better but do nothing to combat the irrational haters in their midst. There is also well documented evidence of their double standards.

    Rangjan, there is no ‘Apartheid’ in Israel. Read former South African Supreme Court Judge Richard Goldstone’s article refuting this, and learn something.

  9. Gil Says:

    I meant to write ‘refuting the allegation of Apartheid’.

  10. Noga Says:

    to Rangjan:

    Did you endorse the Goldstone Report? Did you reject Goldstone’s volte face on Israel’s intrinsic criminality?

  11. Andy MacFarlane Says:

    I’d be interested in somebodies response to this article, which responds to Goldstone:

    http://www.salon.com/2011/11/09/goldstones_offensive_apartheid_apology/

    I can see problems with it, namely “He describes the current condition as a precursor for a future two states.”, which would appear to me to be an explicit rejection of the two state solution, in my view the only way peace can be achieved.

    I’d be interested in another view of this.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      Andy, this is an interesting article, and thanks for the link, because it gives me the opportunity to note that Udi Aloni focuses on the West Bank, for the most part, which all (who reject the apartheid analogy) agree is a different case from that within Israel. On the West Bank, there is occupation, discrimination and all sorts of problems. However, because this isn’t part of Israel proper (leave aside the question of the settlements for the moment: we can return to those if you wish to debate/discuss them), the question of apartheid doesn’t apply there; instead, very different rules apply (or should, if they don’t): those relating to how people in conquered/occupied territory are to be treated by the conquerors.

      Aloni actually (at least as far as a brief scan shows) produces only one example of discriminatory behaviour on a macro scale within “Green Line” Israel: that of housing in Lydda. You may or may not be aware that in the UK, back in the 1960s and into the 1970s, despite Race Relations legislation, many estate agents effectively “red-lined” areas in their locality. Property within those areas was not to be sold, or even made available to view, to members of ethnic minorities: strictly illegal, but still…How is this different from the treatment that Aloni alleges is/was carried out in Lydda?

      I find it significant that he refers to those citizens of Israel who are not Jews as Palestinians (I leave aside any small proportion who would not be designated thus by anyone, who may be of other ethnic/national identity), when most other people call them Arab-Israelis, to distinguish them from Jewish-Israelis. He also refers to what he calls, I believe, “face-saving” or “cosmetic” attempts at equality within Israel proper, and thus ignores that close to 20% of undergraduates in Israeli universities are Arab-Israelis, thus mirroring their proportion of the total population – and they are not in segregated institutions, but in Te; Aviv University, the Technion, etc. This says nothing of all those who note how there are no official, formal bars on rising to Cabinet Minister, University Professor, Supreme Court Judge…

      It has been noted many times in these columns that many western states, with much equality legislation on the books, still fail to live up to the standards laid down therein and thus discrimination and unequal treatment persists in such societies. Why single Israel out?

      Then, I find it interesting that the title of his book is: “What Does a Jew Want?: On Binationalism and Other Specters,” Columbia University Press. This suggests to me that he believes that the most just outcome would be a single, binational state between “the river and the sea”. His privilege, especially as an Israeli (which I am not), but many other, extremely sober, commentators see such an outcome as a precursor to a mass exodus of Jews (to where, no-one knows) or worse.

      I trust that this is a sufficient full answer for, you, Andy. If not, let me know via these columns, and I’l be happy to expand, subject to the moderator’s patience.

  12. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Rangjan, as Gil says above, you don’t appear to have followed the articles , comments and debates on these pages in any depth at all. Or maybe you read what you wanted to see. As well as reading the Goldstone article at the head of this comments thread carefully, you would be well advised to go to the top left-hand corner of any page and click on “About us”, in which you will learn the credo (so to speak) of the founders of this website, which is also, broadly, the philosophy of those who might be regarded as “Engageniks”. Having done that, you might also read the various comments on your comment closely, as well as the article by Benjamin Pogrund that I link to.

