It is ‘full-fledged apartheid’ now but Americans can use a familiar term, ‘segregation’ — Mustafa Barghouthi

Israel/Palestine
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John Kerry’s use of the word “apartheid” before the Trilateral Commission last Friday and the brouhaha it has caused is spurring a debate we’ve never had in this country about Palestinian conditions. It’s not that enlightened a debate in the mainstream. But at least it’s beginning.

First, here is Mustafa Barghouthi talking to the Institute for Middle East Understanding yesterday on a conference call:

The difference between me and Secretary Kerry is that he is saying that if Israel does not allow a [Palestinian] state, it will become apartheid. And I am saying, it is already apartheid.

This occupation that has been there for 47 years has already transformed into a full fledged system of segregation and apartheid. And we will not accept that…

Americans can use another term, segregation. I think you know segregation more. Because that’s what you had in the United States, a system of segregation against people of African origin. But it is apartheid. And you cannot ignore– What does apartheid mean? Apartheid is a word from Afrikaaner language which means that you have two systems of laws for two people living in the same place. And that’s exactly what we have today in Palestine.

Barghouthi is a Palestinian statesman who lives in the occupied territories. You’d think that more American media would be asking people like him what they think of the occupation.

Not on Andrea Mitchell’s MSNBC show yesterday, Senator Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire Republican, piped the talking points:

The comments are completely inappropriate by Senator Kerry, they were wrong…

Later Susan Page of USA Today told Mitchell that the apartheid analogy is just as inappropriate as the Nazi Germany analogy, and should be barred from US discourse of the conflict. But is that fair? Page is saying that alleging that Israel is guilty of a crime that other countries have also been accused of and that is in the international law books, as Barghouthi indicated, is equivalent to comparing Israel to a regime that is widely considered the greatest evil in human history. One is a legal question, the other an incendiary analogy. But that is the talking point: the apartheid claim is not a factual claim but “incendiary” and therefore illegitimate.

On Joe Scarborough’s show yesterday morning, John Heilemann began bravely:

“It’s not actually an unreasonable statement.”

But under Scarborough’s questioning, Heilemann began walking it back. There “is a risk of that happening,” Heilemann said. “Some Israeli politicians have voiced this in the past.” The risk is that “a Jewish minority” would be governing a Palestinian majority. Though Heilemann concluded, Kerry’s choice of words was “kind of intemperate and inflammatory.”

Scarborough and Heilemann suggested that apartheid has to do with a racial minority governing a racial majority. It doesn’t; from the legal definition:

For the purpose of the present Convention, the term ‘the crime of apartheid’, which shall include similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practiced in southern Africa, shall apply to the following inhumane acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them..

If you read some of those inhumane acts, from the persecution and denial of dignity to a group, to the denial of their participation in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country, to their arbitrary imprisonment, to the creation of ghettoes and preserves for their separation, to the denial of mixed marriages… you will find many aspects of the Israeli system of division.

The Nation’s Katrina vanden Heuvel nailed it yesterday:

He regrets speaking the truth. Kerry Expresses Regret After Apartheid Remark http://t.co/al3gqBhfRo

— Katrina vandenHeuvel (@KatrinaNation) April 29, 2014

Andrew Sullivan makes the same point in an excellent post: “John Kerry tells the truth, therefore he must apologize” that goes from the question of Palestinian conditions to the issue of the U.S. conversation:

The state of Israel controls a large amount of neighboring territory, seized in war, in which the inhabitants are divided by ethnicity, with one group, the original inhabitants of the land or refugees from ethnic cleansing, are systematically disadvantaged compared with the other. They are penned into eight distinct areas from which they have to get through checkpoints to move around. They have no right to vote for the government that controls their lives. This arrangement has now lasted a year longer than the apartheid regime in South Africa – and, unlike John Kerry Makes Statement On Ukraine At U.S. State Department that regime, looks set to continue indefinitely. It also comprises a massive project of ethnic and social engineering in which the dominant ethnic group continues to settle the occupied territory in an attempt – forbidden by the Geneva Conventions – to change its demographic nature.
None of this is in dispute. But when an American secretary of state explains this in private he is forced to recant publicly. And that surreal kabuki dance is an almost perfect symbol of why US engagement with Israel-Palestine is, at this juncture, such an enormous waste of time. The US is barred from telling the truth, which makes a real negotiation impossible. The Israelis know that they will never be subject to real US pressure, because the US Congress stands ever-ready to do whatever Israel asks. And so the beat goes on.

In interviewing Mustafa Barghouthi, Michael Brown of IMEU pointed out the same Orwellian issue, what you can and can’t say here, when he quoted Kerry’s apology for using the word:

“While Justice Minister Livni, former Prime Ministers Barak and Ohlmert have all invoked the specter of apartheid to underscore the dangers of a unitary state for the future, it is a word best left out of the debate here at home.”

Brown said, So it’s OK for Israelis to use the word, but not for Americans. John Heilemann made the same appeal: “Some Israeli politicians have voiced this in the past.” As if our speech must be licensed by theirs?

We’ve seen this double standard for years. And the issue is Why? I say that it is revealing; it reflects the power of the lobby over the American discourse. For the lobby believes that criticism of Israel is fine if it happens among Jews who understand the need for Israel, e.g. Israelis, but it cannot be permitted in front of a diverse population in the U.S., because non-Jews often feel no affection for Israel and in fact may then call for a binational state or single democracy over there, as Truman did.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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82 Responses

  1. Woody Tanaka
    April 30, 2014, 11:11 am

    The most dumbfounding comment on this entire subject is the notion that the 45+ years of apartheid in the occupied territories somehow doesn’t count to make Israel an apartheid state (even as it came on the heels of a generation of Palestinians in Israel being held under martial law based solely on their ethno-relgiious background) because those areas were never annexed and thus those people are not de jure citizens of Israel, without the speaker even addressing the fact that those decisions by Israel — to de jure annex some parts of Palestine and leave portions merely de jure “occuped” — are, themselves, acts of apartheid.

    Nowhere, in any accepted definition of the crime of apartheid, is common citizenship a requirement for the crime to be present. (And, indeed, that must be so, otherwise the offending state can escape the crime by simply declaring, as its first act, that those it wishes to suffer are no longer citizens.)

    A similar false argument is made when they argue that’s it’s either apartheid or an occupation, as if the latter cannot be part of the apartheid regime – a truly dumb argument.

    • Krauss
      April 30, 2014, 1:19 pm

      The most dumbfounding comment on this entire subject is the notion that the 45+ years of apartheid in the occupied territories somehow doesn’t count to make Israel an apartheid state

      Actually not that dumbfounding. Consider:

      1. The central argument was always, at least from “liberal” Zionists, that the ’67 occupation was a move made in hysteria and religious fervor, i.e. a deviation from the norm. Of course, we now know better. It is a consistent historical pattern of colonization. But still, we have to understand how the debate was shaped in previous years.

