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The State of Israelmarker's treatment of the Palestinians has been likened to a system of apartheid, analogous to South Africa's treatment of non-whites during its apartheid era. United Nations Special Rapporteur John Dugard has reported to the responsible treaty monitoring bodies that a system of control including separate roads, inequities in infrastructure, legal rights, and access to land and resources between Palestinians and Israeli residents in the Israeli-occupied territories,is different from apartheid regime, but resembles some of its aspects. Some Israeli commentators and Palestinian rights advocates extend this analogy to include Arab citizens of Israel, describing their citizenship status as second-class. Others use the analogy in relation to the special status that Israel accords to Jews, or to Orthodox Jews, without reference to Palestinians. Israel has also been accused of committing the crime of apartheid. An International Court of Justicemarker judgment declared that Israel is violating the basic human rights of Palestinians in the occupied territory and that it cannot use its own security to excuse violations of the non-derogatory provisions of international laws and conventions.

Opponents of the analogy describe Arab citizens of Israel as having the same rights as all other Israeli citizens. They point out that "full social and political equality of all [Israel's] citizens, without distinction of race, creed or sex" is specifically guaranteed by Israeli law. They also argue that the State of Israel's treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories is driven by security considerations, not anti-Arab racism and the fact that Palestinians have never been Israeli citizens and thus would not have Israeli rights. They state that the comparison reflects a double standard applied to Israel but not to neighbouring Arab countries. They also point out that Israel does not consider the West Bankmarker and Gaza Stripmarker to be part of Israel, but rather territories whose future has yet to be determined. The situation has been likened to post-WWII occupied Germany and Japan. (In East Jerusalem and the Golan Heightsmarker, which were unilaterally annexed by Israel, all residents were offered full citizenship. Israel's annexation of these territories is not internationally recognized.)


Supporters of the analogy cite the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, which says that the crime of apartheid includes similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as those that were practiced in South Africa under apartheid. According to this view, the legal standard doesn't require that the two systems be identical, only that they share certain similarities. Those who propose the analogy argue that the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law limits the citizenship rights of Arab citizens. They also point to differences in the political rights, voting and representation of the Palestinian population, the existences of differentiated national identification cards, difference in land tenure and access to education, infrastructure, transport, travel, and movement between Israelis and Palestinians.

Marriage law

The measure known as the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, passed by the Knessetmarker on 31 July 2003, does not enable the acquisition of Israeli citizenship or residency by a Palestinian from the West Bankmarker or Gaza Stripmarker via marriage. The law does allow children from such marriages to live in Israel until age 12, at which age they are required to emigrate. This applies equally to a Palestinian spouse of any Israeli citizen, whether Arab or Jewish, but in practice more Israeli Arabs than Israeli Jews marry Palestinians. The law was originally enacted for one year and has been extended, with minor amendments on 21 July 2004, on 31 January 2005, on 27 July 2005 until 31 March 2006, until January, 2007, and until 31 July 2008. In formulating the law, the government cited, "information presented by the security forces, which said that the terrorist organizations try to enlist Palestinians who have already received or will receive Israeli documentation and that the security services have a hard time distinguishing between Palestinians who might help the terrorists and those who will not "In the Israeli Supreme Court decision on this matter, Deputy Chief Justice Mishael Cheshin argued that, "Israeli citizens [do not]enjoy a constitutional right to bring a foreign national into Israel... and it is the right—moreover, it is the duty—of the state, of any state, to protect its residents from those wishing to harm them. And it derives from this that the state is entitled to prevent the immigration of enemy nationals into it—even if they are spouses of Israeli citizens—while it is waging an armed conflict with that same enemy."

The law was upheld in May 2006, by the Supreme Court of Israelmarker on a six to five vote. Israel's Chief Justice, Aharon Barak, sided with the minority on the bench, declaring: "This violation of rights is directed against Arab citizens of Israel. As a result, therefore, the law is a violation of the right of Arab citizens in Israel to equality." Zehava Gal-On, a founder of B'Tselem and a Knesset member with the Meretz-Yachad party, stated that with the ruling "The Supreme Court could have taken a braver decision and not relegated us to the level of an apartheid state." The law was also criticized by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

Adam and Moodley cite the marriage law as an example of how Arab Israelis "resemble in many ways 'Colored' and Indian South Africans." They write: "Both Israeli Palestinians and Colored and Indian South Africans are restricted to second-class citizen status when another ethnic group monopolizes state power, treats the minorities as intrinsically suspect, and legally prohibits their access to land or allocates civil service positions or per capita expenditure on education differentially between dominant and minority citizens."

In June 2008 after the law was renewed once again, Amos Schocken, the publisher of the Israeli daily Ha'aretz, wrote that the law "severely discriminates when comparing the rights of young Israeli Jewish citizens and young Israeli Arab citizens" who marry, and that "Its existence in the law books turns Israel into an apartheid state."

Political rights, voting and representation, judiciary

Israeli citizenship law does not differentiate between Israeli citizens based on ethnicity. Arab citizens of Israel have the same rights as all other Israeli citizens, including suffrage, political representation, and recourse to the courts. The Knessetmarker, Israel's legislature, includes Arab members and Arab parties. Although Arab parties allied to Mapai were members of the first and second government coalitions in Israel, no independent Arab party has ever been part of a coalition government.

Arabs living in Gaza, the West Bank, and some of those in East Jerusalem (areas occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War and deemed to be occupied territory under international law and are mostly governed by the Palestinian Authority) are not Israeli citizens. They carry Palestinian identity cards issued by the Palestinian Authority with Israeli permission and elect members of the governing Palestinian Authority.

Palestinians living in the non-annexed portions of the West Bank do not have Israeli citizenship or voting rights in Israel, but are subject to the policies of the Israeli government. Israel has created roads and checkpoints in the West Bank with the stated purpose of preventing the uninhibited movement of suicide bombers and militants in the region. The human rights NGO B'Tselem has indicated that such policies have isolated some Palestinian communities. Marwan Bishara, a teacher of international relations at the American University of Parismarker, has claimed that the restrictions on the movement of goods between Israel and the West Bank are "a defacto apartheid system".

While equal according to Israeli law, a number of official sources acknowledge that Arab citizens of Israel experience systematic discrimination in many aspects of life. Israeli High Court Justice (Ret.) Theodor Or chaired the Or Commission, which noted that discrimination against the country's Arab citizens had been documented in a large number of professional surveys and studies, had been confirmed in court judgments and government resolutions, and had also found expression in reports by the state comptroller and in other official documents. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert criticised in 2008 what he called "deliberate and insufferable" discrimination against Arabs at the hands of the Israeli establishment. The International Court of Justicemarker stated that the fundamental rights of the Palestinian population of the occupied territories are guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and that Israel could not deny them on the grounds of security. According to the 2004 U.S.marker State Departmentmarker Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for Israel and the Occupied Territories, the Israeli government had done "little to reduce institutional, legal, and societal discrimination against the country's Arab citizens."