    If after all that, you still feel the same way, then why don’t _you_ write your own critique of Goldstone, Pogrund and anyone else who has offered a refutation of the “Israel is an apartheid state” claim. You will, I predict, find it very difficult to sustain a coherent, intellectually honest argument, with evidence, that convinces anyone not already convinced, that Israel is an apartheid state, certainly within Israel proper.

  13. Comment is not free. Says:

    Unfortunately, the Salon article does not ‘respond’ to Goldstein’s article on apartheid; or, rather, does not engage with the points made.
    But this is not the first time that people are talking across each other

    • Bill Says:

      Ah, CinF, but isn’t that the larger point? The apartheid smear *itself* doesn’t respond to what *apartheid* truly is. It’s a conversation killer, injecting inflammatory and emotional language to demonize the israelis. If Aloni and the rest were serious about apartheid, even if it meant equating it with state that occupies foreign territory, the list of apartheid states would be longer than we are told it is (namely just one country). And certainly if the lot of the “apartheid deniers” held other countries to the Rome standard in their own borders, the BDS movement would, ironically, find themselves on the gravy train for life with all of the true apartheid states out there needing their attention and “true and honest” sense of justice — except for the one they want to nail the most. But where’s the fun in that?

  14. Comment is not free Says:

    Brian
    I think that the point about Lydda was that it did receive judicial permission,
    There are also horrible laws denying Israeli citizens who marry husbands and wives living in the OPT residing with them back in Israel.
    It is also true that Israel is using planning laws that are detrimental (to say the least) to the Beduin population in the Negev.
    The point is that no matter how horrible these laws and judicial findings, it does not constitute apartheid as defined by the Treaty; and this is Goldstone’s point but which is evaded by Uri (hence, the talking past each other comment).
    And this is exactly the problem.
    By forcing Israel’s acts both in the OPT and the Green Line (and many Israel=apartheid proponents mirror the right’s view that they are indivisible) into the concept of “apartheid” (or the concept of “nazism” that some still use) is to leave what is going on in Israel and the OPT without a name. And without an appropriate name there is a corresponding lack of an appropriate politics (although to be fair, most Israelis do have an appropriate politics in combatting the rise of the religious and secular right/far right that is blighting Israel at the moment) and an appropriate remedy.
    “Apartheid” might be untilised in international debates to deligitimise Israel, but at the same time it serves to hide the originality (and difficutlies and injustices) that make the situation what it is. Once again, it is the Palestinians who are paying the price by the polemics and rhetoric of their ‘supporters’.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      Comment, I’m not sure that we are in any sort of disagreement here. My point is not that the Israeli government (or any local authority in Israel) never does anything wrong in regard with the treatment of Israeli citizens, irrespective of ethnicity, religion or any other identifying characteristic. Rather, it is that its behaviour is no different to that found in the UK, the US, France, Germany, etc. Yet, surprise, surprise, no one dubs these countries “apartheid states”, only Israel – and I refuse to repeat the arguments: they’re all over this site as well as this thread. On the other hand, no-one dubs the treatment of Romanies in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, et al, as “apartheid-like”, yet it is far more akin to such behaviour than is _any_ treatment of Arab-Israelis by local or national Israeli governments.

      It is, plainly, because of the ideology of those making the accusations that they are made, and have nothing to do with facts. Indeed, the behaviour of the local or national government and the courts in relation to the Lydda case could have been exemplary, in anyone’s terms, and we’d _still_ be in a “well, yes, but what _else_ have the Romans ever done for us?” situation (apologies to the Monty Python team and to “The Life of Brian”).

  15. Noga Says:

    Ruth Gavison, an Israeli jurist, provides some answers, from the perspective of universal rights.

    http://www.azure.org.il/article.php?id=239

  16. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    This reply is meant to go with Philip Blue’s reply to me of 17 November, some 40 comments above this one.