      In addition, back in those days, there wasn’t an Apartheid wall. There weren’t tons of checkpoints. Palestinians could move freely from Ramallah to Tel Aviv in their car. Of course, the situation wasn’t as bloomy as that, but it was much better than it is today. This made it harder to argue what we are arguing today, and easier for Zionists to say that the real impact has been marginal and these settlers will be removed within due time. It wasn’t hard to believe by looking at the ground, at least during the first decade or so.

      2. The amount of settlers in the early 15-20 years was also far less, amplifying the argument.

      3. The third argument was something along the lines of “every country has its extremists. You have neo-Nazis and skinheads, we have settlers. They do not represent the majority, they are in the 5-10% range of our population”. For a long time, especially with Holocaust guilt standing much higher, this kind of argument came through.

      What has happened in the post-Camp David era was the realization that the settlers are no longer a marginalized minority, unrepresentative of “Middle Israel”, the kind of secular, white Jew from Tel Aviv you’d see on TV, often talking and reminiscing with some gooey-eyed American liberal Jew like Friedman, Remnick or the like.

      The massive settlement growth under Camp David undermined that image, and the rise and rise of the Likud and similar parties over the past 15 years has made sure to dent the notion that these settlers aren’t representative. Lieberman, the foreign minister, lives in an illegal settlement. The housing minister, the interior minister, the economy minister and so on. It’s deep now.

      But it wasn’t always like this. Most Israeli government elites didn’t live in settlements for much of the 20th century(if we use the modern version of a “settlement”. In many ways the entire country is stolen land.)

      • Krauss
        April 30, 2014, 1:23 pm

        A few words about the definition of Apartheid. It’s important to push back against the claim that Jews have to be in the absolute minority for there to be Apartheid. You see this line of thinking, as usual, coming from “liberal” Zionists, desperate as they are to avoid the unavoidable.

        White Southerners always outnumbered blacks during Jim Crow, yet did that let them off the hook?

        And as Phil demonstrated, the definition of Apartheid has nothing to do with absolute numbers, even if it is often presented this way by Israeli apartchiks and Apartheid apologists.

        It is likely that from here on out, the debate will center less about if using the A-word is okay but how we should define the A-word.
        This is where the battle will be next, as Zionists will cling to a numerical narrow definition, ignoring that even if it was the case that Jews make up a majority from the river to the sea, does that excuse the violent Apartheid afflicting a significant minority of the population?

        And that is a question they know they can’t win on, so they will try to move the definition of Apartheid to shield themselves. And we should catch them every time and crush them when they try it.

      • Woody Tanaka
        April 30, 2014, 2:02 pm

        Krauss,

        Very interesting points. Thanks!

      • Philip Weiss
        April 30, 2014, 2:54 pm

        In his interview, Barghouthi stated something I don’t ever hear in the US press: 6 of Netanyahu’s cabinet ministers are themselves illegal settlers. Some coalition

      • Kay24
        May 1, 2014, 7:10 am

        That explains why these scoundrels are never prosecuted.
        Apparently the US State Dept. is keeping an eye (but no one does anything).

        The US State Department published inflammatory remarks about Israel and “settlers” on Wednesday, just days after US Secretary of State John Kerry said Israel could become an “apartheid state.”

        The 2013 anti-terrorism report investigated terror activity across the globe in 2013, and was published on its website. The “Israel, West Bank, and Gaza” section, however, focuses intensely on “extremist Israeli settlers” and subtly calls for them to be prosecuted by the UN.

        “Attacks by extremist Israeli settlers against Palestinian residents, property, and places of worship in the West Bank continued and were largely unprosecuted [sic] according to UN and NGO sources,” the report claims, citing the leftist UN Office of the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs.

        The report also cited “399 attacks by extremist Israeli settlers that resulted in Palestinian injuries or property damage” and deemed them “violent extremists” – mostly over “price tag” attacks against Palestinian Arab homes and property.
        -Israel National News (article goes on to whine about Palestinian crimes not taken into account….yeah right, that is what the zionist media of America has been constantly focusing on, for years)

      • Hostage
        May 1, 2014, 12:53 pm

        That explains why these scoundrels are never prosecuted.

        Well this sort of thing doesn’t help the case for the prosecution: See “Israel’s High Court rules residents of settlements can serve as justices: Rejects petition against appointment of Sohlberg to Supreme Court bench.” link to haaretz.com

        You can’t even be a dog catcher in the city where I live, unless you are an actual resident, but Israelis are seemingly eager to outsource their government.

      • Hostage
        April 30, 2014, 11:20 pm

        But still, we have to understand how the debate was shaped in previous years. In addition, back in those days, there wasn’t an Apartheid wall.

        Nonsense, Ben Gurion had publicly charged the Palestine Government with racial discrimination and police state tactics in 1947, before his government turned right around and employed the same emergency laws and police state tactics against the “Arab” citizens of Israel. link to jta.org

        By the early 1960s, the international community was already comparing the plight of Palestinians living under the 1945 Emergency regulations and martial law in Israel to South African apartheid. The Iraqi and South African UN representatives said as much on the record and in the mainstream press.

        The Israeli government didn’t just transfer its population into mixed communities in Palestine. It established Jewish-only military settlements. FYI, international law prohibited deportation of civilians. The Jordanian constitution prohibited the government from exiling any citizen and that law should have remained in effect under the terms of Article 43 of the Hague Convention. So Israel argued that the British publication in its own national gazette of the Order in Council that repealed the Emergency Regulations of 1945, had no legal effect in Palestine. It did that in order to revive its usage in the occupied territories and East Jerusalem, while claiming it had just “inherited” the inhuman law from the British.

        Israel subsequently changed its policies and openly embraced civilian settlements, as such, under the Begin regime in 1977. That same year the 1st Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions designated policies of apartheid and transfer by an occupying power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies as war crimes. link to icrc.org

        In 1977, the US Senate held hearings on the Colonization of the West Bank, where legal experts testified that Israel viewed Arab citizens as a security threat, simply because they were Arab. They noted the responsible cabinet minister, Ariel Sharon, had announced a policy in the mainstream press, including the Jerusalem Post, to use inland strips of Jewish settlements to disrupt the territorial contiguity of large adjacent Palestinian and Israeli Arab populations. link to loc.gov UN and press reports about the Sharon regime’s policy labeled it Bantustanization.

    • Hostage
      April 30, 2014, 10:23 pm

      (And, indeed, that must be so, otherwise the offending state can escape the crime by simply declaring, as its first act, that those it wishes to suffer are no longer citizens.)