Amnesty International has reported that in the West Bank, Jewish settlers and Israeli soldiers who engage in abuses against Palestinians, including unlawful killings, enjoy "impunity" from punishment and are rarely prosecuted. However Palestinians detained by Israeli security forces may be imprisoned for prolonged periods of time, and reports of their torture and other ill-treatment are not credibly investigated.

National identification cards

The Israeli identity card, or Teudat Zehut, required of all residents over the age of 16, may indicate whether holders are Jewish or not by adding the person's Hebrew date of birth. Many Jewish people in Israel prefer to take the option of having their birth date in the Hebrew date format . The option is not a requirement. Chris McGreal, The Guardian's former chief Israel correspondent, reports that the ID system determines: "where [Arabs and Jews] are permitted to live, access to some government welfare programmes, and how they are likely to be treated by civil servants and policemen." In the same article McGreal, also the chief South Africa correspondent during the apartheid years, compared Israel's Population Registry Act, which calls for the gathering of ethnic data, to South Africa's Apartheid-era Population Registration Act.

Critics of Israel identify segregation in support of their use of the apartheid analogy.

Land and infrastructure

93% of the land inside the Green Linemarker is not held by private owners and is managed as public property. 79.5% of the land is owned by the Israeli government through the Israel Land Administration, and 11–13% is privately owned by the Jewish National Fund (11% according to the Jewish National Fund (JNF), 13% according to Haaretz). Under the 1952 World Zionist Organisation – Jewish Agency Status Law, and the 1954 Covenant between the state of Israel and the Jewish Agency, administration of state lands was handed to the JNF, which states explicitly on its website that the "Jewish National Fund is the caretaker of the land of Israel, on behalf of its owners - Jewish people everywhere." In 1960, the Knessetmarker adopted the Basic Law – Israel Lands, which formalised this. In proposing the law in the Knesset, religious affairs minister Zerah Warhaftig explained how the name of the law indicates Jewish ownership of the land: "we gave this law the name Basic Law: Israel Lands [...] We want to make it clear that the land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel. The 'people of Israel' is a concept that is broader than that of the 'people resident in Zion', because the people of Israel live throughout the world." Under Israeli law, both ILA and JNF lands may not be sold, and are leased under the administration of the ILA.

Chris McGreal of The Guardian states that as a result of the government's control over most of the land in Israel, the vast majority of land in Israel is not available to non-Jews. In response, Alex Safian of the US-based media watchdog group CAMERA has claimed that this is not true—according to Safian, the 79.5% of Israeli land owned directly by the ILA is available for lease to both Jews and Arabs, sometimes on beneficial terms to Arabs under Israeli affirmative action programs. While Safian concedes that the 14% of Israeli land owned by the JNF is not legally available for lease to Israel's Arab citizens, he argues that the ILA often ignores this restriction in practice. Safian further claims that "in practice JNF land has been leased to Arab citizens of Israel, both for short-term and long-term use. To cite one example of the former, JNF-owned land in the Besor Valley (Wadi Shallaleh) near Kibbutz Re'em has been leased on a yearly basis to Bedouins for use as pasture."

Representative of a dissenting view is that of Leila Farsakh, associate professor of Political Science at University of Massachusetts Bostonmarker, according to whom, after 1977, "[t]he military government in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (WBGS) expropriated and enclosed Palestinian land and allowed the transfer of Israeli settlers to the occupied territories: they continued to be governed by Israeli laws. The government also enacted different military laws and decrees to regulate the civilian, economic and legal affairs of Palestinian inhabitants. These strangled the Palestinian economy and increased its dependence and integration into Israel." Farsakh holds that "[m]any view these Israeli policies of territorial integration and societal separation as apartheid, even if they were never given such a name."Along similar lines, B'Tselem wrote in 2004 that "Palestinians are barred from or have restricted access to 450 miles of West Bank roads, a system with 'clear similarities' to South Africa's former apartheid regime".

In October 2005 the Israel Defense Force stopped Palestinians from driving on the main road through the West Bank; B'Tselem described this as a first step towards "total 'road apartheid'". Criticism of Israeli policies on similar grounds has arisen from, among others, Haggai Alon, a senior defence advisor.

Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian legislator and former presidential candidate, said that apartheid was the only word to describe Israel's creation of separate roads for Palestinians, its discrimination in allocation of water, ongoing settlement construction, and differences in per capita income between Israelis (both Jewish and non-Jewish) and Palestinians. He also asserted that the US-sponsored peace process gave Israel time to "continue settlements building, to continue having the checkpoints and restrictions, to continue creating this apartheid system". The World Bank found in 2009 that Israeli settlements in the West Bank (which amount to 15% of the population of the West Bank) are given access to over 80% of its fresh water resources, despite the fact that the Oslo accords call for "joint" management of such resources. This has created, according to the Bank, "real water shortages" for the Palestinians.

Travel and movement

A permit and closure system was introduced in 1990. Leila Farsakh maintains that this system imposes "on Palestinians similar conditions to those faced by blacks under the pass laws. Like the pass laws, the permit system controlled population movement according to the settlers’ unilaterally defined considerations." In response to the al-Aqsa intifada, Israel modified the permit system and fragmented the WBGS [West Bank and Gaza Strip] territorially. "In April 2002 Israel declared that the WBGS would be cut into eight main areas, outside which Palestinians could not live without a permit." John Dugard has said these laws "resemble, but in severity go far beyond, apartheid's pass system".

In 2003, a year after Operation Defensive Shield, the Israeli government announced a project of "fences and other physical obstacles" to prevent Palestinians crossing into Israel. Several figures, including Mohammad Sarwar, John Pilger, and Mustafa Barghouti and others have described the resultant West Bank barrier as an "apartheid wall".

Supporters of the West Bank barrier consider it to be largely responsible for reducing incidents of terrorism by 90% from 2002 to 2005. Israel's foreign minister, Silvan Shalom, stated in 2004 that the barrier is not a border but a temporary defensive measure designed to protect Israeli civilians from terrorist infiltration and attack, and can be dismantled if appropriate. The Supreme Court of Israelmarker ruled that the barrier is defensive and accepted the government's position that the route is based on security considerations.


Separate and unequal education systems were a central part of the apartheid regime's strategy to limit black children to a life in the mines, factories and fields. The disparities in Israel's education system are not nearly so great, but the gap is wide. In 1992 a government report concluded that nearly twice as much money was allocated to each Jewish child as to each Arab pupil.

A report published in March 2009 showed that the government invested US$1,100 (Dh4,035) in each Jewish pupil’s education compared to $190 for each Arab pupil. There was also a shortfall of more than 1,000 classrooms for Arab students.

A 2004 Human Rights Watch reportidentified "huge disparities in education spending" and stated that "discrimination against Arab children colours every aspect" of the education system. Exam pass-rate for Arab pupils were about one-third lower than that for their Jewish compatriots.

2009 education ministry figures show 32 per cent of Arab students passed their matriculation exam last year, compared to 60 per cent of Jewish students. The pass rate had dramatically dropped from the 50.7 per cent of Arab pupils who matriculated in 2006.