    “I don’t quite understand your argument.” Of course you don’t Philip, because to understand it would destroy your claims. So far, you have alleged that Israel is an apartheid state but produced no evidence except for an article written by an avowed anti-Zionist who praises Atzmon’s antisemitic book “The Wandering Who”, and who is in turn the Special Rapporteur for Palestine for the UN HRC, a body stuffed with a majority of states who breach every rule of human rights good practice, and is posted in an on-line journal which, in turn is avowedly anti-Zionist. You have also either ignored the content or the conclusions or both of the two major articles demonstrating that your assertions as to Israel and Apartheid are wrong.

    Further, you have obviously not read either of the latest links I posted, the one to Freedom House and the one to the UN Treaty, and probably not the third link either, because you give no indication of having done so, nor do comment on them in any way. Again, to do so would demand an actual answer, not tired repetition of old points that have been answered time and again. but still ignored by you.

    You’re getting boring Philip, with your refusal to engage (absolutely no pun intended) with those who attempt to engage with you. It is so nice of you to concede that Syria might, perhaps, “be guilty of many crimes against humanity, such as torture, enforced disappearance, and possibly even war crimes”, but, of course not apartheid, because you refuse to believe that it discriminates, with state intent, against non-Moslems within its borders. You will plainly continue to believe this because your ideology won’t allow you to do anything else.

    And you either repeat the points I’ve already made and/or answered with mock furrowed brow: I “have clearly misread what [you] wrote.” No I haven’t, but, as I’ve already said in this comment, you cannot afford to acknowledge what is actually written.

    Then, after Troll’s comment, you have the cast iron nerve to write: “Troll, I’d love to read the full piece / book you’re quoting from. Can you link to it?” You didn’t link to the Al Jazeera piece when you quoted from it back up this thread, yet you expect every one to bow to you. Why don’t you just respond to Troll? Because you can’t.

  17. Philip Says:

    I really don’t know where to start with this. Perhaps paragraph by paragraph again.

    Paragraph 1: explains what you are replying to.

    Paragraph 2: you have now fully changed tack. Instead of dealing with any of the specific items listen in the case I presented above (here: https://engageonline.wordpress.com/2011/11/08/israel-and-the-apartheid-slander-judge-richard-goldstone/#comment-17671), you instead turn to trying to discredit the witness. This is, of course, not an argument, and doesn’t really merit response. Rebut the specific points and then we can make progress. You also write: ‘You have also either ignored the content or the conclusions or both of the two major articles demonstrating that your assertions as to Israel and Apartheid are wrong.’ No, I didn’t ignore the conclusions. I disagreed with them. The content I quoted at length, so to say I ignored it is obviously wrong. Trial by link is doubtless a fun pastime for you, but arguments and rebuttal are the more academic route.

    Paragraph 3: you say I haven’t looked at Freedom House. I have not at any stage said that Israel is ‘worse’ than any other state in its human rights record. Human rights and crimes against humanity are not on some sliding scale with gang rape at one end and apartheid at the other. These crimes are qualitatively different. You are thinking in a linear manner which is not appropriate in law.

    Paragraph 4: mostly irrelevant. I should note however, that ‘Moslem’ is a poor transliteration of the Arabic, and that that spelling is mostly only used by 19th century writers.

    Paragraph 5: that’s your opinion. I have quoted at length to demonstrate otherwise. You appear to be squirming. For example, when I demonstrated that I had never argued that Goldstone made argument (b) as you clearly claimed, that made it quite clear that you had misread. So did your ‘presumably’ comment above, about Al Jazeera.

    Paragraph 6: Troll turned from a serial spammer into an impolite interlocutor. In any case, he / she has quoted large chunks of text without referencing them. Surely in your sociology classes you wouldn’t allow uncited quotations? They certainly wouldn’t at Princeton.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      Philip, this is not a response, this is a repetition of the points you have made before in this thread, with yet more patronising of me (“Surely in your sociology classes you wouldn’t allow uncited quotations? They certainly wouldn’t at Princeton.” Leaving aside your practice of doing just this – producing uncited quotations – this is neither clever nor funny, just peurile and actually demeans the patroniser, not the patronised). Until you start actually responding to the points made to you and showing evidence of having considered the content of the links provided in the various responses, there is absolutely no point in repeating what has already been said.