      Yes, the 1950 Law of Return and Nationality Acts were used to do that and were an example of Grand Apartheid.

      A similar false argument is made when they argue that’s it’s either apartheid or an occupation, as if the latter cannot be part of the apartheid regime – a truly dumb argument.

      Especially in light of the fact that 173 countries have ratified Article 85 of the 1st Addition Protocol designating the practice of apartheid and the transfer by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies as grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and war crimes. link to icrc.org

  2. Donald
    April 30, 2014, 11:13 am

    I forced myself to watch part of “Hardball” yesterday. Chris talked about the apartheid remark with Jeremy Ben Ami and some MSNBC drone. Matthews tried to make it into a purely partisan rightwing attack on the President–they all seemed to think it was wrong to use the word apartheid. Here’s the transcript. You have to scroll down most of the way to get to the apartheid discussion. Obviously Chris is terrified of examining the substance of the issue–he only cares about whether the politics of it is good or bad for the Democrats. And he is critical of the “warhawks”, but only in his narrowly limited cowardly partisan way.

    link

    • Krauss
      April 30, 2014, 1:28 pm

      Chris Matthews is spineless on this issue. He’s over 65 years old. He comes from a different generation, where you had to kowtow to Jewish-Zionist pressure in a different way than today. It’s bad today, but you have to remember that the NYT ran columns from people like Bill Safire that essentially said, if you criticize Israel, we will have a new Holocaust.

      That’s how extreme the debate was when he was coming of age as a journalist.

      Old dog can’t learn new things that easily.

      By the way, take a look at this quote, from his transcript:

      You either end up having Arab people live as are residents in your country but not as citizens and therefore you don`t have true democracy or you allow the Arabs to all vote and you end up with a non-Jewish state, a Levantine state.

      I thought that was well-known that terrible set of choices down the road.

      As Rania Khalek pointed out about the recent Rudoren article in the NYT, this level of casual racism is pretty shocking, would never happen to non-whites in this country. Yet it rolls of the tongue of “liberals” like Rudoren and Matthews.
      And nobody seems to react, at least in the MSM media. They are all so accustomed to it.

      It shows just how incredibly deep the racial supremacist Zionist narrative is in the beltway media, and how only the Zionist narrative counts. It’s “left-wing” racial Supremacism vs “right-wing” racial supremacism.

    • Kay24
      April 30, 2014, 4:35 pm

      Chris Mathews is no different from the others who work for zionist msm, USA.
      Here is an article from Mondoweiss, where he admits he has taken (junket) trips to Israel, at the expense of Israeli lobbies:

      link to mondoweiss.net

      Now how can we NOT think, that Mathews lost any sense of credibility and integrity, when he accepted the freebie trip, and gave up being unbiased. They all toe the zionist line.

  3. ckg
    April 30, 2014, 11:28 am

    Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent, in an endorsement of Kerry’s choice of wording, also falls into the same fallacy as Scarborough and Heilemann:

    The first thing to understand about [Kerry's Trilateral Commision] statement is that everything in it is completely true. You have, right now, Israel presiding over a population of Palestinians in the West Bank who lack political and human rights. They are under Israeli rule, but are not Israeli citizens. The future prospect of apartheid comes from what is sometimes called “the demographic problem,” which is that Palestinian birth rates are substantially higher than Jewish Israeli birth rates, and eventually the number of Palestinians will exceed the number of Israeli citizens, at which point you have a minority government ruling over a majority population without citizenship rights.

    The Rome statute, as you point out, does not require the oppressors to be in the minority. It would also apply to Jim Crow if it were still still active.

    • Henry Norr
      April 30, 2014, 2:12 pm

      @ckg: I don’t think the column you quote from is really by Greg Sargent. It’s in “The Plum Line,” which he writes most of, and the heading on the the pages there includes “Greg Sargent’s take from a liberal perspective,” but that particular post – “Kerry “apartheid” controversy shows limits on debate over Israel” – says it’s by Paul Waldman.

      I don’t know anything about either Sargent or Waldman, so I don’t know what if any difference it makes which of them wrote it, but just for the sake of accuracy…

      • ckg
        April 30, 2014, 4:09 pm

        Thanks Henry–you’re right.

  4. Annie Robbins
    April 30, 2014, 11:31 am

    i spent all morning reading the fallout in the american press over the use of the word, so i’m glad you covered it phil. what’s that saying ‘First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

    it’s just amazing to me, the suggestion kerry should resign over the use of the word. the gauntlet came down fast and hard and he conceded. it reminds me of a kindergarten classroom where the students get a huge lecture because someone used the F word. the lecture is so damning everyone will be afraid to use it again, allegedly.

    well, google “A word” link to newyorker.com

    JOHN KERRY AND THE “A-WORD”

    …..2. Kerry shouldn’t have used the word “apartheid.” In his statement on Monday night, he pointed out that Olmert, Barak, and even Tzipi Livni, Israel’s current Minister of Justice, have all “invoked the specter of apartheid to underscore the dangers of a unitary state for the future.” That’s true. But from the Israeli perspective they are family. Kerry is Secretary of State—America’s top foreign-policy maker and diplomat. Unfortunately…….[blabla]

    In Kerry’s defense, he must have thought his remarks would remain private. But that doesn’t wholly exonerate him. [!!!]……..

    … he put his fist in a hornet’s nest that should have been perfectly visible to him. If he had used the term “undemocratic state” instead of “apartheid state,” he would have gotten the same meaning across, and he wouldn’t have been forced into issuing a humiliating clarification….

    The one place you can’t have a reasonable discussion about Israel is Washington.

    i swear, this is what it’s come to. they want to monitor our speech. the A-word!

    • ckg
      April 30, 2014, 11:52 am

      John Cassidy doesn’t seem to realize that being an “undemocratic state” is insufficient to get the country’s leaders brought before the Hague. But an “apartheid state” is a different matter.

    • Donald
      April 30, 2014, 11:56 am

      I think Cassidy is just talking about the political facts of life in DC. Also, diplomats aren’t supposed to tell the unvarnished truth. That said, I don’t think the rest of us should pay the slightest bit of respect for what DC people think . By Washington rules, one can condemn Palestinian terror, but not Israeli apartheid. The hell with that.

    • Henry Norr
      April 30, 2014, 2:24 pm

      >>it reminds me of a kindergarten classroom where the students get a huge lecture because someone used the F word.

      It’s worse than that! Whatever you think about kids using the F word, we all know that in this culture it’s seen as an obscenity that shouldn’t be used in polite company. But “apartheid,” though it’s a moral obscenity, is not a “dirty word” – in South Africa it was the official name for a set of public policies, it was debated all over the world, and the word was eventually enshrined in international law to describe a particular kind of crime.

