Israel and Apartheid SA- Similarities/Differences

Today’s Guardian has the first part of a two-part commentary on similarities between Israel and Apartheid South Africa. It starts with a description of the civil rights violations of one Arab person born in Jerusalem:

"Said Rhateb was born in 1972, five years after Israeli soldiers fought their way through East Jerusalem and claimed his family’s dry, rock-strewn plot as part of what the Jewish state proclaimed its “eternal and indivisible capital”. The bureaucrats followed in the army’s footsteps, registering and measuring Israel’s largest annexation of territory since its victory over the Arab armies in the 1948 war of independence. They cast an eye over the Rhateb family’s village of Beit Hanina and its lands, a short drive from the biblical city on the hill, and decided the outer limits of this new Jerusalem. The Israelis drew a line on a map - a new city boundary - between Beit Hanina’s lands and most of its homes. The olive groves and orchards were to be part of Jerusalem; the village was to remain in the West Bank.

"The population was not so neatly divided. Arabs in the area were registered as living in the village - even those, like Rhateb’s parents, whose homes were inside what was now defined as Jerusalem. In time, the Israelis gave the Rhatebs identity cards that classified them as residents of the West Bank, under military occupation. When Said Rhateb was born, he too was listed as living outside the city’s boundaries. His parents thought little of it as they moved freely across the invisible line drawn by the Israelis, shopping and praying inside the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City.

"Four decades later, the increasingly complex world of Israel’s system of classification deems Said Rhateb to be a resident of the West Bank - somewhere he has never lived - and an illegal alien for living in the home in which he was born, inside the Jerusalem boundary. Jerusalem’s council forces Rhateb to pay substantial property taxes on his house but that does not give him the right to live in it, and he is periodically arrested for doing so. Rhateb’s children have been thrown out of their Jerusalem school, he cannot register a car in his name - or rather he can, but only one with Palestinian number plates, which means he cannot drive it to his home because only Israeli-registered cars are allowed within Jerusalem - and he needs a pass to visit the centre of the city. The army grants him about four a year.

“There is more. If Rhateb is not legally resident in his own home, then he is defined as an “absentee” who has abandoned his property. Under Israeli law, it now belongs to the state or, more particularly, its Jewish citizens. “They sent papers that said we cannot sell the land or develop it because we do not own the land. It belongs to the state,” he says. “Any time they want to confiscate it, they can, because they say we are absentees even though we are living in the house. That’s what forced my older brother and three sisters to live in the US. They couldn’t bear the harassment.””

The whole article is here:

How can this particular case be allowed to happen in a modern democratic state?

How does this article’s comparison between the lives of Black Africans in Apartheid SA compare with the current lives of Arabs in Israel stand up to reasoned analysis?

I would say that on the broader socio-political issues, Israel is not to be compared with Apartheid South Africa, but from the individual micro perspective, individuals in both societies suffer many of the same types of negative treatment and dehumanization.

will read article in a bit, but one difference, I think, is that although SA carried out multiple massacres in support of its policies, I am unaware of a routine use of helicopter gunships and the launch of missiles into apartment houses by the afrikaners…

There are similarities. Israel however has been guilty of excesses in trying to defend itself, while the South African regime was guilty of excesses simply to keep a white elite in power and to keep blacks powerless.

Also, in Israel arabs can vote and hold political office and there are arabs in the Knesset.

Same way we hear, every so often, about someone, someplace, who has to go to great length in order to prove, paraphrasing Mark Twain, that “rumors of [their] demise are greatly exagerated.”
While I have plenty of criticism for my own governments’* handling of the whole political and humanitarian situation vis-a-vis many of the Palestinians, this particular case smacks more of a standard bureaucratic snafu than a case of malice, let alone premeditated apartheid.

*Apostrophe in the correct position. More than one government… :frowning:

All the helicopters were kept busy battling the border insurgency. Instead, they’d ride around in APCs and shoot people from them. Routinely. Several prominent activists in neighbouring states were attacked by assassination - letter bombs, car bombs, there were even air raids, yes.

From that article, assuming it gives a full picture, the parallels are close, but not exact. I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to call Israel an “apartheid state”. There’s a clear policy of seperate and unequal. Still, there is opportunity for Israeli palestinians to take part in political life. My opinion is “Clearly an apartheid state, but not nearly as bad as South Africa circa 1985”

In case it isn’t clear, I was a victim of apartheid. Not that gives me any special right to speak about Israel, I’m going entirely by what that article says.

sigh You do realize that there are two very different groups of Arabs living under Israeli control? Those who live within the “Green Line” + the annexed area around Jerusalem, and are full citizens – absolutely equal before law (if perhaps, unfortunately, sometimes victims of prejudice – a lot like minorities in th U.S.); and those who live in the Occupied Territories, who are not Israeli citizens. The case above is one of a particular person, who was apparently registered, due to a bureaucratic error, as living outside the newly annexed area around Jerusalem, but who, in fact, should have been recognized as living inside that area (and should have been recognized as a citizen and a resident of the city.)