      After all, you haven’t shown any sign of being either willing (let alone able) to produce a considered response to us. Someone as clever and smart as you clearly consider yourself to be, and on occasion actually show yourself to be, should be able to that without too much effort.

      Now that’s patronising.

      • Philip Says:

        I’ve come to the conclusion that you aren’t really making any points at all. Every time I try to address one of any of them you either change the subject, shift to make a different argument, or return to the same old ‘evidence my dear boy’ bluster.

        In this thread I have not introduced a single uncited quotation. If you disagree, please copy the comment link or tell me the time and date.

        As far as I can tell, you have made two substantive points: (1) that the West Bank and East Jerusalem cannot count as examples of apartheid because they are occupied territories and occupied territories are counted differently from other territories. (2) That Israel is much better in human rights terms than any other country in the middle east, and no worse than most European countries (involving putting crimes against humanity on a linear scale, rather than a composite variable). You haven’t once discussed settler only communities, settler only roads, settler only buses, settler only privileges for going through the wall. And on and on. These were the substance of the claims I quoted here: https://engageonline.wordpress.com/2011/11/08/israel-and-the-apartheid-slander-judge-richard-goldstone/#comment-17671. Not a peep.

        I made an attempt to understand and analyse the arguments being made (here: https://engageonline.wordpress.com/2011/11/08/israel-and-the-apartheid-slander-judge-richard-goldstone/#comment-17679). You responded to me telling me that I had mis-characterised you, and when I tried to clarify, you then refused to answer, moving on to trying to accuse Richard Falk of bias, which may or may not be true, but doesn’t really affect the arguments he made.

        So, I would dearly love to move on in this discussion, and actually get a response from you that addresses the points I’ve made.

        • David Kessler Says:

          Philip you seem to have missed the point that much of this “Settler only” restriction is based on genuine security needs. I know you have made the point that security can be used as an excuse. But the other side of the coin is that it can also be genuine. The fact is that Palestinian terrorists HAVE murdered Jews, both in Israel (hence the wall) and in the territories. It is only right and proper that Israel should take action to minimize this sort of thing.

          It is true that you have also argued that the problem wouldn’t arise if there were no settlement – and you have argued that settlement is illegal. But again this is an oversimplification. Firstly there WERE Jews living in Judea and Samaria as well as the eastern parts of the one city of Jerusalem PRIOR to the occupation of those places by the modern Arabs (specifically the Jordanians). Secondly, the “law” against civilian settlement is not really a law (inasmuch as there is no democratically elected law-making body for the world as a whole) but at best merely custom and practice. Thirdly many entire countries have been populated by settlers. Fourthly, the spread of Islam and Arabic culture was itself the result of occupation. Finally as the ownership of the territory is in dispute (Jordan, Palestine, Israel) there is no clear-cut reason why Jews should not live there – just as there are many Arabs living in Israel.

        • Philip Says:

          David, I take your points. On the security question, I agree that Israel should protect its citizens. That leaves open still huge question of what means of doing this are right and proper. Instituting segregation is not, in my opinion, the right and proper way to do this. And nor is putting its citizens at risk by subsidising them to live in the West Bank, a right and proper or responsible thing for a government to do.

          I take all your other points. Sure, there were Jewish folks in the West Bank. That’s different from the settlement programme. International law is customary, you’re quite right. I actually think the way it builds up through custom over a long period of time is actually a strength rather than a weakness. The third argument is true. But to try to gain moral equivalence with the settlement of the USA or Australia is not an accolade I would like. And finally, how far back should we go to settle the dispute? Should we reinstate the Caananites? No, we have to take it from where we are now, and that means a just solution in which Arabs and Israelis share the land, whether it’s 1 state, 2 states, 20 states or whatever.