      In terms of your analogy, it’s as if the kids were subjected to that intimidating lecture not because one of them dropped an F bomb, but because one of them made a serious allegation of rape (or actually didn’t even make an allegation, but simply suggested that some behavior might in the future be defined as rape).

      • tree
        April 30, 2014, 2:38 pm

        I’ve always thought that Hans Christian Andersen got it wrong in “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. The much more believable story is that when the child cried out that the Emperor was naked, he was castigated by one and all and scuttled off to a mental facility. The citizens of the town continued on as usual, admiring the Emperor’s cool threads.

    • lysias
      April 30, 2014, 3:26 pm

      Seymour Hersh has had to go to the London Review of Books to publish his two recent articles strongly suggesting that it was the opposition in Syria that used the sarin gas. The New Yorker, which has published him for decades, wouldn’t print them.

    • Citizen
      April 30, 2014, 7:54 pm

      Krauthammer says Kerry should be asked to resign. He’s a god right up there with O Reilly on Fox News channel.

      • Kay24
        May 1, 2014, 7:14 am

        It is so obvious that these so called American patriots, keep putting an alien nation above their own nation, leaders, and officials. The immediate defense of this brutal occupier, is unbelievable. It shows just how powerful the detestable Israeli lobbies can be, and how swiftly they are able to get their American servants to do their bidding.

  5. Henry Norr
    April 30, 2014, 11:35 am

    Good to see you quoting a legal definition of apartheid, Phil, because I think we all need to emphasize the point that calling Israel an apartheid state doesn’t mean it’s just like South Africa, but rather that its actions meet the legal definition. But there are actually two (at least) definitions of apartheid in international law. Yours is from the 1973 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, but I think the other – from the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court – is more useful, not just because it’s more recent, but because it more clearly abstracts the crime from the South African example. I posted relevant excerpts from it in a comment on yesterday’s apartheid thread:

    According to Article 7, Paragraph 2, Part (h) of the Rome Statute,

    “The crime of apartheid” means inhumane acts of a character similar to those referred to in paragraph 1, committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.

    The acts listed in Paragraph 1 of that article include murder, “deportation or forcible transfer of population,” “imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law,” torture, and especially “persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law….

    Of particular note: none of the definitions in any way require that the victims be a majority within a given political entity and the oppressors a minority for apartheid to exist. A majority can clearly practice apartheid toward a minority.

    • Zach S
      April 30, 2014, 1:08 pm

      But the majorities and minorities do need to be racial groups. Israelis and Palestinians are not racial groups and never have been.

      • Woody Tanaka
        April 30, 2014, 1:27 pm

        “But the majorities and minorities do need to be racial groups. ”

        No they don’t. In international law, “racial groups” are deemed to include groups based on race, as well as ethnicity, descent, etc. See, e.g., the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, (which states, “the term ‘racial discrimination’ shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.”)

        It is worth remembering that in South Africa, apartheid was based not only on race as it is commonly understood, but ethnicity, as well, as South Africans of Indian descent were subject to apartheid restrictions. So the excuse that Israel isn’t an apartheid state because it is discriminatory on ethnic grounds is simply untenable.

      • Zach S
        May 1, 2014, 11:10 am

        Woody: Israelis and Palestinians are not ethnicities either. The discrimination you refer to is based on nationality, not race or ethnicity.

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 1, 2014, 12:02 pm

        “Woody: Israelis and Palestinians are not ethnicities either. The discrimination you refer to is based on nationality, not race or ethnicity.”

        First, “ethnicity” among anthropologists and political anthropologists, is synonymous with both “nationality” and “citizen.” So both “Israeli” and “Palestinian” are ethnicities, but not in exactly the same way, and “Palestinian” is an ethnicity which is synonymous with “nationality.”

        Second, even if you were right in attempting to distinguish “nationality” and “ethnicity”, it wouldn’t matter, because discrimination based on nationality is no less apartheid than it would be based on ethnicity.

      • Hostage
        May 1, 2014, 3:06 pm

        Woody: Israelis and Palestinians are not ethnicities either. The discrimination you refer to is based on nationality, not race or ethnicity.

        No, since the legal definition of racial discrimination in Article 1 of the ICERD that is employed to prohibit apartheid in Article 3, was based upon existing race laws that included any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on the usage of the terms “race”, “colour”, “descent”, or “national or ethnic origin”. For an example of racial discrimination based upon maternal “descent”, See “Jewish school racially discriminated against boy, court rules: Supreme court says London comprehensive broke law by refusing to admit 12-year-old it did not recognise as Jewish link to theguardian.com

      • libra
        May 1, 2014, 4:05 pm

        Zach S: Woody: Israelis and Palestinians are not ethnicities either. The discrimination you refer to is based on nationality, not race or ethnicity.

        In a single state they’d have the same nationality so that would mean there couldn’t be any discrimination. Sounds like a winner. Thanks Zach.

      • Hostage
        May 1, 2014, 7:34 pm

        In a single state they’d have the same nationality so that would mean there couldn’t be any discrimination. Sounds like a winner. Thanks Zach.

        There have been Jews and Arabs in the same state since the era of the Palestine Mandate. Nonetheless, they’ve never been considered the same nationality under Israeli law. It’s one of the black letter Judge-made laws which comprise the control framework of apartheid. It has been employed to exclude the indigenous Palestinian Arab minority, while including all extraterritorial and alien Jews in a two-tiered system of municipal laws that grant superior rights and privileges to persons of Jewish (Israeli) nationality:

        “the wish of a handful of Jews to break away from the nation and create a new concept of an Israeli nation was not a legitimate aspiration. . . . There is no Israeli nation separate from the Jewish people. . . . The Jewish people is composed not only of those residing in Israel but also of Diaspora Jewries.”

        See CA 630/70 Tamarin v. Israel 26(1) IsrSC 197, 225 [1970] (Isr.)

        You have to remember that the Greek word ethnos is employed in the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew scriptures and the Christian scriptures to mean “a race, a nation, pl. “the nations” (as distinct from Israel). link to biblehub.com The population registry maintained by Israel’s Ministry of the Interior employs more than 128 nationalities (le’om/לאום) that govern the personal legal status of the citizens of Israel. Here is a discussion about the term and the population registry:

        Since le ’om is derived from the Hebrew word le’umi, which means ‘national’ or ‘nationwide’, one may then deduce that the le’om may be translated as ‘nation’ or ‘nationality.’ (Some may even translate le’om as ‘ethnicity’) The State of Israel has a Nationality Law, but it merely defines citizenship (in terms of the Law of Return, residence, birth, and naturalization) not nation in the ‘Israeli’ sense. Rather, nationality is determined by the Population Registry Law of 1965 which requires all citizens of the state, as defined above in the Nationality Law, to be registered in the Population Register. When enrolling in the Population Register, the citizen must state their le ’om as well as their dat, religion. One would expect that the Population Registry Law would define the various options of le ‘om and dat, but the only definition it offers is of the term ‘Jew,’ which was added by an amendment in 1970. Again, the law
        ignores mention of Muslim, Christian, and Druze wholesale.