Still should have been resolved years ago, but not Apartheid. These kinds of administrative fuck-ups happen to all kinds of people, all over the world, all the time – yes, even to Jewish citizens of Israel sometimes…

My understanding is that it is easier, as a matter of law, for the Jewish relatives of Israelis to immigrate.

Look, I think that condescending attitude that drips from your post belongs in the Pit. Take your mock-sighs there, please.

Yes, I “do” realise that there are two classes of Israeli arabs- the SA govt. tried that same tactic of declaring most Blacks residents of their own “homelands”, therefore “not citizens”. It wasn’t any less transparent here, either.

But that wasn’t the basis for my observation. It’s clear from that article that at any rate Israeli arabs are discriminated against. The actual full article was about more than just this one guy’s case. There are issues of land use and planning that stirred echoes of Group Areas and Forced Removals, some of the most painful reminders of Apartheid.

Did you read the whole thing? I did. To pass it off as just an error of beuracracy is naive at best. Tell me where that article got its facts wrong, rather than treat me like an idiot, if you please.

So I used google: Israel “equal rights” jews arabs.

This site also remarks on legal inequality as follows:

Comments? Refutations?

Sorry. I honestly thought you may well be unaware of the distinction (as are very, very many people in the world); and I admit I should have simmered down before writing, and it came out smacking of condescension. All I can say is that I did not intend to be condescending, and that I apologize.

Yes, I read the whole thing. Most of it deals with the situation in Jerusalem; a small bit speaks of discrimination against Israeli Arabs; and none of it – with one exception I will immediately address – even claims that Israeli Arabs are not equal under law. The exception was the land-owning rule; this was overturned a few years ago in a case of an Arab who wished to live in a village build on some “Jewish” lands and was denied. He won the case, is now living in the village (Hermesh), and that particular law was ruled unconstitutional .

(As an aside – gee, wonder why the *Guardian *didn’t bother mentioning that? :rolleyes: And yes, I am pointing at the Guardian and calling them Anti-Israeli)

Now, I am not denying that discrimination against Israeli Arabs exist. Much as I am sure many Americans will concede that discrimination against Blacks still exists in the U.S. As I have already acknowledged:

Neither is excusable, but they are not part of the legal system, either.

… and once more, I’d like to apologize for my previous ill-worded response. Please accept that I do not think you are an idiot, nor feel that you merit condescension.

Thanks for that, I appreciate it.

As to the rest, pointing out what the Guardian left out is a better way of going about things. That’s also appreciated.

I think where we are getting hung up is on what we’d consider “apartheid” - you seem to be focusing on the apartheid that’s on the books, and seeing no hardcoded discrimination, conclude that the analogy is false.

I, on the other hand, see the stated disparity between Israeli Jews and Arabs, in terms of development planning, government funding etc, and it all looks so familiar to me. For instance, if there’s no discrimination, why is there a need to mark “nationality” on ID cards? Here, we stopped that in 1992…

I’m just remembering this is the second thread where you and I have come close to flamage, Noone. And both times we managed to not do so, in a fairly civilized fashion. Last time being more my fault, I reckon.

Better discourse even when we disagree. I like that!

Also(My last consecutive post, I promise), I worry that the parallel “Israel’s Right To Exist” thread may be partly responsible for the heated feelings?

Let me say I have no issue with Israel’s right to exist, nor do I equate Zionists with Nazis or other Fascists. One of my best friends served his time in the IDF, and now he’s here fighting fires.

I just wish Israel would treat its minorities better, is all. This goes hand in hand with wishing said minorities would stop blowing themselves and their fellow Israelis up.

Categorically untrue. This is not a bureaucratic fuck-up, this is a deliberate attempt to drive Palestinians out of Jerusalem and Israel itself. What happened to Said Rhateb has happened to thousands of Palestinians, and attempts to characterize these kinds of Israeli policies as minor bureaucratic oversights is a whitewash.

And for the record, treatment of Palestinians in Israel proper is in no way comparable to the discrimination that minorities face in the United States. Minorities in the States have a battery of enforced and enforceable law at their disposal that they can have recourse to whenever their discriminated against – in housing, education, hiring, the works. In the U.S., it would be inconceivable, for example, to have entire categories of employment off-limits to a certain ethnicity – something that is routinely done in Israel to keep Palestinians out of “sensitive” jobs.

I would love to ask a lot of questions about Israel and Israeli law. Is there someone who can open a “Ask me about Israel” thread in the IMHO forum? That would be great.

