Dismantling Israeli Apartheid
For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.—Nelson Mandela
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Israel is ruled nowadays by the same regime that held such close relations with the apartheid state without any scruples. The Israeli administration never retracted its relations with the racist South African regime. This first point is just loose change when compared to the second. Looking at the definition of “apartheid” and at the reality in Israel leaves no place for a reasonable doubt: the Israeli discrimination against non-Jewish citizens and denizens living in territories occupied by it, matches one-to-one South African Apartheid.
Racial segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups; South Africa did that in several ways. The Population Registration Act of 1950 classified denizens into four racial groups: "black", "white", "colored", and "Indian." The racial identities appeared on their identification cards. The Group Areas Act assigned in the same year different residential regions to different races. In 1953, the Reservation of Separate Amenities Act assigned separated areas to different races in public institutions like hospitals, universities and parks. In that year the Bantu Education Act, which segregated education, was also passed. What distinguishes South African racism is the regime's fastidiousness with the law. They legislated every tiny aspect of the Apartheid, thinking that this whitewashed their crimes. This is the main difference from Israel.
The assessment that Israel is a racist country is not mine in origin. On November 10, 1975, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 3379, which ends with an undying truth: “…which most severely condemned Zionism as a threat to world peace and security and called upon all countries to oppose this racist and imperialist ideology, determines that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.” Another important text appearing in this resolution is: “international co-operation and peace require the achievement of national liberation and independence, the elimination of colonialism and neo-colonialism, foreign occupation, Zionism, apartheid and racial discrimination in all its forms,…” Almost 35 years later—on October 16, 2009—the same United Nations adopted The Goldstone Report, which condemned Israel on its brutal attack on Gaza. The report defines Israel as a terror-inflicting organization (Article 1690 and others, download here the full text). The brutality of the events described therein—including the illegal bombing of civilians within a hospital with white phosphorous—leaves no place for doubt: despite the cancelation of Resolution 3379 (a blackmailing precondition for the Madrid Conference, see Zion, Sex and Resolution 3379 and White September) Israel didn’t change its attitude. Israel would not have attacked West Bank settlers with white phosphorous, even if they had been persecuting them. Gaza is entirely populated by Palestinians—Jewish Settlements there were dismantled in 2005—and the attack on them had clear racist implications: since the 19th century Zionism silently performs ethnic cleansing. Racism in Israel is as extreme as the South African was, but is slightly different in its machinery.
Compared to South Africa, the Israeli Administration has an easy task. Israel has no constitution; its government can legislate through the Knesset whatever law it wishes. In the 1990s, Israel’s parliament began to create Basic Laws (note the noncasual similarity with The Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany, expecting them to became the basis for a future constitution. The effort failed. First, they have proven to be easily changeable whenever the largest party wishes to do so. Second, they were never ratified by the citizens. Third, they are incomplete because they ignore Human Rights issues. Moreover, they are often manipulated against basic rights, as the Jewish Fatherland Law has recently proven.
Since the constitutional legislative level is missing, the Israeli Administration can adopt racist procedures without the need to care about human rights. South Africa formally divided people into four races. Israeli never did that. However, its IDs clearly identify one’s ethnic group and religion, as decided by the Ministry of Interior (see The Cross of Bethlehem). This has deep implications in daily life, specifically regarding the rights and debts one has towards the state.
The Israeli parallel to the South African Group Areas Act is equally quiet. Ethnic and religious groups live in separated area. Formally, the administration claims that there are “mixed cities,” citing Jerusalem, Haifa, Jaffa, Ramle and Lod. In fact, all these feature exclusive neighborhoods; looking at this level, racism is exposed. It can’t be claimed this is done willingly by the people. Recently I reported on Tzfat’s rabbi—a government official—who violently made sure Palestinians renting houses in his town would be evicted. Moreover, in Israel: End of a Dream, I analyzed how this is done through economic means by manipulation of the property values. Moreover, academic studies on the institutional discrimination among Jewish groups are readily available.
Finally, Israel doesn’t need the related Reservation of Separate Amenities Act; Palestinians would not dare entering a Jewish shopping mall, and not only due to the bag checks at the entrance. Ending the comparison to South Africa, is the Bantu Education Act. Israel doesn’t need it. In November 2002, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics claimed that Arabs comprised approximately 7% of all students at Israeli universities. The semantics are misleading. The term “Arab” as used here refers mainly to Palestinian citizens of Israel. Yet, it includes also other minorities like Druze and Circassians who serve in the IDF and thus get preference in university studies. Even taking this factor into account the discrimination is evident: “Arabs”—as defined by the abovementioned bureau—form 20% of the population. This analysis also ignores the quality factor; Arabs have little chance to enter elite faculties and institutions. While I was there, the Weizmann Institute of Science had only one Palestinian student; a Sabbath-Goy placed there to silence any claims of discrimination. Overall, the situation in Israel and Apartheid South Africa is similar on the ground, despite minor legal differences.
