Apartheid label is reminiscent of runup to Holocaust — Michael Oren

Israel/Palestine
on 48 Comments
Saree Makdisi

Saree Makdisi

The LA Times is running point/counterpoint on whether Israel is an apartheid state or not. Author and scholar Saree Makdisi says it is. Former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren says it is not.

Former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren

Former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren

Oren states that Palestinians and Jews “choose to live apart” from one another and that to attempt to brand the “complex” historical situation in the West Bank as apartheid is an effort to delegitimize Jews that is reminiscent of the Holocaust.

They choose?

The vast majority of settlers and Palestinians choose to live apart because of cultural and historical differences, not segregation, though thousands of them do work side by side. The separate roads were created in response to terrorist attacks — not to segregate Palestinians but to save Jewish lives. And Israeli roads are used by Israeli Jews and Arabs alike…

The complex historical part:

The West Bank represents a complex historical, humanitarian and security situation that six Israeli prime ministers from both the left and right have tried to resolve. Unfortunately, Palestinian leaders turned down Israeli offers of statehood in 2000 and 2008, and have now abandoned peace talks in favor of reunification with Hamas. They aspire to create a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza from which all Jews have been expelled. That is truly apartheid…

The Holocaust bit:

We Jews remember how each attempt to obliterate us, whether in the Inquisition or during the Holocaust, was preceded by a campaign to delegitimize us. People who practice apartheid are easily considered illegitimate.

Scott Roth notes that Oren’s argument about people choosing to live apart deserves a place in the “Hall of Fame of Galactic Mendacity.”

And recall that Saul Friedlander said that when rightwing Jews are using the Nazi analogy all the time, why should leftwingers be barred from stating that Israel reminds them of Nazi Germany?

But let’s go to Makdisi’s piece. It is far more specific and concrete about the different laws and conditions for Palestinians and Jews. And the UCLA professor and author begins with my favorite example, the bar on intermarriage.

It is not legally possible in Israel for a Jewish citizen to marry a non-Jewish citizen. And a web of laws, regulations and military orders governing what kind of people can live in which particular spaces makes mixed marriages within the occupied territories, or across the pre-1967 border between Israel and the occupied territories, all but impossible.

And so it goes in all domains of life, from birth to death: a systematic, vigilantly policed separation of the two populations and utter contempt for the principle of equality. One group — stripped of property and rights, expelled, humiliated, punished, demolished, imprisoned and at times driven to the edge of starvation (down to the meticulously calculated last calorie) — has withered. The other group — its freedom of movement and of development not merely unrestricted but actively encouraged — has flourished, and its religious and cultural symbols adorn the regalia of the state and are emblazoned on the state flag.

The question is not whether the term “apartheid” applies here. It is why it should cause such an outcry when it is used.

About Philip Weiss

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

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48 Responses

  1. Woody Tanaka
    May 20, 2014, 12:03 pm

    Michael Oren is vile. Since he turned traitor to the US, have he been kicked out, yet?

    • Krauss
      May 20, 2014, 1:52 pm

      How can he be kicked out when the senate is filled with people like Mark Kirk, who has publicly said that he doesn’t even work for the US but for Israel. Or when the top presidential contender for the GOP in 2016 kisses the ring – just like his predecessor from 2012 – belonging to his party’s top donor – whose own sons wouldn’t serve in the US army but would be permitted to serve in Israel’s.

      As for Oren himself, how can the Palestinians “choose to be apart” when the Jews came to them and not the other way ’round? The settlers are encroaching on their lands and not the other way around.

      Oren has no argument except “segregation now, segregation forever”, with some Holocaust spice added, as per usual from Israelis.

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 20, 2014, 6:34 pm

        I wish I could disagree with any of your points… Sadly, I cannot.

    • bilal a
      May 20, 2014, 6:31 pm

      The identification of BDS with pre-holocaust homicidal intent calls for preemptive murder contra murder, to wit the formation of Israeli led, Jewish armed militias, in America:

      Armed with Holocaust memory and guns, L.A. Jews aim true
      http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/1.591753

  2. American
    May 20, 2014, 12:27 pm

    ‘Oren states that Palestinians and Jews “choose to live apart” from one another and that to attempt to brand the “complex” historical situation in the West Bank as apartheid is an effort to delegitimize Jews that is reminiscent of the Holocaust’ >>>

    There is nothing ‘complex’ about it.
    The Jews stole their land and ran off the Palestines…they are still killing them and stealing their land.
    Whether there is some kind of karma waiting for Isr for this remains to be seen.

  3. pabelmont
    May 20, 2014, 12:38 pm

    Good for the LA Times.

    Perhaps in (possibly almost) water starved LA, the news that Israel limits the water that Palestinians can use in the occupied West Bank will make more sense than hasbaristas can deal with.