Use of the apartheid analogy

The idea of "Israeli apartheid" emerged in the final years of the white South African regime (in the early 1990s), when Palestinians opposed to South African apartheid drew the link between Israel and South Africa. Comparisons between Israeli policies and apartheid have been made by groups and individuals, including:

Some commentators including Brockmann, Klein and UK MP Gerald Kaufman have suggested sanctions against Israel along the South African model to ultimately improve the situation. Contemporary global political discourse regarding Israel incorporates usages of, and controversy over, the phrase "Israeli apartheid" and its variations.

In relation to the Israeli disengagement plan

In January 2004, Ahmed Qureia, then the Palestinian Prime Minister, said that the building of the West Bank barrier, and the associated Israeli absorption of parts of the West Bank, constituted "an apartheid solution to put the Palestinians in cantons." Colin Powell, then U.S. Secretary of State, commented on Queria's statements by affirming U.S. commitment to a two-state solution while saying, "I don't believe that we can accept a situation that results in anything that one might characterize as apartheid or Bantuism."

An academic paper by Professor Oren Yiftachel, Chair of the Geography Department at the Ben Gurion University of the Negevmarker, predicted that Israel's unilateral disengagement plan will result in "creeping apartheid" in the West Bank, Gaza, and in Israel itself. Yiftachel argues that, "Needless to say, the reality of apartheid existed for decades in Israel/Palestine, but this is the first time a Prime Minister spells out clearly the strengthening of this reality as a long-term political platform" and that the plan would entrench a situation that can be described as "neither two states nor one," separating Israelis from Palestinians without giving Palestinians true sovereignty.

Meron Benvenisti, an Israeli political scientist and the former deputy mayor of Jerusalemmarker, predicted that the interim disengagement plan would become permanent, with the West Bank barrier entrenching both the isolation of Palestinian communities and the existence of Israeli settlements. He warned that Israel is moving towards the model of apartheid South Africa through the creation of "Bantustan" like conditions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The Economist, in an article on the debate over withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, asserted that "Keeping the occupied land will force on Israel the impossible choice of being either an apartheid state, or a binational one with Jews as a minority."

Michael Tarazi, a Palestinian proponent of the binational solution has argued that it is in Palestine's interest to "make this an argument about apartheid," even to the extent of advocating Israeli settlement: "The longer they stay out there, the more Israel will appear to the world to be essentially an apartheid state".

By notable authors

Geoffrey Wheatcroft has noted that, historically, Israeli officials had mulled the possibility of adopting the South African apartheid model as one that the state of Israel itself might emulate. In the late 1970s "(t)hey didn't wish to copy what was once called 'petty apartheid', the everyday harassment of black South Africans, but 'grand apartheid', the Nationalists' attempt to conjure away the problem of minority rule by dividing the country into supposedly autonomous cantons or 'homelands'."

Uri Davis wrote in 1987 that apartheid in Israel is a legal reality, even though it has a different legal structure than in the Republic of South Africa. He asserts that where the Republic of South Africa had an official value system of apartheid and made a key legal distinction between "white", "coloured", "Indian" and "black", Israel has an official value system of Zionism and makes a key legal distinction between "Jew" and "non-Jew". He suggests that this distinction is made in a two-tier structure that had concealed Israeli apartheid legislation for "almost four decades" at the time when he wrote.

Uri Avnery applies parts of the analogy to "the reality in the occupied Palestinian territories" which he describes as "in many respects similar to reality under the apartheid regime," but warns that there are also important differences between the two conflicts.

By Adam and Moodley

Adam and Moodley apply lessons that were learned in South Africa to the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Heribert Adam of Simon Fraser Universitymarker and Kogila Moodley of the University of British Columbiamarker, in their 2005 book-length study Seeking Mandela: Peacemaking Between Israelis and Palestinians, apply lessons learned in South Africa to resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They divide academic and journalistic commentators on the analogy into three groups:

  • "The majority is incensed by the very analogy and deplores what it deems its propagandistic goals."
  • "'Israel is Apartheid' advocates include most Palestinians, many Third World academics, and several Jewish post-Zionists who idealistically predict an ultimate South African solution of a common or binational state."
  • A third group which sees both similarities and differences, and which looks to South African history for guidance in bringing resolution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
Adam and Moodley also suggest that political actors such as former Israeli Prime Ministers Ariel Sharon and Ehud Barak used the analogy "self-servingly in their exhortations and rationalizations" and that such actors "have repeatedly deplored the occupation and seeming 'South Africanization' but have done everything to entrench it."

Adam and Moodley argue that notwithstanding universal suffrage within Israel proper "if the Palestinian territories under more or less permanent Israeli occupation and settler presence are considered part of the entity under analysis, the comparison between a disenfranchised African population in apartheid South Africa and the three and a half million stateless Palestinians under Israeli domination gains more validity."Adam, Heribert & Moodley, Kogila. , University College London Press, p.20f. ISBN 1-84472-130-2

Second-class citizenship: "Above all, both Israeli Palestinians and Coloured and Indian South Africans are restricted to second-class citizen status when another ethnic group monopolizes state power, treats the minorities as intrinsically suspect, and legally prohibits their access to land or allocates civil service positions or per capita expenditure on education differently between dominant and minority citizens."

"Mandela's vision succeeded because it evoked a universal morality. Common ideological and economic bonds existed between the antagonists inside South Africa. An outdated racial hierarchy eventually clashed with economic imperatives when the costs exceeded the benefits of racial minority rule in a global pariah state. In the Israeli case, outside support sustains intransigence. Only when the colonial policies of occupation embarrass and threaten their stronger patrons abroad or can no longer be so easily contained inside (as apartheid racial capitalism did in the Cold War competition) can outside pressure on Israel be expected. This turning of the tables will impact the Israeli public as much as outside perception is affected by visionary local leaders and events. Despite gains in global empathy, Palestinians are still at the mercy of a superior adversary in every respect, which even a Mandela would not have been able to overcome. In this impasse, hope is offered by Israeli progressive moral dissent on the Left as well as opportunistic calculations on the Right that the occupation harms the occupier. Israel has the capacity to reach a meaningful compromise, but has yet to prove its willingness. The Palestinian mainstream has the willingness, but lacks the capacity, to initiate a fair settlement."

In part, analysts like Adam and Moodley argue, this controversy over terminology arises because Israel as a state is unique in the region. Israel is perceived as a Western democracy and is thus likely to be judged by the standards of such a state. Western commentators, too, may feel "a greater affinity to a like minded polity than to an autocratic Third World state." Israel also claims to be a home for the worldwide Jewish diaspora and a strategic outpost of the Western world which "is heavily bankrolled by U.S. taxpayers" who can be viewed as sharing a collective responsibility for its behaviors. Radical Islamists, according to some analysts, "use Israeli policies to mobilize anti-Western sentiment", leading to a situation in which "(u)nconditional U.S. support for Israeli expansionism potentially unites Muslim moderates with jihadists." As a result of these factors, according to this analysis, the West Bank Barrier — nicknamed the "apartheid wall" — has become a critical frontline in the War on Terrorism.

