Editor’s note: For a brief look at some false assumptions related to this issue please see http://walloflies.org/ . For an expose’ of what is happening on the university campuses please see http://campusintifada.com/?p=viewing_guide .
For seven years now in various universities across the globe, there have been meetings and conferences linking Israel to the actions and policies of Apartheid South Africa (usually held the first two weeks of March). For a succinct description please note CAMERA’s portrayal of these events.
They come as part of “Israeli Apartheid Week,” a series of lectures, exhibits and events that single out Israel for fierce attack. Students are told the Jewish state is, by nature, a racist, colonial and oppressive state. They are told Israel should be boycotted, and even destroyed. They are told this by ideologues who distort facts about the country while ignoring genuine oppression in the Middle East and across the world.
Often the focus of attention is on Israel’s SECURITY FENCE and how this symbolizes a ‘wall of oppression’ when in reality it is a barrier that has led to a 90% reduction in terror attacks. The film “With God on Our Side” tried to use this argument but never made apparent the primary use of the fence. In the film a comment was made by one observer from South Africa. This individual was contacted by the writer for further clarification and made the disclaimer that he was not speaking from a professional perspective, but only as an observer, that he felt the limitation of movement, the check points, and restrictions of personal choice of employment made ‘the West Bank … like Apartheid’. Israel does not govern Judea and Samaria (West Bank), the Palestinian Authority does. The Palestinians suffer from their own failed government. This is an important distinctive that often gets lost in the conversation.
Now for a viewpoint from another native South African. Stan Goodenough has presented a clear and forceful argument to the contrary.
I am a South African who was born into, and lived through nearly half of, the apartheid era. During my childhood and teenage years my family relocated repeatedly, living in every corner of that country. I changed schools 13 times, and in three years as a member of the South African Defense Forces I was stationed in five different military bases across the land. I know South Africa well. I know apartheid well. I know Israel well.
And believe me, no factual or accurate comparisons can be drawn between that South Africa and this Israel.
Let me tell you what Israel would have to do to qualify as an apartheid state. But first, a couple of clarifications:
The charge is that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian Arabs is similar to White South Africa’s treatment of South African black citizens (which included full-blood “Africans,” mixed-race “coloreds” and the descendants of immigrant Asian laborers).
The whole argument collapses right there, because the Palestinian Arabs have never been Israeli citizens. Nor did/do they have any national history as “Palestinians” – neither in Israel nor anywhere else. They are Arabs – their country of origin is Arabia.
For starters, then, it is fallacious to compare Israel’s relationship with the Palestinian Arabs in any area to the apartheid governments’ relationships with their black South African citizens.
Next Goodenough makes the statement that Israeli-Arabs who comprise 20% of Israel’s population and that they “live in 15 towns and cities, mostly in and around the Galilee. They have full voting rights. Five Arab political parties are represented in the Knesset; there are 14 Arab members of Knesset, one has attained to a ministerial portfolio, one is a former and another is a current deputy Knesset Speaker.”
According to Goodenough:
Israeli Arabs enjoy complete freedom in their country. They can live, study, work and travel where they please. They have national health coverage and enjoy the same benefits as their fellow, Jewish, citizens.
What they do not have to do, is serve in the IDF (although some Druze and some Bedouin choose to do so and have served with distinction; even laying down their lives.)
He continues by describing 18 separate South African Apartheid laws and what they would look like IF in fact Israel was acting in concert with the same type of oppression. Here are a few examples
– Arabs would be required to be classified and registered in accordance with a racial classification (Population Registration Act).
– Arabs would be forced by law to live in Arabs-only residential areas and work in Arabs-only business areas (Group Areas Act).
– Arabs would have their names systematically removed from the voters’ roll until they were all deprived of their voting rights (Separate Representation of Voters Act).
– By law, Arabs would be deported from wherever they lived in Israel and forcefully settled in designated Arab-only areas (Bantu Authorities Act).
– Arabs would be evicted and have their homes destroyed if they tried to remain in “Jews-only” areas (Prevention of Illegal Squatters Act).
The detractors of Israel who participate in these events have as one of their goals to ultimately render the nation an ‘illegal’ entity. Do those in the Church who subscribe to this flawed logic (Israel is an Apartheid state) realize the outcome of their positions? Will these Christians be able to stop the momentum of hatred that seeks to justify terror against the State of Israel, even its annihilation? What kind of slippery slope is this? Granted as followers of Jesus we do not agree with all the actions of the government of Israel or any nation, especially America. However, if God’s hand is upon Israel for his ultimate purpose at this time in history, whose side are they really on?
John Paul is is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Jewish Issues.
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