Trending Topics:

Guess who else fears that Israel will be labeled an Apartheid state?

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 9 Comments

With all the ruckus around Kerry’s Apartheid gaffe and his pathetic apology, one would think that his statement attests to radical anti-Semitism or at least an anti-Zionist sentiment. As a matter of fact, the logic and vocabulary of Kerry’s statement is shared by no other than Naftali Bennett – head of Israel’s religious and far right-winged party.

In a 2012 ad, featured in his YouTube page and titled “Naftali Bennett’s stability initiative”, the narrator calls for the partial annexation of the West Bank to Israel and for allowing the Palestinians “self-rule” (though not a state) over what is left. This plan also entails granting Israeli citizenship to those Palestinians living in the would-be annexed territory and building overpasses between the islets of Palestinian self-rule which the plan would create.

The video (above) claims that this plan, although not utopian, will “greatly improve the situation.” What is wrong with the situation today? According to the video (1:27), if Israel does nothing then the arena is left open for Palestinian initiatives such as Boycott Divestment and Sanctions. (Notice that even Bennett believes BDS is not a form of anti-Semitism but rather a logical political strategy derived from Israel’s politics.) Then the video goes on to tell us (2:47) that this plan will “take the wind out of the sails of those who accuse us (Israelis) of being an Apartheid state.”

One logical conclusion from this last statement is that if the current legal status of the West Bank and its residents does not change, then the claims of Israel being an Apartheid state will have merit. Even right-wing politicians such as Bennett understand that as many differences one can find between post-1967 Israel and Apartheid South-Africa, the analogy between the two regimes will be reasonable so long as Israel holds within its sovereign territories a population which has no access to equal citizenship due to it being of non-Jewish faith and/or ethnicity.

The video also proves that the comparability of Apartheid South Africa with Israel is something that one can suggest and not have to ward off accusations of being an anti-Semite or even an anti-Zionist. What would be interesting to ask both pre-apology Kerry and 2012 Bennett is why they think Israel “might” become an Apartheid state versus it being an Apartheid state now? Really, why?

About Arnon Degani

Arnon Degani is a Phd candidate at the UCLA Department of History specializing in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

9 Responses

  1. Krauss
    April 29, 2014, 2:40 pm

    Disappointed in this analysis – or lack thereof.
    Why didn’t the author delve into the plan in more detail and offer his view of whether it would be doable politically and secondly, whether it would be able to ward off the Apartheid dagger of Democles.

    I certainly think it is doable politically. The second question is much harder to answer, because it is largely a social question; i.e., how far have we actually come in our understanding of the conflict?

    During the end of the video, Bennett’s proposal makes clear that Israel would still control the Bantustan’s borders with the outside world even if they would try to increase the movement somewhat within and between them, thereby trying to counter the bad image the state has gotten due to all the checkpoints/roadblocks.

    Another key issue is how to resolve immigration. I’m guessing Israel would control that issue too under that “solution”. So it’d basically be like today, where the Palestininan equivalent of the judenrat, i.e. the PA, would continue to do the wishes of their masters only on even smaller grounds.

    However, if there are no more settlements in areas A and B, Israel would try to say “see, the issue is now resolved”. Will the world continue to care? The Arab world will. I’d like to think the rest of the Western world would too, but look at the passivity on the issue of Tibet or other areas under permanent occupation. It has fallen off the liberal radar in the West.

    The Palestinian issue has energized a lot more people than the Tibetan issue, in large part because Palestine is so much closer to Europe and there is a large and growing muslim diaspora in the Western world. That alone suggests that the issue will have much more salience.

    It’s a difficult question to answer. I think Bennett’s “solution” will be the one that Israel ultimately will try to take. Michael Oren has already suggested as much in a recent interview.

    The only question is how long Israel will try to extend the 2SS narrative. They must know it is on its last legs, but they will try and pretend until they cannot try any longer. And then they will annex.

    • Annie Robbins
      April 29, 2014, 11:34 pm

      Bennett’s proposal makes clear that Israel would still control the Bantustan’s borders with the outside world even if they would try to increase the movement somewhat within and between them, thereby trying to counter the bad image the state has gotten due to all the checkpoints/roadblocks.

      krauss, your statement implies the video “make[s] clear” they would try to increase the movement somewhat within and between them and that this would , thereby …. counter the bad image the state has gotten due to all the checkpoints/roadblocks.

      i’m just curious if you have ever looked at a map of area A?