At the same time, Adam and Moodley note that Jewish historical suffering has imbued Zionism with a subjective sense of moral validity that the whites ruling South Africa never had: "Afrikaner moral standing was constantly undermined by exclusion and domination of blacks, even subconsciously in the minds of its beneficiaries. In contrast, the similar Israeli dispossession of Palestinians is perceived as self-defense and therefore not immoral." They also suggest that academic comparisons between Israel and apartheid South Africa that see both dominant groups as "settler societies" leave unanswered the question of "when and how settlers become indigenous," as well as failing to take into account that Israeli's Jewish immigrants view themselves as returning home. "In their self-concept, Zionists are simply returning to their ancestral homeland from which they were dispersed two millennia ago. Originally most did not intend to exploit native labor and resources, as colonizers do." Adam and Moodley stress that "because people give meaning to their lives and interpret their worlds through these diverse ideological prisms, the perceptions are real and have to be taken seriously."

Adam and Moodley also argue that "apartheid ideologues" who justified their rule by claiming self-defense against "African National Congress(ANC)-led communism" found that excuse outdated after the collapse of the Soviet Unionmarker, whereas "continued Arab hostilities sustain the Israeli perception of justifiable self-defense."

Adam and Moodley contend that the relationship of South African apartheid to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been misinterpreted as "justifying suicide bombing and glorifying martyrdom." They argue that the ANC "never endorsed terrorism," and stress that "not one suicide has been committed in the cause of a thirty-year-long armed struggle, although in practice the ANC drifted increasingly toward violence during the latter years of apartheid."

By the United Nations

John Dugard, a South African professor of international law and an ad hoc Judge on the International Court of Justicemarker, serving as the Special Rapporteur for the United Nations on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories described the situation in the West Bank as "an apartheid regime ... worse than the one that existed in South Africa." In 2007, in advance of a report from the United Nations Human Rights Council, Dugard wrote that "Israel's laws and practices in the OPT [occupied Palestinian territories] certainly resemble aspects of apartheid." Referring to Israel's actions in the occupied West Bank, he wrote, "Can it seriously be denied that the purpose [...] is to establish and maintain domination by one racial group (Jews) over another racial group (Palestinians) and systematically oppressing them? Israel denies that this is its intention or purpose. But such an intention or purpose may be inferred from the actions described in this report."

The Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa (HSRC) is South Africa's statutory research agency. In June 2009, it released an exhaustive study indicating that Israel practices both colonialism and apartheid in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and suggesting that an advisory opinion on the legal consequences should be sought from the International Court of Justice. The study was conducted by an international team of scholars and practitioners of international public law from South Africa, the United Kingdom, Israel and the West Bank. The study reviewed Israel's practices in the territories according to definitions of colonialism and apartheid provided by international law. The project was suggested by the January 2007 report by South African jurist John Dugard, in his capacity as Special Rapporteur to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Danny Rubinstein, a columnist at Ha'aretz also reportedly likened Israel to apartheid South Africa during a United Nations conference at the European Parliamentmarker in Brusselsmarker on 30 August 2007, stating: "Israel today was an apartheid State with four different Palestinian groups: those in Gaza, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Israeli Palestinians, each of which had a different status."

The current President of the United Nations General Assembly, Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, reported the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, "likened Israel's policies toward the Palestinians to South Africa's treatment of blacks under apartheid. ... Brockmann stressed that it was important for the United Nations to use the heavily-charged term since it was the institution itself that had passed the International Convention against the crime of apartheid."

By notable academic and media figures

Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States, Camp David Accords negotiator, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and author of the 2006 book entitled Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, maintained in that book that Israel's options included a "system of apartheid, with two peoples occupying the same land but completely separated from each other, with Israelis totally dominant and suppressing violence by depriving Palestinians of their basic human rights. This is the policy now being followed ..." Carter has also argued that the Israeli system is in some cases more onerous than that of the apartheid government of South Africa. Carter's use of the term "apartheid" has been calibrated to avoid specific accusations of racism against the government of Israel, and has been carefully limited to the situation in Gaza and the West Bank. For instance, in a news release, Carter described discussing his book and his use of the word "apartheid" with the Board of Rabbis of Greater Phoenix, and noted, "I made clear in the book's text and in my response to the rabbis that the system of apartheid in Palestine is not based on racism but the desire of a minority of Israelis for Palestinian land and the resulting suppression of protests that involve violence." Carter explains "apartheid" reference in letter to U.S. Jews International Herald Tribune, December 15, 2006, accessed 23 April 2007"

The six rabbis...and I...discussed the word "apartheid," which I defined as the forced segregation of two peoples living in the same land, with one of them dominating and persecuting the other. I made clear in the book's text and in my response to the rabbis that the system of apartheid in Palestine is not based on racism but the desire of a minority of Israelis for Palestinian land and the resulting suppression of protests that involve use of "apartheid" does not apply to circumstances within Israel."

Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor to President Carter, commented that the absence of a resolution to the Israel-Palestine conflict is likely to produce a situation which de facto will resemble apartheid.

University of Chicagomarker political science professor John Mearsheimer stated in June 2008 that, "Five, 10 or 15 years ago, it was unthinkable to mention ‘apartheid’ in relation to Israel. Now [Jimmy] Carter has used it in the title of his book, Palestine Peace Not Apartheid". Mearsheimer added, "Israel is, in effect, creating an apartheid state."

Bill Fletcher, Jr., former president of the TransAfrica Forum, which led the U.S. movement to overthrow apartheid in South Africa during the 1980s, published an article in the San Jose Mercury News headlined, "Tactics that ended apartheid in S. Africa can end it in Israel," calling for support for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

Yakov Malik, the Sovietmarker Ambassador to the United Nations accused Israel—an ally of the US in the Cold War against the Soviets—of promulgating a "racist policy of apartheid against Palestinians" following the imposition of Israeli rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip after the Six-Day War of 1967. Israel accused the Soviet Unionmarker of publishing anti-Zionist tracts.

Raja G. Khouri, a member of the Ontario Human Rights Commission and former president of the Canadian Arab Federation, supports the apartheid analogy, and holds that the Israeli policies in question are not motivated by racism.

British journalist Melanie Phillips has criticized Desmond Tutu for comparing Israel to Apartheid South Africa. Having made the comparison in an article for The Guardian in 2002, Tutu stated that people are scared to say the "Jewish lobby" in the U.S. is powerful. "So what?" he asked. "The apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists. Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet, Milosevic and Idi Amin were all powerful, but in the end they bit the dust." Phillips wrote of Tutu's article: "I never thought that I would see brazenly printed in a reputable British newspaper not only a repetition of the lie of Jewish power but the comparison of that power with Hitler, Stalin and other tyrants. I never thought I would see such a thing issuing from a Christian archbishop ... How can Christians maintain a virtual silence about the persecution of their fellow worshippers by Muslims across the world, while denouncing the Israelis who are in the front line against precisely this terror?"