Beyond South Africa
No government is above the basic principles of law; equality among people cannot be conditioned. In The Red Lily, Anatole France wrote: “In its majestic equality the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.” Yet, the Israeli Supreme Court constantly violates that while systematically nullifying marriages between Palestinians with Israeli citizenship and those living in the West Bank (1264 New Testimonies). This is a repelling example of Israeli discrimination; yet, it is not the worst example.
Israel operates according to Criminal Law, also known as Penal Law, the law pertaining to crimes and punishment. These laws regulate the definition of offences and impose punishments on them. However, the law does not impose restrictions on society that physically prevents people from committing a crime in the first place. Yet, Israel often performs “preventive arrests,” as reported in Minority Report: IDF arrests Palestinian prisoner released in Shalit swap. No state official can claim precognition powers; nobody can restrain someone else for the unproven probability that he may commit a crime. This violation is performed exclusively against minorities. Jewish citizens get preferential treatment in the opposite direction. On September 27, 2012, Israel recently deleted a $360 million debt owed by one of its richest citizens, Yitzhak Tshuva, owner of Delek, an Energy conglomerate. Judge Varda Alsheikh, after denouncing Mr. Tshuva’s crimes, acquitted him, claiming “Delek is a very stable company and is under the protection of one of society’s richest men.” It is safe to claim that Israel in 2012 is far beyond the racial discrimination seen in South Africa's apartheid regime.
Considering these factors, the actual regime cannot be accepted. This is even before considering the issue of its intrinsic legitimacy (see Is Israel Sovereign?). Practically all segments of the population agree with that, the protests seen in recent years, including the Jewish social protests, show that the willness of the people to accept the actual horror is diminishing. The early elections recently summoned by Netanyahu are a result of this instability. Yet, even Netanyahu understands that the elections won’t solve the problems. Without a just system, in which all citizens are equal and one that it is obeyed and not abused by the administration, there is no chance for peace being achieved. Netanyahu and all Zionist leaders are trapped in their belligerent and discriminatory rhetoric; they cannot bring justice and peace. The card played by Israel is clear: “Divide and Conquer.” Until now, the protests have achieved nothing because they are segmented on ethnic and religious groups. That was the situation in South Africa, until things changed.
Things were sped up in South Africa due to international economic sanctions. This is not happening on the same scale against Israel, though the beginning of such a process exists already even in Western countries. Yet, the sanctions were not the cause for the collapse of the apartheid. Most South Africans lived in extreme poverty and were oblivious to them. What brought the change was the grassroots violence that couldn’t be controlled even by the leaders—Nelson Mandela and Mangosuthu Buthelezi—attempting to bring a change. The massacres and violence experienced by the South African people in the early 1990s matches the one seen nowadays in Israel, even in the segmentation of the people. Yet, any attempt by Israeli citizens—Israelis and Palestinians—to bring a violent end to their abuse by the Zionist regime is bound to fail. The USA is a crucial ally of Israel. Even if the IDF reservists refused en masse to squash the protests, the American Sixth Fleet is nearby and ready. NATO warehouses await them on land. Any attempt to a violent revolution would be ended as brutally as in Syria.
The South African violence, eventually forced an agreement for elections in 1994. These elections validated the Interim Constitution, which became the fundamental law of South Africa until it was superseded by the final constitution in February 1997. This document defined the newly-elected Parliament as a constituent assembly to adopt a final constitution; it abolished apartheid, and introduced a bill of rights and a Constitutional Court to enforce it. Again, the similarities with the situation in Israel are astonishing. This is exactly what Israel needs now in order to become an acceptable country. Eventually, if the country survives, an almost copycat scenario will take place. The various protest groups will begin consolidating; despite Israeli ignorance on the faults of their legal system (this topic is avoided in Israeli schools), it won’t take long until South Africa becomes an acceptable model of change. Netanyahu may be owned by a rich oligarchy, but sovereignty belongs to the people. No amount of money, institutional abuse, and evil intentions can defeat Justice forever.
It always seems impossible until its done.—Nelson Mandela
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