    Come to that, how about LA (and USA) sympathy for the starved Gazans (If You Like To Eat, You Should Really Be Worried About California’s Drought).

  4. weiss
    May 20, 2014, 12:52 pm

    Oren’s Orwellian rhetoric borders on the insane …

    One could expect more profound soul-searching from an Ostrich, especially after watching the video of the Palestinian teens that were killed in cold blood this week by the IDF.

    This is yet another poster-child of the Israeli leadership today…
    Sadistic and unable to look objectively in the mirror.

    And yet another reason why , as a Jew myself, I am deeply embarrassed.

    PS: This is not Philip

    • seafoid
      May 21, 2014, 4:33 am

      They really don’t like the word apartheid. It hits the spot.

  5. eljay
    May 20, 2014, 12:55 pm

    >> … each attempt to obliterate us … was preceded by a campaign to delegitimize us.

    Hmmm…”Jewish State” and Zio-supremacists have been de-legitimizing Palestinians for over 60 years. Ethnic cleansing has already happened (it is currently “not necessary”), so obliteration can’t be too far off.

  6. Kay24
    May 20, 2014, 1:08 pm

    OT but it seems Bob Menendez has called off a vote on a major pro Israel bill because of the Iranian situation.

    “Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Senator Bob Menendez has called off a vote on a major pro-Israel bill, since it would have pitted Democrats who support the White House’s stance on diplomacy with Iran against members of the pro-Israel community who , Foreign Policy’s The Cable reported Tuesday.

    The U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act calls for broadening cooperation between the two countries on various fronts, including military and energy, and largely enjoys bipartisan support. However, Menendez pulled it after it became clear that Republican Senator Bob Corker (Tennessee) planned to introduce an amendment on the Obama administration’s ongoing talks with Iran. Haaretz

  7. Kris
    May 20, 2014, 2:20 pm

    Apartheid label is reminiscent of runup to Holocaust — Michael Oren

    Many Jewish intellectuals have observed that Israel’s actions since inception are reminiscent of the runup to Holocaust.

  8. lysias
    May 20, 2014, 2:34 pm

    If all it takes to be like the Holocaust is to delegitimize Jews, what about the ways Palestinians have been more than delegitimized?

  9. john h
    May 20, 2014, 3:29 pm

    “The question is not whether the term “apartheid” applies here. It is why it should cause such an outcry when it is used”.

    The answer is obvious.

    https://nz.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=1006050209041

  10. amigo
    May 20, 2014, 4:01 pm

    ” Oren states that Palestinians and Jews “choose to live apart” Oren.

    Correct me if I am wrong but didn,t Arabs (Orens Term), and Jews get along just fine before those blue eyed Zionist criminals came to town.

    Correct me if I am wrong but there were no cultural issues before the euro Jews arrived en masse and built their “Jews only “illegal squats and forced 700,000 Palestinians out thereby further enabling their vile dream of an “Arab Frei” Jews only State.

    Oren is a lying cretin and hopefully he will be around when it all goes pear shaped and the Americans will not allow him back into the USA.

    • Stephen Shenfield
      May 20, 2014, 6:36 pm

      amigo: “Oren is a lying cretin.”

      Thinking up and presenting lies that do not logically contradict one another and sound plausible to the poorly informed is highly skilled work. A cretin could not do it. In fact, mentally retarded people are quite honest and truthful. Please do not stigmatize them by comparing them with Zionists.

      • amigo
        May 21, 2014, 4:45 am

        “In fact, mentally retarded people are quite honest and truthful. Please do not stigmatize them by comparing them with Zionists.”Stephen Shenfield

        I stand corrected Stephen.I was just blowing off steam at that devil incarnate and my apologies to all those I stigmatized.

    • a blah chick
      May 20, 2014, 7:24 pm

      -Oren states that Palestinians and Jews “choose to live apart”-

      Israel passed a law, a few years back, allowing towns with at least 500 families to keep out anyone that they felt might ruin the communities’ ethnic mix. It was named after an Arab family that successfully won the right to live in a Jewish town. I wish I could recall the name.

      Not only that but I seem to recall that one of the first cases where the law was implemented was when an Ethiopian family tried to move into a white neighborhood.

      • Hostage
        May 21, 2014, 2:50 pm

        It was named after an Arab family that successfully won the right to live in a Jewish town. I wish I could recall the name.

        You’re thinking of the Kaadan case. It illustrated the way that the Knesset can simply overturn a Supreme Court decision by adopting an ordinary statute, because there is no written constitution or legally entrenched right of equality in Israel. http://www.merip.org/mero/mero022312

    • jon s
      May 21, 2014, 4:55 am

      Amigo,
      “blue eyed” -where did that come from?

      You may find this interesting:

      http://jewishrefugees.blogspot.co.il/2014/05/weinstocks-ground-breaker-out-in-hebrew.html

      • amigo
        May 21, 2014, 1:44 pm

        “blue eyed” -where did that come from?” jon s.