        — See Mishael Caspi, Jerome David Weltsch, “From Slumber to Awakening: Culture and Identity of Arab Israeli Literati,” University Press of America, 1998, page 33 link to books.google.com

        That doesn’t mean that people are free to simply declare themselves to be Jews or Israeli. See: Supreme Court rejects ‘Israeli’ nationality status: Allowing citizens to relinquish ethnic or religious identity in the population registry would undermine Israel’s Jewishness, ruling says link to timesofisrael.com

      • James Canning
        May 1, 2014, 7:55 pm

        Great post. Religious discrimination is part and parcel of the programme in Israel. Full stop.

      • tree
        April 30, 2014, 2:09 pm

        Zach,

        “Racial groups” has a larger meaning according to international law, such as that defined by the International Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

        … the term “racial discrimination” shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.

        link to ohchr.org

        Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinian subjects under occupation in Palestine are treated as a separate ethnic group by Israel. Israel does not recognize an Israeli nationality, but insists on the existence of a Jewish nationality, and several other categories of “nationalities” based on ethnic origin, include an “Arab” category, which category is not applied to any Jews. Jews are identified by the Israeli state as Jews regardless of whether they follow any form of Judaism as a religion or not. And Israel’s insistence on being recognized as having a right to exist as a “Jewish State” reinforces the point that Israel treats Jewishness as an ethnicity separate from any other ethnicity. Israel’s discrimination against Palestinians is based on ethnicity and thus fits the definition of “racial discrimination”, or discrimination against racial groups.

      • Hostage
        May 1, 2014, 12:08 am

        But the majorities and minorities do need to be racial groups. Israelis and Palestinians are not racial groups and never have been.

        So why didn’t anyone complain when the British government argued in favor of different legal rights and privileges for members of the Jewish and Arab races in Palestine for 25 years and made statements claiming they were simply immiscible?:

        We have endeavoured to break down, in spite of difficulties, the mutual suspicion that the one has for the other, and I do believe that the charge that, if the mandate had been properly administered from the beginning, the two races would have come together to form a Judeo-Arab self-governing commonwealth is ill-founded.

        - League Of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission, Minutes Of The Thirty-Second (Extraordinary) Session Devoted To Palestine link to unispal.un.org

        The representatives of the Jewish Agency also viewed and treated the Arabs as members of another racial group with legal rights and claims that were inferior to those of the Jewish race, who had a mandated right to become the majority:

        CHAIRMAN: And you do not think that a thousand year’s possession is enough to oust the claim?

        Mr. BEN GURION: Sir, I do not lay down general rules. I say on this occasion, under this historic and geographic position, no it is not, for the reasons which I gave in my address. It is not a question of the Arab race; they are fully liberated. It is not a question of the Arab individuals who are here; they are not suffering. Our claim stands; we did not give it up.

        CHAIRMAN: Let us go now to this decision that you spoke of. I suppose you mean the Mandate?

        Mr. BEN GURION: The Declaration and the Mandate.

        CHAIRMAN: Let us return to that act. You mean that that is an absolute promise to give the country to the Jews as a state? . . . & etc.

        — United Nations Special Committee On Palestine, Report Of The General Assembly, Volume III, Annex A: Oral Evidence Presented At Public Meeting, 7 July 1947 link to unispal.un.org

    • Kathleen
      April 30, 2014, 2:22 pm

      “but rather that its (Israel’s) actions meet the legal definition” precisely

    • lysias
      April 30, 2014, 3:29 pm

      That definition would fit the rule of the Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland, except for the fact that the groups involved were much more religious than racial. Shouldn’t apartheid also include such religious oppression?

      • Hostage
        May 1, 2014, 12:36 am

        Shouldn’t apartheid also include such religious oppression?

        Religion and race are ill-defined categories that are not mutually exclusive. If you are talking about a legal difference based strictly upon religion, then the crime of persecution would be appropriate. For example, it applied to persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Nuremberg Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated. See for example the commentary about the persecution of the Poles and the Jews and the decision in the Justice Trial. link to law2.umkc.edu

      • MHughes976
        May 1, 2014, 12:25 pm

        You’re quite right as ever -and as ever I marvel at your wisdom and patience which I could never match – that categorising by religion and by race are not completely separate processes. Ancestry and culture are quite obviously not completely disconnected things. And surely any discrimination of equal severity is equally painful to those who suffer it and any discrimination on irrational grounds is equally absurd and offensive, whatever the irrational grounds happen to be.

      • Donald
        May 1, 2014, 1:44 pm

        “And surely any discrimination of equal severity is equally painful to those who suffer it and any discrimination on irrational grounds is equally absurd and offensive, whatever the irrational grounds happen to be.”

        That’s a key point. I sometimes see people argue that Israelis can’t be racists because Jews aren’t a race or the distinction between Palestinians and Israeli Jews isn’t about race, or on a related note, Islamophobia isn’t an example of racism because being Muslim isn’t about belonging to a racial category. And that might all be true, but it misses the point–bigots discriminate against certain groups for irrational and unjust reasons. It’s no comfort to the victims if their oppression is due to their religion rather than their race or eye color or height or gender or sexual orientation or whatever. One could have apartheid aimed against green-eyed lesbians with brown hair. AFAIK no one has thought to be bigoted in that specific way.

  6. jenin
    April 30, 2014, 11:43 am

    Phil, I’m curious–why did you think Sullivan’s post was excellent? I agree that he made some good points, but he still seems to believe that the Zionist project is a good idea and he is still willing to place a substantial amount of blame on the Palestinian people–blame that I think is unfair (although I do agree the Palestinian leaders have done a disservice to the people for the most part–but I still see everything as a reaction to dispossession and oppression). I thought that these aspects of his post made it quite a bit less-than excellent.

  7. American
    April 30, 2014, 12:07 pm

    Little girl smacks the Isr-Zio ‘problem’ in the face. I like it cause she’s right.
    Money may be what actually ‘buys’ the politicians unconditional support of Israel but the public ‘justification’ they use as cover in supporting Israel criminality is the Jewish exceptionalism of the holocaust.
    This kind of unlimited exceptionalism that is a license to steal and kill is not acceptable in my book because of the holocaust or anything else.

    link to jpost.com

    “I am the Holocaust, the best thing that ever happened to you!” she began her monologue. “After all of these years, I deserve a round of applause.”

