Shame On Apartheid
The Guardians Middle East correspondent Chris McGreal has a two part series comparing the South African apartheid regime and Israel. He has lived in South Africa for 10 years and for 4 years in Jerusalem. The view is knowledgeable and the facts are from the ground. I recommend to read both parts.
Part one, Worlds Apart, looks at the inner working of the 'grey racism' in Israel.
Though the motives in both countries cases may be different, the methods applied and the outcome seem equivalent.
The specific apartheid language and openly displayed racism is much less developed in Israel, than it has been in South Africa, but the methods of legalized theft of property based on race are essentially the same. Allocation of state money for education, health care and infrastructure is all but proportional. Like in South Africa this leads to underdeveloped ghettos, reinforcing the basic us-better-than-them meme within the Jewish population.
McGreal cites many overwhelming facts to underpin the above, especially with regards to the Palestinians living within Israeli boarders.
The second part, Brothers in arms - Israel's secret pact with Pretoria, is a history of relations between apartheid South Africa and Israel. While some Jews took part in the ANC's fight against apartheid, the official collaboration was ever extended up to the cooperation to develop nuclear weapons.
There is no agreement if contemporary Israel is really comparable to South African apartheid.
The motives for the Israeli behavior are a different mix than they have been in South Africa. But as the effective results are quite similar, the fall of the South African apartheid regime, may also show a possible development in Israel.
But, as ordinary Israelis discovered, such a system cannot survive unchallenged. Apartheid collapsed in part because South African society was exhausted by its demands and the myth of victimhood among whites fell away. Israel has not got there yet. Many Israelis still think they are the primary victims of the occupation.
For Seidemann, the crucial issue is not how the apartheid system worked but how it began to disintegrate. "It unravelled because it couldn't be done. Apartheid drained so much energy from South African society that this was one of the compelling reasons beyond the economic sanctions and pressures that convinced De Klerk that this was not sustainable. This is what is coming to Israel."
Unfortunately, the situation in Israel might get even worse before it will become better.
International sanctions and boycotts may further a solution. Therefore I personally avoid to buy Israeli products when possible.
But a more effective way may be to continuously unveil the facts on the ground. Thorough information could generate shame. Shame, which may go a long way to change the opinion and behavior of the Jewish population of Israel and its international supporters.
In this, McGreal's piece is a good start.
Posted by Bernhard on February 7, 2006 at 09:35 AM
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