        Not indigenous to the Middle East.

        Newly constructed European Jews.They are everywhere in Occupied Palestine because Apartheid Israel plants them there against International Law.

      • Hostage
        May 21, 2014, 5:31 pm

        Not indigenous to the Middle East.

        Blue eyes have been around for about 10,000 years and are thought to have originated in the region of the Black Sea. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/how-one-ancestor-helped-turn-our-brown-eyes-blue-776170.html

        Chaldea was a distinct region in Asia Minor on the Black Sea. No one knows for certain where the first person was born who had the mutated OCA2 gene that we’ve inherited. But we do know that there were probably descendants living full time in the Middle East long before the Chaldean patriarchs of Israel arrived there. So there’s no reason to invoke converts. The same goes for blond hair, which can be found in indigenous peoples in all parts of Asia. The point is that 19th and 20th century European Jews were aliens, even if they had stereotypical black hair and brown eyes.

      • amigo
        May 22, 2014, 6:20 am

        Hostage, thanks for clearing that up for me.

  11. Hostage
    May 20, 2014, 4:10 pm

    We Jews remember how each attempt to obliterate us, whether in the Inquisition or during the Holocaust, was preceded by a campaign to delegitimize us.

    No one is trying to “obliterate Jews” by pointing out that Israel practices apartheid.

    People who practice apartheid are easily considered illegitimate.

    Yes, furthermore, the responsible officials who aid and abet apartheid, like Oren, can be considered criminals.

  12. Feathers
    May 20, 2014, 4:41 pm

    Does Israel have ANY statesmen?

    Those who do lists, let them list ….

    • Citizen
      May 20, 2014, 5:38 pm

      No. Does the US have any statesmen in political office re foreign policy? No.

    • seafoid
      May 21, 2014, 4:33 am

      Israel never had a statesman or woman. You can’t make statesperson out of a thug.

      4th most powerful army in the world and calling a spade a spade is tantamount to holocaust.
      Beyond chutzpah.

      • jon s
        May 21, 2014, 6:34 am

        “Israel never had a statesman or woman.”

        Weitzmann? Ben Gurion? Sharett? Eban? Eshkol? Rabin?

      • amigo
        May 21, 2014, 1:47 pm

        “Weitzmann? Ben Gurion? Sharett? Eban? Eshkol? Rabin?”jon s

        Thugs –everyone of them as were/are all Israel,s leaders.

        The term War criminals is applicable to all.

        They supported or carried out crimes of oppression and colonialism.

      • jon s
        May 21, 2014, 3:49 pm

        Amigo,
        In your view, who would qualify to be called a “statesman”?
        Lincoln? Wilson? FDR? Churchill? DeGaulle?
        de Valera?

        Every one of them justified the use of force to achieve worthy goals.

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 21, 2014, 4:21 pm

        jon s
        “Every one of them justified the use of force to achieve worthy goals.”

        Building and defending an etho-religious Apartheid state through attempted genocide, ethnic cleansing, theft, oppression, murder and every strain of human rights violations, is in no way a worthy goal, even if it is Jews who benefit from those crimes.

  13. James Canning
    May 20, 2014, 6:50 pm

    Hogwash from Michael Oren. Not so much a surprise these days. Time for Israel to get out of the West Bank.

  14. a blah chick
    May 20, 2014, 7:34 pm

    “The separate roads were created in response to terrorist attacks …”

    No, that was the excuse. The real reason was to prevent freedom of movement and bring the Palestinian economy to a halt.

  15. Shuki
    May 20, 2014, 8:18 pm

    No difference between BDS and the Nazi policy of requiring Jewish businesses to display Stars of David on the storefronts. The same old hatred with a little PR sheen called ‘BDS’.

    • Hostage
      May 21, 2014, 2:31 pm

      No difference between BDS and the Nazi policy of requiring Jewish businesses to display Stars of David on the storefronts. The same old hatred with a little PR sheen called ‘BDS’.

      Except for the fact that the USA had a law which required honest and accurate country of origin markings before the Nazis ever came to power or the State of Israel encouraged its citizens and businesses in Palestine to falsify the markings on their products, e.g. June 17, 1930, ch. 497, title III, § 304,46 Stat. 687

      The fact is that many Jews support BDS because Israel itself is guilty of practicing hatred.

    • eljay
      May 21, 2014, 3:04 pm

      >> No difference between BDS and the Nazi policy of requiring Jewish businesses to display Stars of David on the storefronts. The same old hatred with a little PR sheen called ‘BDS’.

      According to Zio-supremacists:
      – acts of injustice and immorality committed against Jews = evil
      – accountability for acts of injustice and immorality committed against Jews = good
      – acts of injustice and immorality committed by Jews = acceptable and justifiable
      – accountability for acts of injustice and immorality committed by Jews = Nazi-like evil

      The warped-mind thinking of Zio-supremacists never ceases to amaze and disturb me.