    “How could you justify 1948 and 1967 without me?” she said. “Who deserves credit for enabling you to place 3 million people in a ghetto without the superpowers bombing you? Do you think you could get on without me? Has Frankenstein taken revenge on his creator? Where did you learn this from? The bigger you grew, the more your memory shrinks. Where did you learn to gather people into concentration camps on the basis of their ethnic background?
    I am your truth!”

    Naturally a mountain of hate descended on this girl. Just as it does on those of us who refuse to agree to the ‘exceptionalism” of the Jewish holocaust during WWII as the ‘Only important genocide in history or agree that the sufferings of all other victims of evil pale in comparasion to theirs.
    I guarentee that you will be more hated and attacked and name called for pointing out that the holocaust is not a justification for either Jewish or Israeli perpetual exceptionalism than for any other critique or truth you tell….because that is it…that exceptionalism is literally all the Zios, liberals included, (and their politicians) have, it’s their entire case and excuse for what they do.

    • Sycamores
      April 30, 2014, 2:08 pm

      i believe the jpost link is now deleted

      • Henry Norr
        April 30, 2014, 9:03 pm

        I googled “I am the Holocaust, the best thing that ever happened to you!” and got this working link to the Jerusalem Post article:

        link to jpost.com

      • ckg
        April 30, 2014, 9:56 pm

        Thanks, Henry. You beat me to it. And just as important, if the post had indeed been deleted (like MJR’s rant against MW yesterday), Google search would reveal by drop-down the deleted post in its cache.

      • American
        April 30, 2014, 9:56 pm

        Thanks Henry, didnt see my link wasnt working.
        She’s what they call ‘shock jock’ isnt she.
        But I think Isr needs a little ‘shock treatment.

    • Ecru
      April 30, 2014, 6:25 pm

      One feature that can be found in some ancient Levantine* excavations are so called “foundation sacrifices” where a new construction was “dedicated” with the entombing of a human sacrifice in the foundations.

      It seems to me that this is how Zionists treat the dead of the Holocaust – as sacrificial victims whose blood paved the way for the foundation of the “Jewish State.” That’s why their children have these morbid trips to Death Camps – so the “sacrifice” is renewed for each generation and why the Holocaust is dragged out every five minutes – since it’s a religious touch-stone it exists outside the normal rules of time and is in effect an eternal never ending reality that can be visited at any moment. It’s a pretty despicable philosophy/religion to live by really.

      * Foundation sacrifices are found all over the world btw.

      • pjdude
        May 2, 2014, 12:16 am

        Well the word holocaust comes from the Greek language. It meant a burnt sacrificial offering. So take from that what you will.

      • MHughes976
        May 2, 2014, 5:53 am

        Greek indeed: the closely related word ‘holocautoma’ appears in the Septuagint of Leviticus 1:3 as the most valuable form of sacrifice. A dark theology indeed, with a terrible sacrifice accepted for the restoration of the Kingdom. On the other hand, the parallel Hebrew word, ola, is never used – the much more secular Shoah ( = Nakba, I think) appears instead. The theology can be used with the utmost reverence or discarded in the blink of an eye. I often say that it’s part of the genius of Zionism to appear everywhere on the political spectrum from Marxist to Reaganite and everywhere on the religious spectrum from fundamentalist to atheist.

  8. American
    April 30, 2014, 12:26 pm

    You dont need a label like apartheid for what is intrinsically ‘Wrong’.
    People know ‘wrong and unfair and inhuman when they see.
    They just have to be able to see it.
    And the US media will never show the real Israel-Palestine to them.
    Hear any msm ‘s recite Max’s book? No.
    And you wont.
    Debate over labels and terms is pissing in the wind.

    • Kay24
      April 30, 2014, 1:05 pm

      The zionist msm is afraid, some have an insane loyalty to that alien nation, others fear that they will lose their plum jobs, and never work in any zionist msm again.
      They will be ostracized and made out to be antisemitic. Meanwhile the American people are deliberately kept in the dark about the truth. No coverage from the refugee camps, or how the Palestinian live under blockade, no rights, checkpoints, lands being stolen, homes demolished, polluted water, and other injustices, they are suffering on a daily basis. No, according to our wimpy msm, all Palestinians are terrorists, and deserve the brutality inflicted on them by their occupier. Sad.

    • Citizen
      April 30, 2014, 7:27 pm

      @ American
      Yep. It’s fairly often stated on this blog that it’s a matter of in-fighting among jews, but the fact remains 98% of America is not jewish. So where does that leave the rest of us? Pretty humiliating and frustrating to me, for one. Just one more example that my own government does not represent me. Why? Because I am not rich, nor born into a rich or “well off” or politically influential family.

      • American
        April 30, 2014, 8:57 pm

        @ Citizen

        Well, its certainly true that our government does not represent 98% of us.
        I dont know what the cure is….I’m afraid its going to have to be one of those ”nothing left to lose” events/realizations/attitudes before the public overturns our self anointed royally as the illegitimate bastards they are.
        Maybe we will have another financial meltdown or a series of them and go belly up….I think thats a possibility.

      • American
        April 30, 2014, 10:50 pm

        @Citizen

        You should read this book.

        Capital in the Twenty-First Century
        link to amazon.com

        This is a factor pushing the nothing left to lose climax.
        Although capitalism certainly helped build this country it also created the Gilded Age.
        And now we are back to “unregulated” capitalism which is basically vulture capitalism….and it will lead to social upheaval of some kind.
        When I add up everything I see going on I keep thinking of the Yeats poem about WWI that went…:

        “The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
        Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;”

  9. David Doppler
    April 30, 2014, 2:01 pm

    Barghouti’s comment saying why not call it segregation, a term Americans understand better, has a certain media brilliance in light of the current news cycle weaving two racism stories that so far have not arched together (to my knowledge) but which carry strong potential to do so: Kerry being forced to apologize for using the A word in describing Israel’s political-social-legal-civic treatment of Palestinians as an oppressed lesser class living within Greater Israel and subject to its control, and the NBA banning for life Donald Sterling (fka Tokowitz) for being frankly racist in his attitudes toward Blacks, and invoking the reality of Israeli racism in doing so (the white Israeli Jews treat black Israeli Jews “like dogs.” “It’s not racism, it’s the world – live with it”), and invoking the calls he got complaining from the people he cares about having to look at pictures of Don’s girlfriend sharing a celebratory moment with Magic Johnson on Instagram.

