Friday, March 20, 2015

Benjamin Netanyahu and the Apartheid State

Benjamin Netanyahu may have won the Israeli election, by using fear and racism to get people to vote for him.

Like his good buddy Stephen Harper is trying to do in Canada.

But it is tuning out to be a pyrrhic victory.

For while he may deny he is a racist. 

On election day in Israel, Netanyahu raised eyebrows by warning voters that his government was “in danger” because “Arab voters are coming out in droves to the polls.” When asked to respond to allegations that he is racist, Netanyahu said only, “I’m not.”

The facts speak for themselves. And even some strong supporters of Israel are now accusing him of creating an apartheid state. 

In my quarter century as Washington correspondent for Jewish newspapers, I frequently defended Israel against charges that it had created an apartheid system in the West Bank. But this week's election, with Benjamin Netanyahu poised to serve another term with an even more hardline coalition, means that apartheid is the path Israeli voters have chosen.

With all that designation means:

The inevitable results will include even greater international isolation for the Jewish state, a boost to efforts to apply boycotts and sanctions, diminished support from American Jews and endlessly intensifying cycles of violence.

For he can lie like a thief, or in his case a war criminal, but nothing can change this depressing fact:

In the absence of any willingness to work toward a Palestinian state in the West Bank, the future is clear: continuing occupation with no effort to find a way to end it, accelerating settlement construction and a hardening of policies toward Palestinians in the West Bank. In other words, apartheid.

Once, it was possible to argue that Israel's policies were not the same as apartheid because their stated goal, however imperfectly pursued, was to end the occupation. No more: Bibi's reelection makes it clear that Israeli voters, more clearly aware of Netanyahu's intent than ever, have chosen the apartheid path, and will now have to live with the consequences.

I say depressing, because I have no axe to grind in that region. All I want is for Israelis and Palestinians to live together, each in their own nation, in peace and security.

And for that gaping wound in the side of the world to be healed at last...

But all those who rail against the use of the word apartheid, should be silent now. For some things cannot be defended, and racism is one of them.

And one thing is clearer than it ever has been.

Until the day that the Israelis liberate the Palestinians, they will not liberate themselves.

And for all who live there, the endless nightmare will continue...

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  1. Anonymous10:35 PM

    "Until the day that the Israelis liberate the Palestinians" or until somebody goes in there and bombs the neo-nazi zionists back into the stone age!

    1. hi that's not a solution. Not for me anyway. I want a serious peace process, and a negotiated one, not more violence. The Israelis and the Palestinians will be neighbours until the day the world ends so sooner or later they will have to learn to live in peace together....

  2. Unfortunately, this is the path that has been followed by Israel for decades. The naive supporters and apologists always wilfully looked the other way as Israel gradually took the land and pretended to want peace. Now that the Israel government itself has more or less blatantly admitted that it is not interested in peace or a just settlement, we progressive are left to shake our heads and say, "Yeah, we told you this all along and you ridiculed us, but the jig is up now." But will that make any difference? I seriously doubt it. That's the saddest part of all.

    1. hi Kirby...I realize the peace process has been systematically sabotaged by Israel for as long as I can remember. But I think there is some room for optimism. Netanyahu's grotesque victory has shocked even some of Israel's strongest supporters in the U.S. and made it clear who doesn't want peace. The Europeans are in an uproar, so Benny may have to bend, and hopefully some kind of agreement can finally be reached. But if I'm wrong you can definitely call me a hopeless optimist again... ;)

  3. Years ago when South Africa still had aparthied, I was reading a news group where a South African participant was quite indignent when someone said that Israel was an apartheid state like South Africa. He said that as horrible as South African apartheid was, they would never think of treating their blacks the way Israel treats Palestinians.

    I have no idea if it was true but it stuck with me.

    1. hi jrkrideau...that's a great story. I have to admit I'm not big on analogies, because each situation is unique. But what is clear to me is that a country cannot occupy another for such a long time without being corrupted. So it is in Israel's interest as well to reach a peace agreement. Because as many have pointed out you can have democracy or brutality, but you can't have both...

  4. We all know that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results...this political party is fascist, they are neo-Nazis as far as I'm concerned (and my family background is Jewish) and it doesn't seem any different then after Germany collapsed in fear after WW1..the difference is, Germany was so badly treated as the loser, they hadn't much, Israel has plenty of plenty and could have chosen to vote for peace...they did not..and now they will reap what they sow..the entire world is disgusted.

    1. The peace process has never worked, it's just a cover for Israel to confiscate more palestinian land and build more settlements. Yes the Palestinians and some Israelis want peace, but the Palestinians have been the losers in each peace agreement. How do the Palestinians negotiate with some one who's got them by the throat. I don't believe in violence as a solution either. The world cannot continue to be indifferent to Israels apartheid against the Palestinians. Until the US stops supporting the US and the rest of the world pressures Israel diplomatically to stop their war crimes against Palestine and come to a fair agreement that both countries can benefit by, things will remain the same. Israel is determined to have all Palestinians leave. They have had a free hand in treating the Palestinians with force, oppression and genocide since 1948. The world watched. Now it's time for the world to act on behalf of the Palestinian people. That won't be happening none to soon though.

    2. hi Mizdarlin...I understand what you're saying, but history is like a river, circumstances change, and Israel has never been so criticized and isolated. And eventually it will have to bend...

    3. hi Pamela...I agree with you the peace process has been a farce, and Israel has been able to sabotage every hopeful initiative. But it's game is being challenged, I'm hopeful that more pressure than ever can be exerted even on the Netanyahu regime. And who knows if he might not end up being able to play the same role Nixon did with China. At least that is my fervent hope, because that horrible situation can't end soon enough...