Sorry to join late. Sal, we’ve had this discussion. Discrimination is bad. It is bad in Israel and it is bad in America and it is bad in France. In America and Israel at least citizens have legal protections and non-citizens are not as well protected, whether they be Black, Arab, Jew, or Druze. (I am not as sure about France.) 20% of Israeli citizens are Arabs and are entitled to that protection. A few highly sensitive security positions are off-limits to Israeli Arabs and Arab Israelis are not required to serve in the military, except for the Druze, at the request of their community are required to serve, like Jews (although other Arabs are allowed to volunteer). Israeli Arabs are better educated and have more freedoms and more protections than Arabs in any other country in the ME. Still, in practice, some discrimination exists, and Israeli Arabs, just like Black Americans are subject to it despite legal protections. Cites have been given before, do you need them again? Now look at the rights of Jews and other minorities in Arab countries … there are still a few who are there despite the wholesale explulsion of hundreds of thousands of Jews from Arab lands in 1948 (and confiscation of their lands and properties) … well, let’s leave it that they are subjected to even more discrimination and have fewer rights than do Arabs in Arab lands. And their situation is pathetic enough.

Second part of article:

Describes Israel’s relationship with the pariah state of Apartheid SA.

Two Chosen People

“Israelis claim that they are the chosen people, the elect of God, and find a biblical justification for their racism and Zionist exclusivity,” says Ronnie Kasrils, South Africa’s intelligence minister and Jewish co-author of a petition that was circulated amongst South African Jewry protesting at the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.

“This is just like the Afrikaners of apartheid South Africa, who also had the biblical notion that the land was their God-given right. Like the Zionists who claimed that Palestine in the 1940s was ‘a land without people for a people without land’, so the Afrikaner settlers spread the myth that there were no black people in South Africa when they first settled in the 17th century. They conquered by force of arms and terror and the provocation of a series of bloody colonial wars of conquest.”

Israel Alliance with Apartheid SA

Israel was openly critical of apartheid through the 1950s and 60s as it built alliances with post-colonial African governments. But most African states broke ties after the 1973 Yom Kippur war and the government in Jerusalem began to take a more benign view of the isolated regime in Pretoria. The relationship changed so profoundly that, in 1976, Israel invited the South African prime minister, John Vorster - a former Nazi sympathiser and a commander of the fascist Ossewabrandwag that sided with Hitler - to make a state visit.

Leaving unmentioned Vorster’s wartime internment for supporting Germany, Israel’s prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, hailed the South African premier as a force for freedom and made no mention of Vorster’s past as he toured the Jerusalem memorial to the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis. At a state banquet, Rabin toasted “the ideals shared by Israel and South Africa: the hopes for justice and peaceful coexistence”. Both countries, he said, faced “foreign-inspired instability and recklessness”.
Transfer of Nuclear Technology

The biggest secret of all was the nuclear one. Israel provided expertise and technology that was central to South Africa’s development of its nuclear bombs. Israel was embarrassed enough about its close association with a political movement rooted in racial ideology to keep the military collaboration hidden.

“All that I’m telling you was completely secret,” says Liel. "The knowledge of it was extremely limited to a small number of people outside the security establishment. But it so happened that many of our prime ministers were part of it, so if you take people such as [Shimon] Peres or Rabin, certainly they knew about it because they were part of the security establishment.
Israeli Bantustans

Three years ago, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported the former Italian prime minister, Massimo D’Alema, as telling dinner guests at a Jerusalem hotel that, on a visit to Rome a few years earlier, Sharon had told him that the bantustan model was the most appropriate solution to the conflict with the Palestinians. When one of the guests suggested to D’Alema that he was interpreting, not repeating, Sharon’s words, the former prime minister said not. “No, sir, that is not interpretation. That is a precise quotation of your prime minister,” he said. With Sharon out of politics, his successor Ehud Olmert has pledged himself to carrying through the vision of carving out Israel’s final borders deep inside the West Bank and retaining all of Jerusalem for the Jewish state.

A quick fact check on my way to work. The last bit is just plain untrue. Here is a recent map of the current Fence and its proposed route.

The Bantustan myth is a media created falsehood, easily disproved. The last bit, about what Olmert has pledged, is no less than a lie.

The rest is irrelevant to the accusation status of Arab Israeli’s rights. What an Afrikaaner thinks of Israel (if he really said this, lie about one thing and your reliability goes down, Guardian)? Israel’s poor diplomatic choices and foreign policy choices? They have nothing to do with the status of rights and discrimination in Israel of its sizable Arab minority.

That quote does not refer to the ‘fence’ at all. It refers to the total effect of the land enclosed by the wall, plus controlled roads, plus Israeli settlements plus the additional land that those settlements control- all in the area beyond the green line and beyond the wall. That is the way in which Bantustans are being created.

If you are trying to rebut something and calling others liars, then it is probably best to refrain from selective rebuttal that might be seen as using untruths to support your contentions.

But exactly. Arabs are regarded as enemies of the state on the basis of ethnicity alone. That’s my entire point here. And before you go off on too many tangents, how do you feel about the Said Rhateb example in the OP?