In December, 2006, Maurice Ostroff of the Jerusalem Post criticized Tutu for being well-intentioned, but ultimately misguided: "If he took the opportunity during his forthcoming visit to impartially examine all the facts, he would discover - to his pleasant surprise - that accusations of Israeli apartheid are mean-spirited and wrong-headed... He would find that whereas the apartheid of the old South Africa was entrenched in law, Israel's Declaration of Independence absolutely ensures complete equality of social and political rights to all inhabitants, irrespective of religion, race, or gender.

Norman Finkelstein, author of numerous books relating to the Arab-Israeli conflict and anti-Semitism such as Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict (1995), The Rise and Fall of Palestine: A Personal Account of the Intifada Years (1998), The Holocaust Industry (2003), and Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History (2005), defends Carter's analysis in Palestine Peace Not Apartheid as both historically accurate and non-controversial outside the United States: "After four decades of Israeli occupation, the infrastructure and superstructure of apartheid have been put in place. Outside the never-never land of mainstream American Jewry and U.S. media[,] this reality is barely disputed."

Adrian Guelke, Professor of Comparative Politics at Queen's University Belfastmarker and Director of the Centre for the Study of Ethnic Conflict wrote that "Comparison of Israel's policies with the South African policy of apartheid has become a very common theme of Palestinian discourse at both an analytical and polemical level and, it should be noted, use of the analogy is by no means confined to Palestinians." Since the breakdown of the peace process in 2000, he observed, "the use of this analogy has mushroomed."

Fifty-three Stanford Universitymarker faculty from various fields other than Middle East, Palestine or Israel studies, as well as staff from Stanford's conservative think tank, the Hoover Institution signed a letter expressing the view that "Israel is not an Apartheid State" and that "the State of Israel has nothing in common with apartheid"; that within its national territory Israel is a liberal democracy in which Arab citizens of Israel enjoy civil, religious, social, and political equality. They alleged that likening Israel to apartheid South Africa was a "smear," part of a campaign of "malicious propaganda."

Ian Buruma has argued that even though there is social discrimination against Arabs in Israel and that "the ideal of a Jewish state smacks of racism", the analogy is "intellectually lazy, morally questionable and possibly even mendacious", as "[n]on-Jews, mostly Arab Muslims, make up 20% of the Israeli population, and they enjoy full citizen's rights" and "[i]nside the state of Israel, there is no apartheid".

An early example of the use of the word is a full-page advertisement placed in the New York Times in March 1988 by hundreds of intellectuals, academics, and activists declaring Israel to be "an apartheid state, founded on pillage and predicated on exclusivity".

By South Africans

By the government of South Africa

In November 24, 2009, the South African government responded to Israeli plans to expand the settlement of Gilomarker in East Jerusalem by condemning it harshly, stating that "We condemn the fact that Israeli settlement expansion in East Jerusalem is coupled with Israel's campaign to evict and displace the original Palestinian residents from the City." The South African government drew a parallel between Israel's actions in Jerusalem and forced removals of persons effected as part of the South African apartheid regime. South Africa's response to latest Israeli settlement activities in East Jerusalem (South African Government Information, Nov. 24, 2009)
SA condemns Israeli settlements in Gilo (The Citizen, Nov. 24, 2009)

By South African individuals or organizations

In 2002 Anglican Archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu wrote a series of articles in major newspapers,Tutu, Desmond "Apartheid in the Holy Land". The Guardian, April 29, 2002.
  • Tutu, D., and Urbina, I. "Against Israeli apartheid", The Nation 275:4-5, posted June 27, 2002 (July 15, 2002 issue).
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    ""It reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa. I have seen the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about. Many South Africans are beginning to recognize the parallels to what we went through." comparing the Israeli occupation of the West Bank to apartheid South Africa, and calling for the international community to divest support from Israel until the territories were no longer occupied.

Other prominent South African anti-apartheid activists have used apartheid comparisons to criticize the occupation of the West Bank, and particularly the construction of the separation barrier. These include Farid Esack, a writer who is currently William Henry Bloomberg Visiting Professor at Harvard Divinity Schoolmarker, Ronnie Kasrils, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Dennis Goldberg, and Arun Ghandhi,Arun Ghandhi. Occupation "Ten Times Worse than Apartheid", Speech, Palestinian International Press Center, August 29, 2004, accessed September 17, 2006.

""When I come here and see the situation [in the Palestinian territories], I find that what is happening here is ten times worse than what I had experienced in South Africa. This is Apartheid"

On 15 May 2008, 34 leading South African activists published an open letter in The Citizen, under the heading "We fought apartheid; we see no reason to celebrate it in Israel now!". The signatories, who included Kasrils and several other government ministers, COSATU General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, Ahmed Kathrada, Sam Ramsamy and Blade Nzimande, wrote "Apartheid is a crime against humanity. It was when it was done against South Africans; it is so when it is done against Palestinians!"

On 6 June 2008, Mr. Kgalema Motlanthe, the Deputy President of the African National Congress, who had recently visited the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, told a delegation of Arab Knesset members visiting South Africa to study its democratic constitution that conditions for Palestinians under occupation were "worse than conditions were for Blacks under the Apartheid regime."

In a letter to the President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Ontario, Willie Madisha, the President of COSATU wrote, "As someone who lived in apartheid South Africa and who has visited Palestine I say with confidence that Israel is an apartheid state. In fact, I believe that some of the atrocities committed against the South Africans by the erstwhile apartheid regime in South Africa pale in comparison to those committed against the Palestinians."

Hendrik Verwoerd, then prime minister of South Africa and the architect of South Africa's apartheid policies, said in 1961 that "The Jews took Israel from the Arabs after the Arabs had lived there for a thousand years. Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state."

Former deputy mayor of Jerusalemmarker Meron Benvenisti relates in his 1986 book Conflicts and Contradictions that during the 1970s, an official of the South African apartheid compared Israeli-Palestinian relations to South African policy for the Transkei in a meeting. The Israeli officials present expressed shock at the comparison, and the South African official said "I understand your reaction. But aren't we actually doing the same thing? We are faced with the same existential problem, therefore we arrive at the same solution. The only difference is that yours is pragmatic and ours is ideological."

In 2008 a delegation of ANC veterans visited Israel and the Occupied Territories, and said that in some respects it was worse than apartheid.One member said "The daily indignity to which the Palestinian population is subjected far outstrips the apartheid regime." Another member, human rights lawyer Fatima Hassan, cited the separate roads, different registration of cars, the indignity of having to produce a permit, and long queues at checkpoints as worse than what they had experienced during apartheid. But she also thought the apartheid comparison was a potential "red herring".Andrew Feinstein, a former ANC parliament member, was shocked to see footage of teenagers heaping abuse on and throwing stones at Palestinian children, especially done in the name of Judaism. The delegation's final formal statement made no mention of comparisons with apartheid and Dennis Davis, a high court judge, said he thought the use of the term in the Middle East context was "very unhelpful". Davis also noted that "There's no racial superiority here. There's no pervading ideology that confirms the inferiority of Palestinians." and concluded "But I think it's incredibly unhelpful to say you can simply take this to be apartheid and therefore the South African struggle is the same and the South African solution is the same. That's a very lazy form of reasoning." One of the Jewish members of the delegation said that the comparison with apartheid is very relevant and that the Israelis are even more efficient in implementing the separation-of-races regime than the South Africans were, and that if he were to say this publicly, he would be attacked by the members of the Jewish community.