        • David Kessler Says:

          Philip, when I mentioned the spread of Islam through occupation, I was not trying to suggest that we should turn the clock back. Quite the contrary, we must live in the present. Most of the boundaries that exist today are the legacy of past wars and battles, with the winners getting to write the rule book. That is the harsh reality of the world in which we live.

          I also agree that we must distinguish between Jews living in the territories and the settlements as a political program. When I was living in Israel I was actually against the settlements. I remember in 1974 an old school friend of mine trying to persuade me to sign a petition against giving back the territories. (There was no plan on the table to give them up.) I refused then and I have remained steadfast in that. (Although I regard east Jerusalem as a special case for reasons to complicated and detailed to go into).

          I personally would like to see a halt to settlement, followed by the development and population of the Negev and the offering of incentives to relocate to the economic settlers. It could then be made clear to the religio-nationalists that if an agreement to withdraw is achieved with the PA then they (the settlers) will not be allowed to hold the rest of Israel to ransom.

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          “In this thread I have not introduced a single uncited quotation. If you disagree, please copy the comment link or tell me the time and date.”

          “Philip Says:
          November 14, 2011 at 1:05 pm
          ‘The overwhelming evidence of systematic discrimination is impossible to overlook in any objective description of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, and to a lesser degree East Jerusalem. The pattern of establishing settlements for Israelis throughout the West Bank not only violates the prohibition in international humanitarian law against transferring members of the occupying population to an occupied territory. It also creates the operational justifications for the establishment of a legal regime of separation and subjugation.

          ‘From this settlement phenomenon follows an Israeli community protected by Israeli security forces, provided at great expense with a network of settler-only roads, enjoying Israeli constitutional protection, and given direct unregulated access to Israel. What also follows is a Palestinian community subject to often abusive military administration without the protection of effective rights, living with great daily difficulty due to many burdensome restrictions on mobility, and subject to an array of humiliating and dangerous conditions that include frequent Israeli use of arbitrary and excessive force, house demolitions, nighttime arrests and detentions that subjects Palestinians as a whole to a lifetime of acute human insecurity.

          ‘The contrast of these two sets of conditions, translated into operative legal regimes, for two peoples living side-by-side makes the allegations of apartheid seem persuasive, and if a slander is present then it is attributed to those who, like Goldstone, seek to defame and discredit the Russell Tribunal’s heroic attempt to challenge the scandal of silence that has allowed Israel to perpetrate injustice without accountability.’”

          Does that satisfy your criteria of pointing out your misstatement?

          When I suggested that I presumed it came from a particular source, you promptly patronised me, as you do in your comment immediately above above, which I haven’t bothered to read in full or any detail, because it isn’t worth it. A rapid scan indicates that you merely repeat your earlier non-arguments, as well as indulging in patronising behaviour. Given that, stop com[plaining when others do to you what you have previously done to them.

          Until you can live by the rules you demand others follow and avoid patronising them (and me in particular), you are not worth responding to. This includes actually responding to the points made to you, instead of repeating yourself, without evidence and ignoring the evidence others place before you, or, worse, distorting it. And yes, evidence, properly presented, sourced and argued is of the greatest importance. This you signally and continuously fail to do.

        • Philip Says:

          Brian, why did you cut your copy and paste job so as not to include the following immediately preceding sentence? ‘You say I’m not interested in discussing specifics. Well, actually, had you read the article I linked to, you would have seen the following case for why the apartheid label is appropriate: [quotation follows]’

          I’d say that’s a pretty clear citation.

          I have quite clearly spelled out arguments and responses to yours on a few occasions now. You in turn choose respond with bizarre missives accusing me of repeating myself. Well, yes, I am repeating my arguments because (a) they respond to yours, which is exactly what you are asking me to do, and (b) they are making points to which you have so far not responded.

