Heading toward an Israeli apartheid state

Daniel Blatman writes:

It has been 60 years since the apartheid state was established in South Africa. In March 1951, a few years after the racist National Party came to power, racial segregation was anchored in law. As was common in other countries that adopted racist laws in the 20th century, those in South Africa were accompanied by “laundered” explanations.

Hitler declared after the Nuremberg Race Laws were passed in 1935 that they would create a suitable basis for a separate but worthy existence for Jews in Germany alongside German society. The race laws in South Africa established that people of different colors cannot exist when mixed with each other – only in separate, protected spaces.

The tsunami of racist laws passed by the Knesset in recent months is also being explained by reasoned and worthy arguments: the right of small communities to preserve their own character (the Acceptance Committees Law ); the state’s right to prevent hostile use of the funds it allocates to education and culture (the Nakba Law ); and the right to deny citizenship to persons convicted of espionage or treason (the Citizenship Law ). But I believe that as in other historical instances, the aim of this legislation is the gradual establishment of an apartheid state in Israel, and the future separation on a racial basis of Jews and non-Jews.

An apartheid state is not created in the blink of an eye. What was created in Germany in 1935 was the outcome of a long and sometimes violent debate, which had been ongoing since the middle of the 19th century, about the place of Jews in modern Germany and Europe. Indeed, the desire to isolate and distance the Jews from society – legally and socially – was part of the belief system of anti-Semites in Europe for decades before Hitler came into power.

In this respect the Nazi regime, along with other regimes that passed racial separation laws (among them those in Romania, Hungary, Italy and Vichy France in 1940 ), only anchored in legislation a reality that had already been enthusiastically received by the populace. Of course, when such laws were enacted, the regimes involved did not support or imagine that at the end of the road, a “final solution” was waiting in its Nazi format. However, once the seeds were sown, no one was able to figure out what fruit they would bear.

The historical background of the Israeli apartheid state-in-the-making that is emerging before our eyes should be sought in 1967. It is part of a process that has been going on for about 44 years: What started as rule over another people has gradually ripened – especially since the latter part of the 1970s – into a colonialism that is nurturing a regime of oppression and discrimination with regard to the Palestinian population. It is robbing that population of its land and of its basic civil rights, and is encouraging a minority group (the settlers ) to develop a crude, violent attitude toward the Arabs in the territories. This was exactly the reality that, after many years, led to the establishment of the apartheid state in South Africa. [continue reading…]

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3 thoughts on “Heading toward an Israeli apartheid state

  1. Ian F Clark

    When I saw this “Apartheid in the making,” I thought “IN THE MAKING?” This has been de facto for many years. Then I saw it was from Ha’aretz, the milquetoast beacon of Israeli “liberalism.” Done deal. It’s all over. The Bantustans are in place. Pales tines aquifers are being bled dry. We can now all wring our collective hands, but press on with the manifest destiny and keep criticism at bay by screaming “Anti-Semetism” at any mild criticism. There, you can have your cake and eat it. Not to worry, unless you’re a cockroach…

  2. Norman

    A bit off the above subject, yet part of it too. The recent killing of the settlers family, the bombing too, makes one think of collateral damage. Easy to blame the Palestinians, of course, but then, it would serve the purpose. The facts that changes are taking place around Israel, must be having an effect on the knesset. After seeing how the “O” has flip-flopped lately, they should also be concerned about the U.S. being their back up. This will be interesting to watch, as time marches forward.

  3. delia ruhe

    Yes, Ian Clark, I agree that Apartheid “in the making” suggests that the writer is not fully out of his state of denial. But it’s progress. The official definition of Apartheid has long been met in Israel and the occupied territories.

    What intrigued me about this piece, however, were the allusions to Nazi Germany. You can go to jail for that in Germany, and soon in Canada a comparison like that will be enshrined in our hate law.

    There is an interesting interview of Ilan Pappé at CounterPunch. It really got me thinking about the pace of change, and about how Washington may be rethinking its relationship with Israel. Tony Judt warned that the US would one day abandon the “special relationship,” but I was getting real tired of waiting:


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