In May 2009, The Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa released a legal study with the findings that Israel is practicing both colonialism and apartheid in the occupied Palestinian territories. According to this study, Israel practices the "three pillars" of apartheid in the occupied territories:

The first pillar "derives from Israeli laws and policies that establish Jewish identity for purposes of law and afford a preferential legal status and material benefits to Jews over non-Jews".

The second pillar is reflected in "Israel's 'grand' policy to fragment the OPT [and] ensure that Palestinians remain confined to the reserves designated for them while Israeli Jews are prohibited from entering those reserves but enjoy freedom of movement throughout the rest of the Palestinian territory. This policy is evidenced by Israel's extensive appropriation of Palestinian land, which continues to shrink the territorial space available to Palestinians; the hermetic closure and isolation of the Gaza Strip from the rest of the OPT; the deliberate severing of East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank; and the appropriation and construction policies serving to carve up the West Bank into an intricate and well-serviced network of connected settlements for Jewish-Israelis and an archipelago of besieged and non-contiguous enclaves for Palestinians".

The third pillar is "Israel's invocation of 'security' to validate sweeping restrictions on Palestinian freedom of opinion, expression, assembly, association and movement [to] mask a true underlying intent to suppress dissent to its system of domination and thereby maintain control over Palestinians as a group."

By Israelis

Jamal Zahalka, an Israeli-Arab member of the Knessetmarker argued that an apartheid system has already taken shape in that the West Bank and Gaza Strip are separated into "cantons" and Palestinians are required to carry permits to travel between them. Azmi Bishara, a former Knesset member, argued that the Palestinian situation had been caused by "colonialist apartheid."

Michael Ben-Yair, attorney-general of Israel from 1993 to 1996 referred to Israel establishing, "an apartheid regime in the occupied territories", in an essay published in Haaretz.

Ehud Olmert, then Deputy Prime Minister of Israel, commented in April 2004 that; "More and more Palestinians are uninterested in a negotiated, two-state solution, because they want to change the essence of the conflict from an Algerianmarker paradigm to a South African one. From a struggle against 'occupation,' in their parlance, to a struggle for one-man-one-vote. That is, of course, a much cleaner struggle, a much more popular struggle - and ultimately a much more powerful one. For us, it would mean the end of the Jewish state." Olmert made a similar remark in November 2007 as Prime Minister: "If the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights, then the State of Israel is finished."

Some Israelis have compared the separation plan to apartheid, such as political scientist Meron Benvenisti, and journalist Amira Hass. Ami Ayalon, a former admiral, claiming it "ha[d] some apartheid characteristics." Shulamit Aloni, former education minister and leader of Meretz, said that the state of Israel is "practicing its own, quite violent, form of Apartheid with the native Palestinian population."

A major 2002 study of Israeli settlement practices by the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem concluded: "Israel has created in the Occupied Territories a regime of separation based on discrimination, applying two separate systems of law in the same area and basing the rights of individuals on their nationality. This regime is the only one of its kind in the world, and is reminiscent of distasteful regimes from the past, such as the apartheid regime in South Africa." A more recent B'Tselem publication on the road system Israel has established in the West Bank concluded that it "bears striking similarities to the racist Apartheid regime," and even "entails a greater degree of arbitrariness than was the case with the regime that existed in South Africa."

Academic and political activist Uri Davis, an Israeli citizen who describes himself as an "anti-Zionist Palestinian Jew", has written several books on the subject, including Israel: An Apartheid State in 1987.

Israeli politician and former Knessetmarker member Yossi Sarid criticised discriminatory marriage law, exemption of Orthodox Jews from military service, and banning of Arabs from purchasing Jewish National Fund land as racist in a 2007 Ynetnews article entitled Our apartheid state. He later compared a further array of Israeli practices including the West Bank barrier, separate roads, 'cheap hard labour', and Palestinian enclaves to apartheid in a 2008 Ha'aretz column entitled Yes, it is apartheid. Sarid wrote 'what acts like apartheid, is run like apartheid and harasses like apartheid, is not a duck - it is apartheid. Nor does it even solve the problem of fear' and added, 'One essential difference remains between South Africa and Israel: There a small minority dominated a large majority, and here we have almost a tie. But the tiebreaker is already darkening on the horizon.'

Daphna Golan-Agnon, co-founder of B'Tselem and founding director of Bat Shalom writes in her 2002 book Next Year in Jerusalem, "I'm not sure if the use of the term apartheid helps us to understand the discrimination against Palestinians in Israel or the oppression against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. I'm not sure the discussion about how we are like or unlike South Africa helps move us forward to a solution. But the comparison reminds us that hundreds of laws do not make discrimination just and that the international community, the same international community we want to belong to, did not permit the perpetuation of apartheid. And it doesn't matter how we explain it and how many articles are written by Israeli scholars and lawyers—there are two groups living in this small piece of land, and one enjoys rights and liberty while the other does not."

In his article "Is it Apartheid?" Israeli anti-Zionist activist Professor Moshé Machover states "... talk of Israeli 'apartheid' serves to divert attention from much greater dangers. For, as far as most Palestinians are concerned, the Zionist policy is far worse than apartheid. Apartheid can be reversed. Ethnic cleansing is immeasurably harder to reverse; at least not in the short or medium term."

Crime of apartheid

Israel has been accused by Palestinian organizations and their supporters of the crime of apartheid under international law. For example, in 2006, at the UN-sponsored International Conference of Civil Society in Support of the Palestinian People, Phyllis Bennis, co-chair of the International Coordinating Network on Palestine, opened the speeches of the civil society at the first plenary of the conference by alleging "Once again, the crime of apartheid [is] being committed by a United Nations Member State [Israel]."

The crime of apartheid first became part of international law in 1973 when the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (ICSPCA) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. It defined it as "inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group ... over another racial group ... and systematically oppressing them." Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States refused to ratify it. At the outset the US stated: "[W]e cannot...accept that apartheid can in this manner be made a crime against humanity. Crimes against humanity are so grave in nature that they must be meticulously elaborated and strictly construed under existing international law..."

In 2002, a different definition of the crime of apartheid was provided by Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The crime of apartheid was listed as one of several crimes against humanity, and was defined as including inhumane acts such as torture, murder, forcible transfer, imprisonment, or persecution of an identifiable group on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, or other grounds, "committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime." This change to defining the crime of apartheid as discrimination on the grounds of national, ethnic or cultural group rather than racial group alone increased the applicability of the law to Israeli policy in the West Bank.

No mechanism exists to prosecute any state for the crime of apartheid, except referral from the UN Security Council to the International Criminal Court, and no such referral has ever taken place. However, many of the member states have given their national courts subject matter jurisdiction over crimes defined in the Rome Statute under the principle of universal jurisdiction.

