Contrasting Israeli Apartheid with the South African experience

Ronnie Kasrils delivered an excellent address in Capetown on the extent of Israeli apartheidism.

Both apartheid South Africa and Zionist Israel were colonial, settler states created on the basis of the harsh dispossession of the land and birthright of the indigenous people. This is unblushingly documented in Israel’s case from the time of Herzl through Jabotinsky, Ben Gurion, Menachem Begin, Moshe Dayan to Sharon et al. Both states preached and implemented a policy based on racial ethnicity; the sole claim of Jews in Israel and whites in South Africa to exclusive citizenship; monopolised rights in law regarding the ownership of land, property, business; superior access to education, health, social, sporting and cultural amenities, pensions and municipal services at the expense of the original indigenous population; the virtual monopoly membership of military and security forces, and privileged development along their own racial supremacist lines – even both countries marriage laws are designed to safeguard racial “purity”. The fact that the Palestinian minority within Israel is allowed to vote hardly redresses the injustice in all other matters of basic human rights. In any case those Palestinians allowed to stand for election to the Knesset do so on condition that they dare not question Israel’s existence as a Jewish state.

Israeli apartheidism, based on fascist ideals of ethnic purity, is exposed as far worse even than that practised by its benefactor and ally, the white South African state.

When former deputy foreign minister Aziz Pahad and I visited Yasser Arafat in his demolished headquarters in Ramallah as part of a South African delegation in 2004, he pointed around him and said “See this is nothing but a Bantustan!” No, we responded, pointing out that no Bantustan, in fact not even our townships, had been bombed by warplanes, pulverised by tanks. To a wide-eyed Arafat we pointed out that Pretoria pumped in funds, constructed impressive administration buildings, even allowed for Bantustan airlines to service the Mickey Mouse capitals in order to impress the world that they were serious about so-called “separate development.” The Bantustans were not even fenced-in.

Abhorrently, Israel’s colonial racism continues to be condoned by the west.

What is so shameless about this latter-day colonial sham is that Zionist Israel has been permitted by the West to aspire to such a goal even into the 21st Century.

… It needs to be frankly raised that if the crimes of the Holocaust are at the top end of the scale of human barbarity in modern times, where do we place the human cost of what has so recently occurred in Gaza, the numerous bloodstained milestone since 1948 or the crimes in Lebanon in 1983 and 2006?

How do we evaluate the inhumanity of dropping bombs and blazing white phosphorous on civilian populations, burning people alive, roasting and gassing them in a Gaza ghetto under relentless siege with no place to run or hide. For 22 days relentless bombardment whole families vaporised before the horrified eyes of a surviving parent or child.

In agreement with Kasrils, we also doubt Obama’s milquetoast sermon will produce any change in the ziofascist enterprise. Can fascism be successfully fought with moderation? While we back boycotts, divestments and sanctions, the US government delivers 10 more years of military funding to Israel in advance.

Dare we believe that an America led by Barak Obama will make a difference? Some raise the hope that after 15 years the stalled Road Map might spring back to life and with it the chimera of a Two-State solution. One notes that President Obama only calls for a freeze in settlement construction – and precious little else. Can 12% or a few percent more in horse- trading provide for a viable Palestinian state? One doubts it.

Why is the concept of one multicultural state (the United States of Palestine?) not on the table? Israel in its present ultra-nationalist form, a faux democracy without individual protections provided by a constitution or bill of rights, currently led by racist ultra rightwingers, is a belligerent threat to the region and via its oppression of Palestinians, a threat to the US.

The formation of two ‘states’, where Israel, the ‘north’ holds most of the important resources, particularly water, where its pestilent illegal settlements still riddle the Palestinian landscape, where it holds the strategic advantage and Palestinians remain disempowered and beleaguered in the ‘south’, continuing to provide cheap exploited labout for the elite ‘north’, is unviable and undesirable. Such an outcome may well provide the spark longed for by Israeli ethnic supremacists for transfer of Palestinians who still live in Israel to the new Palestinian institutionalised crypto-bantustan.