    The story of Israeli racial discrimination-segregation-apartheid is out there in raw form, with the story for how it gets policed in American media on obvious display, if not yet acknowledged by the talking heads. “We’re going to talk about these related topics, but, for now, at least, we’re going to studiously avoid connecting them, because we operate under taboos that, for whatever reasons, cannot yet be openly discussed.” And we’re going to show outrage at Sterling, but avoid speaking of his Jewishness and ties to Israel, even though he invoked the latter explicitly, and the former implicitly (who are the people calling him up to complain??? his KKK buddies???), and some of us at least have reported those comments – e.g. Newshour last night – so we know they’re out there. And we’re going to report certain people expressing outrage at Kerry for using the A word, but we’re not going to do so with the same sense of shared outrage because we all know on some level its phony hasbara designed to allow swaggering oligarchs to cynically continue to buy publicity tricks to display to the world the opposite of reality.

  10. Kathleen
    April 30, 2014, 2:30 pm

    Anyone want to join me in leaving Chris Hayes and team a challenge over at ALL IN’s facebook page. Left on this morning on one of the Sterling racism issue. But of course Hayes and team do not have a thread for the rolling that he received from Israel Projects Josh Block. So come on over and challenge Chris and team. Ask him if they will be having Mustafa Barghouti or the equivalent to counter Block’s lies.

    link to facebook.com

  11. Walid
    April 30, 2014, 3:31 pm

    Mustafa Barghouti was at the Hamas/Fatah signing in Gaza last week. He probably could have won the last presidential election against Abbas has Israel not gone all out way to hinder his campaign activity on the WB and in Jerusalem to let Abbas win. He’d made a good president; the man is articulate and he’s just about the most honest one of the lot.

  12. amigo
    April 30, 2014, 3:58 pm

    I hope Israel through it,s proxies in the US and Europe will sue anyone who uses the A word when referring to Israel.Clog up the courts .Imagine the Media exposure Apartheid Israel would get.

    Bring it on Oh Israel.

  13. Citizen
    April 30, 2014, 7:36 pm

    If you want to know where the power is in any society, look to what cannot be spoken in public.

    The Clippers owner is a billionaire in a land where money is free speech. He’s also quick to sue. And, I’d bet, a hard-core Zionist.

    Should be interesting?

    • Kay24
      May 1, 2014, 7:17 am

      He most probably is, but no one dares to discuss his comments about blacks being treated like dogs in Israel, and that he speaks and thinks this horrible way, because of his upbringing and culture.

  14. James Canning
    April 30, 2014, 7:41 pm

    Jimmy Carter correctly used “apartheid” in his book about Israeli oppression of the Palestinians a few years ago. He took quite a beating for such correct usage.

    • Kay24
      May 1, 2014, 7:18 am

      So did the Rev.Desmond Tutu. Only the vicious apologists can make respected leaders look bad through hasbaracuda methods.

  15. Hostage
    April 30, 2014, 9:06 pm

    It is ‘full-fledged apartheid’ now but Americans can use a familiar term, ‘segregation’ — Mustafa Barghouthi

    Once again, the analogy is irrelevant. You’d have a hard time finding a crime against humanity from the list in article 7 or a war crime from the list in Article 8 of the Rome Statute that Israel hasn’t committed against the Palestinians at one time or another, and many of them are perpetrated on a regular or on-going basis. So when you add it all up it’s the Article 7 (1) (h) Crime against humanity of persecution introduced at Nuremberg:

    Elements
    1. The perpetrator severely deprived, contrary to international law, one or more persons of fundamental rights.
    2.The perpetrator targeted such person or persons by reason of the identity of a group or collectivity or targeted the group or collectivity as such.
    3. Such targeting was based on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in article 7, paragraph 3, of the Statute, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law.
    4. The conduct was committed in connection with any act referred to in article 7, paragraph 1, of the Statute or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court.
    5. The conduct was committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against a civilian population.
    6. The perpetrator knew that the conduct was part of or intended the conduct to be part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against a civilian population

    — Elements of Crimes link to icc-cpi.int

  16. Hostage
    April 30, 2014, 9:40 pm

    John Kerry’s use of the word “apartheid” before the Trilateral Commission last Friday and the brouhaha it has caused is spurring a debate we’ve never had in this country about Palestinian conditions. It’s not that enlightened a debate in the mainstream. But at least it’s beginning.

    That’s ironic, since the Oxford English Online Etymology Dictionary cites the New York Times to explain the popularity of this synonym of separate development:

    “Segregation” is such an active word that it suggests someone is trying to segregate someone else. So the word “apartheid” was introduced. Now it has such a stench in the nostrils of the world, they are referring to “autogenous development.” [Alan Paton, "New York Times," Oct. 24, 1960]

    link to etymonline.com

    Long story short: If the terminology you employ conveys what is actually going on to the intended audience, then the powers that be will almost certainly insist you call it something else.

  17. Hostage
    April 30, 2014, 10:05 pm

    The risk is that “a Jewish minority” would be governing a Palestinian majority.

    Neither the Apartheid Convention nor the Rome Statute ever included any demographic criteria in the definition of the crime of apartheid. Whoever claims that it is relevant for the purposes of Article 2 of the Apartheid Convention or Article 7 of the Rome Statute needs to show me through what magic that happened.

    The fact that a white majority imposed Jim Crow laws and racial segregation on a black minority in the USA did not transform it into something qualitatively or legally different from the situation in South Africa, where the demographic ratio was the opposite.

  18. Talkback
    May 1, 2014, 5:56 am

    47 years of Apartheid/Segregation/Hafrada?

    IIRC Nonjews were ‘segregated’ allready 20 years earlier to install and maintain a regime, dominated by a settler minority. Wasn’t it even the only one which was granted recognition in the 20th century?

    “Israel” is an anachronism and abomination in the age of decolonialisation and the right of self determination based on (real) majority ruling. High time for a regime change.

  19. Kay24
    May 1, 2014, 7:34 am

    Interesting article in Huffpost, the title says it all. Not ONE person has come up and supported John Kerry. The little servants of Israeli lobbies, all dutifully criticize him, forgetting he is an American, and they speak up for an alien nation disliked by the rest of the world, who has been branded, deservedly, as apartheid.

    link to huffingtonpost.com

    • MHughes976
      May 1, 2014, 10:08 am

      However, the author of the article – ‘a wannabe politico’ – does defend Kerry and so do several of the comments. There are some points of light in the gloom. Presumably wannabe politicos (what a description!) do not sense that their politico prospects are automatically ended if they provoke Israeli sympathisers to this degree. Thanks for the reference!

    • James Canning
      May 1, 2014, 3:04 pm

      Those who do the bidding of Aipac can be sure of benefits; those who fail to do the bidding of Aipac can count on penalties.

