Thursday, January 1, 2009

Apartheid - Is Israel Really an Apartheid Nation?

In continuation to my previous post about Censorship at the Guardian, I wanted to expand on the use of the word Apartheid in the context of the Arab Israeli conflict. It has become so popular that even Jimmy Carter himself uses it as a title to his book. I won't get into the interests of Jimmy Carter or those that fund his think tank, if you'd like to see what he's really about you can Google him.

As most of the world knows Apartheid is a concept born out of South Africa. To be exact, it was a "system of legal racial segregation enforced by the National Party government of South Africa between 1948 and 1990" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apartheid).

Under apartheid each person was classified based on the color of their skin, and were provided (or denied) rights based on this classification. Blacks were at the low rung of the ladder, and whites where at the top. Asians and Indians were classified as somewhere in the middle. Much like in segregated American before the civil rights movement, blacks had to sit in the back of the bus (if not take a separate bus all together), they had separate water fountains and toilets, and actual physical contact (sexual in nature) between a black and white people was against the law.

So to sum it up the same people from a single nation had different rights based on the color of their skin. Now common usage among the left wing academics would make one think that "Apartheid" is practiced in Israel. They say that Palestinians have no rights, that they can't work in Israel, and so on and so fourth. The truth of the matter is that Israel has a large population of Arab and Muslim citizens. These citizens have equal rights according to the law. They can sit anywhere on a bus, they can use any bathroom, and they can have a relationship, physical or otherwise, with Israeli Jews, Irish Catholics, Tibetan Buddhists, or anyone else they choose.

Israeli Arabs do experience racism and inequality, more as a result of a conflict in which they are occasionally seen supporting those trying to kill Israelis, than any inherent racism. Israeli laws do accord a different status to Jews than non Jews. This is the Jewish nation after all. But that is also true for Christians, Buddhists, Baha'i, and every other religion. We will address the schism or dichotomy of Israeli's self described status as a Jewish and Democratic state in another post.

When Jimmy Carter talks about Apartheid and the "Apartheid Wall," he likes to say that Israel only practices apartheid in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. And with that one sentence he shows how he is politicizing a specific term and spinning it to match his agenda. Israeli Arabs benefit from Israeli democracy and the freedoms Israel provides to its citizens, much like Mexican Americans benefit from American democracy that it provides to its citizens.

On the other hands Palestinians don't benefit from Israeli democracy because they are not Israeli citizens, much like Mexicans without American citizenship don't benefit from American democracy and the rights it bestows upon its citizens. So we can conclude that to call Israel an Apartheid state is no more than political spin meant to further one sides political agenda, it is not only a spin, it is a lie. One of the ugliest lies there are. Just like comparing Israel to Nazi Germany. Its a means of demonizing Israel, of trying to deligitimze any action it may take (including trying to protect its citizens from Hamasidal maniacs who have declared it their goal to eradicate Israel), and it ignores the greater conflict, that which was once known as the Arab Israeli conflict, but has developed into something more dynamic.

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