Criticism of the apartheid analogy

Many have criticized the use of the analogy, arguing variously that Israeli policies are different from those in apartheid South Africa, that the motivation and historical context is different, that there is a difference between the West Bank and Gaza policies and those of in Israel proper, and that Israel is a democratic, pluralist state.

Differences between Israeli and South African policies

Conversely, StandWithUs, a pro-Israel advocacy organization, argues that apartheid in the Republic of South Africa was an official policy of discrimination against blacks enforced through police violence, based on minority control over a majority population who could not vote. They point out that in contrast, Israel is a majority-rule democracy with equal rights for all citizens including Arab citizens of Israel who vote freely. Israel contends with prejudice in its population as all societies do, but such prejudices are opposed by law. They also point out that Palestinians West Bank and Gaza are not governed by Israel but by the Palestinian Authority.

Unlike South Africa, where Apartheid prevented Black majority rule, within Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip—the territory Israel controls—there are currently more Jews than Palestinians, although Jews are only 48% of the population as a whole. However, most of the West Bank and all of Gaza are not expected to be controlled by Israel after a final settlement. In an essay comparing their experience as black South Africans whose families fought against apartheid with the current situation in Israel, Rhoda Kadalie and Julia Bertelsmann wrote:
"Israel is not an apartheid state ...
Arab citizens of Israel can vote and serve in the Knesset; black South Africans could not vote until 1994.
There are no laws in Israel that discriminate against Arab citizens or separate them from Jews.
South Africa had a job reservation policy for white people; Israel has adopted pro-Arab affirmative action measures in some sectors.
Israeli schools, universities and hospitals make no distinction between Jews and Arabs.
An Arab citizen who brings a case before an Israeli court will have that case decided on the basis of merit, not ethnicity.
This was never the case for blacks under apartheid."

Benjamin Pogrund, author and member of the Israeli delegation to the United Nations World Conference against Racism, has argued that the petty apartheid which characterized apartheid-era South Africa does not exist within Israel:
"The difference between the current Israeli situation and apartheid South Africa is emphasized at a very human level: Jewish and Arab babies are born in the same delivery room, with the same facilities, attended by the same doctors and nurses, with the mothers recovering in adjoining beds in a ward.
Two years ago I had major surgery in a Jerusalem hospital: the surgeon was Jewish, the anaesthetist was Arab, the doctors and nurses who looked after me were Jews and Arabs.
Jews and Arabs share meals in restaurants and travel on the same trains, buses and taxis, and visit each other’s homes.
Could any of this possibly have happened under apartheid?
Of course not."

In response to increasing inequality between the Jewish and Arab populations, the Israeli government established a committee to consider, among other issues, policies of affirmative action for housing Arab citizens. According to Israel advocacy group Stand With Us, the city of Jerusalemmarker gives Arab residents free professional advice to assist with the house permit process and structural regulations, advice which is not available to Jewish residents on the same terms.

Differences in motivations

Critics of the claim that Israel is motivated by racism argue that, unlike apartheid, Israeli practices, even if they deserve to be criticized, are not prompted by racial hatred. Benjamin Pogrund writes:
"In any event, what is racism?
Under apartheid it was skin colour.
Applied to Israel that's a joke: for proof of that, just look at a crowd of Israeli Jews and their gradations in skin-colour from the "blackest" to the "whitest"...
Occupation is brutalising and corrupting both Palestinians and Israelis...
[b]ut it is not apartheid.
Palestinians are not oppressed on racial grounds as Arabs, but, rather, as competitors — until now, at the losing end — in a national/religious conflict for land."

John Strawson, professor of international law at the University of East Londonmarker argues against likening the concept of Zionism to apartheid, saying
"...the way in which the "one-state solution" was posed recycled much of the old discourses on Zionism which constructed it as an essentially racist ideology comparable to apartheid.
At the core of the argument is the position that as Israel defines itself as a Jewish state this is an ethnic state based on a racial hierarchy.
In this account Jews become the South African white population and the Palestinians the non-whites.
The racist content of the state was seen in many laws which discriminate against non-Jews and in favor of Jews.
(25) Any discriminatory laws are seen as proof of a racist regime a position which if systematically argued would find almost all states as mainly characterized by racism.
However, some apparently discriminatory laws, such as the 1950 Law of Return should perhaps be seen as affirmative action in that it turned the Nazi discrimination and definition of a Jew into the basis for citizenship in Israel.
The view that Israeli as a state based on ethnic-nationalism is inevitably racist is a highly problematic.
First most European states defined themselves as nation-states and ethnicity has played a major role in sustaining nationalism.
Within the Middle East the relationship between ethnicity and state formation is clearly at work in Turkey where constitution defines a citizen as a Turk (despite the 30% of the population who are Kurdish), and Egypt’s official title is the "Arab Republic of Egypt" (and yet it contains large Coptic, Nubian and Berber minorities).
It is not the case that supporters of the Kurdish right to self determination are denounced as racist who seek establish an exclusive ethnic state.
Nor is it the case that states not based on ethnic-nationalism are consequently accommodating to the indigenous populations as the example of the United States and the position of First Nation American graphically demonstrates.

The view that suggests that the attempt to create an ethnic-national state is either motivated by racism or unique is thus highly problematic given any serious study of nationalism. (26) Zionism is a form of nationalism which along with other all other nationalisms is necessarily based on the privilege of inclusion and the discrimination of exclusion. Strawson also argues against the analogy as applied to Israel proper by saying
"Israel...lacks the features of an apartheid state.
The Palestinian, Druze and other minorities in Israel are guaranteed equal rights under the Basic Laws.
All citizens of Israel vote in elections on an equal basis.
There are no legal restrictions on movement, employment or sexual or marital relations.
The universities are integrated.
Opponents of Zionism have free speech and assembly and may form political organizations."

Michael Kinsley's article "It's Not Apartheid", published in Slate and the Washington Post, states that Carter "makes no attempt to explain [the use of the word 'apartheid']" and refers to Carter's usage of the term as "a foolish and unfair comparison, unworthy of the man who won -- and deserved -- the Nobel Peace Prize..."
"To start with, no one has yet thought to accuse Israel of creating a phony country in finally acquiescing to the creation of a Palestinian state.
Palestine is no Bantustan...
Furthermore, Israel has always had Arab citizens....
No doubt many Israelis have racist attitudes toward Arabs, but the official philosophy of the government is quite the opposite, and sincere efforts are made to, for example, instill humanitarian and egalitarian attitudes in children.
That is not true, of course, in Arab countries, where hatred of Jews is a standard part of the curriculum."
Citing what he calls "the most tragic difference," Kinsley concludes: "If Israel is white South Africa and the Palestinians are supposed to be the blacks, where is their Mandela?"