      Israel would still control the contours of all the Bantustan’s borders, not just with the outside world, but in all the land between areas the A and B bantustans. in fact, the term “area A” is a misnomer because it is not, technically, an “area” it is areas made up of dots. bennett is well aware of that which is why he presented areas A, b, and c in the form of a rectangle divided into 3 regions. but area c surrounds all of them and they are like islands surrounded by water, the water being area c.

      how do you propose getting rid of checkpoints and roadblocks under these circumstances? you take away the roads and lock everyone in except for the designated over and underpasses between them. but if they annexed area c they would just wall up all those areas (now called a and b) and tighten the noose. this would not “counter the bad image” of israel, ever. it gives israel even more control. and the vital resources belonging to palestine have already been stolen and primarily lie in area c. thus far israel controls ALL of palestine’s water and access to palestinian water, 30% of all palestine’s aquifer basins wells are already annexed by the wall and by the time that wall is completed it will annex 70% of the catch basin for palestine aquifers (as is without the annexation plan). this doesn’t even include the rest of area c.

      i urge you to take a look at this 06 map. place it in your computers iphoto and blow it up and look at the deep mustard colored areas. that’s area a. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Westbankjan06.jpg

      all of the white is part of area c as well as the deep maroon and pink. except it’s much worse now 8 yrs later.

      I certainly think it is doable politically.

      Why didn’t you delve into more detail and offer your view of how this annexation is doable politically? you think the world will stand by and accept this as a permanent situation?

  2. pabelmont
    April 29, 2014, 2:56 pm

    For how long (how many years?) must a state exhibit certain apartheid-like behaviors before it becomes proper to describe that state as “apartheid” (instead of: “gonna be”, “might someday be”, “seems likely to become, someday”). And who decides when it is “proper” to call the shots as you see them?

    Gosh, so many terms: “apartheid”, “proper”. What next?

    I guess it’s like bugs which are larvae, pupae, etc., and then adults. Stages of development. Baby in utero is not fully human (well, some people disagree), a Zionist Entity not yet 100 years old is too young to be conclusively described as an apartheid state?

    • Citizen
      April 29, 2014, 9:41 pm

      Dunno, but you won’t find anybody asking such a question on Imus In The Morning.

  3. lysias
    April 29, 2014, 3:05 pm

    Speaking of Bennett’s plan for Palestinian “self-rule”, here’s an interesting paragraph from the Wikipedia article on Bantustan:

    Four of the South African Bantustans—Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda, and Ciskei (the so-called “TBVC States”)—were declared independent, though this was not officially recognised outside of South Africa. Other South African Bantustans (like KwaZulu, Lebowa, and QwaQwa) received partial autonomy but were never granted independence. In South West Africa, Ovamboland, Kavangoland, and East Caprivi were granted self-determination.

  4. tropist
    April 29, 2014, 7:56 pm

    You say ‘Tomato’

    Israel is not ‘An Apartheid State’ in the sense that Bill Clinton ‘did not have sex with that woman.’
    Just saying.

    The push back against Kerry’s use of the ‘A’ word is predictably swift and brutal.

    As the right wing World Net Daily states
    In their piece titled: JOHN KERRY IN BED WITH TERRORISTS:

    “his utterance of the term evokes the position of Palestinian leaders and allies in academia and the United Nations.”

    In 2009 South Africa’s statutory research agency the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) published a report stating, “the State of Israel exercises control in the [Occupied Palestinian Territories] with the purpose of maintaining a system of domination by Jews over Palestinians and that this system constitutes a breach of the prohibition of apartheid.” The report was written by a team of international law experts.

    The research team included scholars and international lawyers based at the HSRC, the School for Oriental and African Studies (London), the British Institute for International and Comparative Law, the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (Durban), the Adalah/Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and al-Haq/West Bank Affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists. Consultation on the study’s theory and method was provided by eminent jurists from South Africa, Israel and Europe.

  5. agatharchides
    April 29, 2014, 8:44 pm

    Considering that his plan is pretty much the definition of apartheid as it was practiced after 1970 I’m not sure I’d take his word on much in that department.

  6. Boomer
    April 30, 2014, 6:35 am

    How terrible it would be to attach a label. So much concern about the sensitivities of those in Israel who perpetrate injustice (and those in the U.S. who enable them), so little concern about those who are oppressed.

  7. MHughes976
    April 30, 2014, 6:37 am

    This is interesting evidence (thanks, Arnon!) for the endless sensitivity around the word ‘apartheid’ and a clear indication that no one in Israel, however thick-skinned and contemptuous of outside opinion, can altogether escape that uneasy feeling when the comparison with SA is made. But we’ve got no further than an uneasy feeling, which is the same in all the ructions surrounding Kerry. ‘We might one day not be able to ward off the accusation’ expresses uneasiness, but is also comforting, suggesting ‘Of course we can ward it off now!’ Kerry’s half-apology is a way of reminding everyone of the comforting side of the trope, which he had never (I believe him) forgotten.

Leave a Reply