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          Then why do you deny it when others do the same? And/or misconstrue what they say, and then refuse to respond directly to their points, but spend your time demanding that others _do_ respond to what _you_ say? Further, you have shown no indication of having read the links supplied by others (including me), and then have the gall to complain that others appear not to have read the articles you link to.

          When you respond as requested, I will respond as requested to you. Until then…

      • Philip Says:

        Brian, you linked to Pogrund. I quoted at length from the Pogrund piece to demonstrate what his argument was, and then came to a different conclusion. (By the way, it is valid for me to reach different conclusions. Just because you supply a link does not mean that the argument is over.)

        You linked to Freedom House. I agreed with you that Israel was not the least free state in the Middle East and that plenty of others have worse human rights records and less freedom.

        You linked to the Rome Statute of the ICC. I used the statute to show how I believed that some states were violating them (referring to different kinds of crime against humanity and war crimes) and to show how the crimes of different states are qualitatively different. That is, one state can be guilty of one crime and not another. And vice versa.

        All of this is fairly extensive evidence that I read your links. You on the other hand clearly did not read the Falk piece I linked to because you were bamboozled when I quoted some of it.

        I then tried to summarise your argument back to you. You simply responded by telling me that I was mis-representing you. No attempt to reiterate, rephrase or restate. Just prickly comments and insults.

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          “Just prickly comments and insults.” Pot, kettle and black are the words that come to mind here. You are the one who started with the insults, let alone the prickly comments. I merely, eventually, after several examples by you, responded in kind (perhaps wrongly: it therefore justified your continued rudeness). “Do unto others…” is one phrase that comes to mind and “people who live in glass houses…” is another, neither of which appear to be in your lexicon.

          Can we have some evidence, I ask again, not repeated assertion of previous points and a failure to respond to definite points made to you. Do that, and there might be the possibility of a conversation between us. I am not, however, going to rise to the sort of bait you prefer to offer, with your continued patronising and, indeed, outright rudeness towards me.

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          Oh, and by the way, I did read the Falk article and I did comment on it (more than once). If you refuse to acknowledge this, or wish to overlook this and pretend that I didn’t, that’s your problem, not mine, and I’m not going to waste my time repeating comments which you refuse (or prefer not) to acknowledge.

  18. David Kessler Says:

    “Syria is not the kind of country to computerise its land registry,”

    I realize. But putting aside my request for verifiable proof can you put your hand on your heart and honestly say that you know at least one Jew who owns property or who owned property before leaving Syria? And can you at least name the person and say where he/she lives now.

    “.. you may not be aware that it has a socialist government, forms of which around the world tend to do a great disservice to a great many people…”

    Yes know all about socialism. I’m ashamed to say that I used to be a socialist myself before I grew up. However I suspect that it will soon have an Islamic government.

    “The Jews I met there did not mention to me restrictions on property ownership, but then again, I didn’t ask.”

    I had a similar experience with Palestinians in the occupied territories regarding alleged Israeli oppression.

    “Qamishli is a predominantly Kurdish city in the northeast of Syria. It has a big UN presence, mostly dealing with Iraqi refugees (from that good old war that AIPAC kindly cheerled for).”

    I didn’t know that AIPAC cheerled for a war against the Kurds. I must have missed that. I know that Israel has tried to stay on the right side of Turkey (until recently) to avoid making any more enemies than necessary. But I’m wondering who was it who attacked the Kurds and made them refugees? I thought that was Sadam Hussein. Did AIPAC didn’t cheer him on? I must have missed that too.

    “If you have evidence of abuses against Jews (and indeed, I was unaware that there was still a Jewish community there) then I’d genuinely be interested to hear / read about them.”

    As I said, this was what I was told by a Syrian Jew. the community was about 400-strong. They may no longer be there. Maybe if you are a regular visitor to the area you could talk to the Jews there and ask them some of the questions that you omitted to ask the last time. if you can convince them that you are not an agent provocateur, they might answer you. or maybe ask some of the UN people.


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