  20. NickJOCW
    May 1, 2014, 8:48 am

    There is no single point where a nation becomes ‘apartheid’. It is more a process of objective interpretation, some have viewed the situation as apartheid for some time, some are just getting round to it and some are still far off. If you read the whole exchange of Matt Lee’s persistent quest for Kerry’s meaning it becomes clear that Kerry meant exactly what he said but wished he had expressed it differently in the light of such vociferous attempts to have a go at him.

    link to state.gov

    To my mind he was clearly anticipating a time when the majority consensus becomes that Israel is running an apartheid state, and the consequent practical reaction takes off. Obviously he might have said just that. To him as to most of us the issue is not some technical definition of apartheid but what is happening and likely to go on happening on the ground and what the world may soon do about it.

    From another direction NAM, Non-Aligned Movement, which represents over half the global population has weighed in with condemnation of the occupation and expressed a purpose to pursue sanctions.

    link to electronicintifada.net

  21. Walid
    May 1, 2014, 1:32 pm

    Looks like Netanyahu is tired of beating about the bush, he’ll be enacting apartheid into law:

    “Netanyahu Plans to Define ’Israel’ As Jewish State in Law

    Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday he would seek a new law declaring the so-called ‘Israel” a Jewish state, striking back against a Palestinian refusal to recognize that status in now-collapsed peace talks.

    “I will promote a Basic Law that will define Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people,” Netanyahu said in a speech in Tel Aviv that alluded to Palestinian rejection of his demand to recognize the Zionist entity as such in the U.S.-backed negotiations.

    Palestinians fear this label would lead to discrimination against the entity’s sizeable Arab minority, which makes up a fifth of its population, and negate any right of return of Palestinian refugees from wars since 1948 to what is named now ‘Israel’.”

    link to almanar.com.lb

    • James Canning
      May 1, 2014, 2:56 pm

      Abbas has said Israel can call itself whatever it wants. Sound position, in my view.

      • Walid
        May 1, 2014, 3:59 pm

        James, your man can’t see the ramifications of such a move. It’s not as simple as Abbas sees it. Declaring the apartheid state as a Jewish one is the first step at getting rid of a good many of the Palestinian Israelis with what is surely to follow such a law. Lieberman’s oath of loyalty or else, the elimination of Arabic courses in schools, total removal of Arabic signage all over the place and sealing the door shut to any returnees or claims by the dispossessed Palestinians or their heirs. This of course would mean that 2 million stateless Palestinians would remain stateless. Not a very sound position by Abbas.
        .

      • James Canning
        May 1, 2014, 7:16 pm

        I think Abbas is right, and that Israel can call itself whatever it wants. PR issues might ensue, etc etc etc. I doubt Abbas expects very many Palestinians to be able to return to Israel proper. (If Israel destroys itself by annexing the West Bank, this situation would change.)

      • Walid
        May 2, 2014, 7:10 am

        James, again, it’s not about PR at all but about what changing the designation of Israel would entail for Palestinians; Israel’s PR image is already in deep shit and calling itself Jewish wouldn’t change much of anything and it doesn’t really care. It’s about eliminating what Israelis see as an imminent threat to their Jewish identity, the presence of the Palestinian people and their indomitable culture. Abbas cannot decide what Palestinians want or don’t want, only a plebiscite of ALL Palestinians could decide that. Palestine Papers said something about diaspora Palestinians being left out of any final decisions.

      • Hostage
        May 1, 2014, 4:24 pm

        Abbas has said Israel can call itself whatever it wants. Sound position, in my view.

        Actually, he got the Arab League to endorse his position, that Palestine will not recognize Israel as the State of the Jewish people.
        * Arab League backs Abbas’ refusal to recognize Israel as Jewish state
        link to haaretz.com
        * Arab League rejects Israel as Jewish state
        Israeli official: Abbas parading rejectionism as a virtue;
        link to haaretz.com

      • James Canning
        May 1, 2014, 6:43 pm

        Abbas said Israel can call itself the Zionist Jewish Empire, should it so choose.

    • Bumblebye
      May 1, 2014, 3:55 pm

      So Bibi will put the “Jewish State” thang in a domestic law, but won’t dare to put a name change in front of the UN – he’d be scared to be asked about borders and such!

      • Walid
        May 1, 2014, 4:06 pm

        The apartheid state has been pissing all over the UN and its resolutions since 1948, Bumblebye, so it wouldn’t really care what the UN would say; the name change would be simply an internal issue but vicious enough to kick-off finishing the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians started in 1947.

    • Hostage
      May 1, 2014, 4:16 pm

      Looks like Netanyahu is tired of beating about the bush, he’ll be enacting apartheid into law

      Israel already has two Basic Laws adopted 20 years ago which define Israel as “a Jewish and democratic state”. So he’s leading the charge from the rear of the pack again.

      The JPost and Haaretz have carried reports for months about the fact that the coalition agreement between Likud Beytenu and Bayit Yehudi (with the knowledge and consent of Yesh Atid) mandates the passage of the “Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People”, e.g. link to jpost.com

      Copies have been available for months from the Justice Ministry website: link to index.justice.gov.il

      During the negotiations with the Palestinians, Justice Minister Livni managed to postpone things briefly by appointing Prof. Ruth Gavision to come up with a definition of the constitutional meaning of the phrase Jewish and democratic state. Gavison has been missing in action ever since. But she had already stated as a matter of public record in the cases involving the 2003 Nationality and Entry into Israel law, that the proposition of maintaining a Jewish majority trumped democracy. Her published works suggest that we all adopt a new, additional meaning of the term democracy:
      * Can Israel be both Jewish and democratic? Ruth Gavison
      link to members.ngfp.org
      * Basic Law proposal: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People the liberal justification
      link to izs.org.il
      * The new basic law: It’s about time link to jpost.com
      *Lawmakers to debate proposal giving Jews ‘unique’ right to self-determination in Israel link to haaretz.com
      * Livni enlists Diaspora to fight bill defining Israel as ‘Jewish state’
      link to jpost.com

      Even though the Jewish leadership hasn’t defined what it means yet, let alone where in blue blazes it’s located, Netanyahu had his errand boy Kerry demand that the Arabs sign-off on it. Despite Livni’s best efforts, a similar bill was adopted by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation that pushed a requirement for the Education Ministry to brainwash the children a little harder about the (still undefined) importance and significance of the Jewish state. See: Bill Would Amend Israel’s Education Law to Push Teaching of ‘Jewish State’ link to algemeiner.com

  22. eljay
    May 1, 2014, 1:38 pm

    >> “I will promote a Basic Law that will define Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people,” Netanyahu said in a speech in Tel Aviv …

    The King of the Jews (according to JeffB) proudly promotes Jewish supremacism in a supremacist “Jewish State”.

    • Walid
      May 1, 2014, 2:44 pm

      JeffB’s man is a phony, he’s never heard of Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum.

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