Criticism of the "Israeli apartheid" usage for its inherent implication of racism has been widespread. In 2003, South Africa's minister for home affairs Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi said that "The Israeli regime is not apartheid. It is a unique case of democracy". According to Fred Taub, the President of Boycott Watch, "[t]he assertion ... that Israel is practicing apartheid is not only false, but may be considered libelous. ... The fact is that it is the Arabs who are discriminating against non-Muslims, especially Jews." Similarly, in 2004, Jean-Christophe Rufin, former vice-president of Médecins Sans Frontières and president of Action Against Hunger, recommended in a report about anti-Semitism commissioned by French Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin that charges of apartheid and racism against Israel be criminalized in France, to the extent they're unjustified. He wrote:
"[T]here is no question of penalising political opinions that are critical, for example, of any government and are perfectly legitimate.
What should be penalised in the perverse and defamatory use of the charge of racism against those very people who were victims of racism to an unparalleled degree.
The accusations of racism, of apartheid, of Nazism carry extremely grave moral implications.
These accusations have, in the situation in which we find ourselves today, major consequences which can, by contagion, put in danger the lives of our Jewish citizens.
It is why we invite reflection on the advisability and applicability of a law ... which would permit the punishment of those who make without foundation against groups, institutions or states accusations of racism and utilise for these accusations unjustified comparisons with apartheid or Nazism."

Irwin Cotler, a Canadian MP and anti-apartheid activist who was once a lawyer for Nelson Mandela said "The second manifestation [of anti-semitism] is the indictment of Israel as an apartheid state.

The idea that "Israeli apartheid" implies a policy of racial or other discrimination against Arabs or Muslims has been rejected by other figures. In 2004's The Trouble with Islam Today, Irshad Manji argues that the allegation of apartheid in Israel is deeply misleading, noting that there are in Israel several Arab political parties; that Arab-Muslim legislators have veto powers; and that Arab parties have overturned disqualifications. She also points to Arabs like Emile Habibi, who have been awarded prestigious prizes. She also observes that Israel has a free Arab pressmarker; that road signs bear Arabic translations; and that Arabs live and study alongside Jews. She also claims that Palestinans commuting from the West Bank are entitled to state benefits and legal protections.

Malcolm Hedding, a South African minister who worked against South African apartheid, says:
"Calling Israel an 'apartheid state' is absolute nonsense.
You might have structures that look like apartheid, but they're not.
The barrier fence has nothing to do with apartheid and everything to do with Israel's self-defense.
There was no such barrier until the second intifada, when people were being murdered on the highways.
And the country does not dehumanize its minority in the sense of apartheid.
The issues are totally different."
Hedding believes Israel has proven its desire to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians while granting political rights to its own Arab citizens within a liberal democratic system, but that the Palestinians remain committed to Israel's destruction. By contrast, he says, it was a tiny minority in South Africa that held power and once democracy came, the Nationalist Party that had dominated the masses disappeared.

Julia I. Bertelsmann, editor-in-chief of New Society: Harvard College Student Middle East Journal and Rhoda Kadalie disagree with the analogy, and believe it is motivated by politics. They say that the "Neither the far right nor the ANC's left can tolerate or even comprehend the economic success of South African Jews, which was largely achieved in spite of - not because of - both governments. Nor can they come to terms with a strong, successful, and democratic Israel. It goes against the dualism between strong oppressors and the weak oppressed according to which every political issue is framed in South Africa and every government failure is justified." They also note that Israel has been ranked "free" consistently in Freedom House's Freedom in the World rankings, unlike South Africa was during apartheid.

The West Bank and Gaza

New Historian Benny Morris told CAMERA:

"Israel is not an apartheid state — rather the opposite, it is easily the most democratic and politically egalitarian state in the Middle East, in which Arabs Israelis enjoy far more freedom, better social services, etc. than in all the Arab states surrounding it.
Indeed, Arab representatives in the Knessetmarker, who continuously call for dismantling the Jewish state, support the Hezbollah, etc., enjoy more freedom than many Western democracies give their internal Oppositions.
(The U.S. would prosecute and jail Congressmen calling for the overthrow of the U.S.
Govt. or the demise of the U.S.) The best comparison would be the treatment of Japanese Americans by the US Govt ... and the British Govt.
[incarceration] of German émigrés in Britain WWII ...
Israel's Arabs by and large identify with Israel's enemies, the Palestinians.
But Israel hasn't jailed or curtailed their freedoms en masse (since 1966 [when Israel lifted its state of martial law]).

Morris later added: "Israel ... has not jailed tens of thousands of Arabs indiscriminately out of fear that they might support the Arab states warring with Israel; it did not do so in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973 or 1982 — despite the Israeli Arabs' support for the enemy Arab states."

"As to the occupied territories, Israeli policy is fueled by security considerations (whether one agrees with them or not, or with all the specific measures adopted at any given time) rather than racism (though, to be sure, there are Israelis who are motivated by racism in their attitude and actions towards Arabs) — and indeed the Arab population suffers as a result.
But Gaza's and the West Bank's population (Arabs) are not Israeli citizens and cannot expect to benefit from the same rights as Israeli citizens so long as the occupation or semi-occupation (more accurately) continues, which itself is a function of the continued state of war between the Hamas-led Palestinians (and their Syrian and other Arab allies) and Israel."

President Carter has frequently reiterated the point that his "use of 'apartheid' does not apply to circumstances within Israel." Regarding the title of his book Carter has said:

"It's not Israel.
The book has nothing to do with what's going on inside Israel which is a wonderful democracy, you know, where everyone has guaranteed equal rights and where, under the law, Arabs and Jews who are Israelis have the same privileges about Israel.
That's been most of the controversy because people assume it's about Israel.
It's not.

"I've never alleged that the framework of apartheid existed within Israel at all, and that what does exist in the West Bank is based on trying to take Palestinian land and not on racism.
So it was a very clear distinction."

In his review of Carter's book Joseph Lelyveld notes that South Africa's Apartheid policy was also about land as much as racism, and comments that the use of "apartheid" by Carter is "basically a slogan, not reasoned argument".

Former South African President F.W. de Klerk, who with Nelson Mandela played a key role in ending apartheid, said in an interview with France24, when questioned relating to the analogy regarding the West Bank "I think comparisons are odious. I think it’s dangerous. It’s not a direct parallel."

In an op-ed for the Jerusalem Post, Gerald Steinberg, Professor of Political Studies at Bar Ilan Universitymarker, argued that "Black labor was exploited in slavery-like conditions under apartheid; in contrast, Palestinians are dependent on Israeli employment due to their own internal corruption and economic failures."

Ishmael Khaldi, deputy consul general of Israel for the Pacific Northwest, and Bedouin Muslim, in response to Israel Apartheid Week, criticising the analogy, says
Do Israel's Arab citizens suffer from disadvantage?
You better believe it.
Do African Americans 10 minutes from the Berkeley campus suffer from disadvantage - you better believe it, too.
So should we launch a Berkeley Apartheid Week, or should we seek real ways to better our societies and make opportunity more available...Vilification and false labeling is a blind alley that is unjust and takes us nowhere...You deny Israel the fundamental right of every society to defend itself...Your criticism is willfully hypocritical....You are betraying the moderate Muslims and Jews who are working to achieve peace...To the organizers of Israel Apartheid Week I would like to say: If Israel were an apartheid state, I would not have been appointed here, nor would I have chosen to take upon myself this duty.

See also


External links

Endorse the Analogy

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