  16. DICKERSON3870
    May 20, 2014, 10:44 pm

    RE: “Oren states that Palestinians and Jews ‘choose to live apart’ from one another” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: That really brings back the old days! Defenders of segregation back in the Jim Crow era of the American South essentially claimed that whites and blacks chose to live apart from one another. Back then the claim was usually made in the form of saying that blacks “preferred to live with their own kind”.
    That said, I guess Oren deserves a point or two for referring to Palestinians rather than Arabs, even if he only does so when he is writing for a U.S. audience.

    • DICKERSON3870
      May 21, 2014, 4:42 pm

      P.S. ALSO RE: “Oren states that Palestinians and Jews ‘choose to live apart’ from one another” ~ Weiss

      MY COMMENT: Someone needs to propose a “mixed” (approx 50% Palestinian & 50% Jewish Israelis) housing project for Area C. Perhaps residents of UNWRA refugee camps should be given priority in selecting the Palestinians for their 50%.
      I wonder what the the Israeli government’s reaction would be. I suspect their response to the proposal might well show their true colors.

  17. Elliot
    May 21, 2014, 1:15 am

    Y’know, the situation of the Israelite slaves in ancient Egypt was complex. It’s not fair to lay all the blame on one party.
    First of all, the Israelites may have had less rights than ethnic Egyptians but they were better off than their brethren in surrounding areas. That’s why they moved to Goshen in the first place, to escape famine elsewhere. The slaves’ standard of living was higher than anywhere else. Even their holy book, the Torah, tells how, later, after they had left Egypt, the Israelites complained that the food was better back home in Egypt.
    Secondly, The slave leader Moses was a militant extremist. He once killed an Egyptian man and hid the body. He lied in negotiations with Pharoah, claiming all he wanted was a travel permit for a three day religious holiday. When Pharoah agreed to Moses’ terms, Moses packed up everything with the clear intention of never coming back. When Pharoah came after Moses to hold him to their deal, Moses got his god to kill Pharoah and wipe out his entire army.
    Moses was a violent extremist and could not be trusted to keep his promises.
    How could you negotiate with such a man?
    It’s complicated. There are two sides to every story.

  18. Nevada Ned
    May 21, 2014, 1:46 am

    If you don’t like the word “Apartheid”, use the phrase “Jim Crow”.
    Either phrase is reasonably accurate, IMHO.

    • Hostage
      May 21, 2014, 1:33 pm

      If you don’t like the word “Apartheid”, use the phrase “Jim Crow”.

      At Nuremburg the crime was called persecution and it applied equally to Poles, Jews, Roma, & etc. It’s still one of the crimes subject to the jurisdiction of the ICC, its member states, and the countries that claimed it was part of customary international law prior to WWII.

  19. seafoid
    May 21, 2014, 1:50 am

    “The vast majority of settlers and Palestinians choose to live apart because of cultural and historical differences, not segregation”

    Any old bullshit. Get a nice face in a suit to mouth it.
    Oren also makes liberal use of the antisemitism slur to defend the status quo.

    • MHughes976
      May 21, 2014, 5:09 am

      If any human group puts itself outside moral objection by claiming that any objection if addressed to them is necessarily murderous nonsense the result is not helpful to anyone.

  20. traintosiberia
    May 21, 2014, 5:26 am

    Oren is running out of talking points. This portends omen .Words and languages are supposed to be the strongest evolutionary traits that the migrating tribes have acquired to fool the rich clueless hosts.
    May be this was the reason they provided to the Non Egyptians that the separate living was not working anymore . How much more could be added morally to the script that after the ordeal ( assumed dead by the brothers) in desert Joseph moved from the Egyptian immigration checkpoints to jail to royal court to the position of tax collector and administrator and prescient businessman growing rich while Egyptians grew poor ,destitute,and faced the famine while the brethren of Joseph accumulated riches and wealth beyond the wildest imagination . That Joseph explained the dream but brought nightmares to Egyptian was not lost on the Pharaoh
    .
    Oren ‘s explanation might have enough meat in it to persuade the Evangelicals to stick around a little longer and dream the dream until nightmare wakes them up forcing Oren to separate . Language will not save the day .

  21. traintosiberia
    May 21, 2014, 7:00 am

    “Delving into details of the negotiations, the Americans are quoted, “Israel presented its security needs in the West Bank: the demand was for total control on the ground…Israel would not be willing to agree to a timetable — its control would last forever.” But still, Abbas went further than the Palestinians had previously: “He agreed to a demilitarized state; he agreed to draw the border in such a way that 80 percent of the settlers would live in Israeli territory; he agreed for Israel to continue to hold onto security areas [in the Jordan Valley] for five years, and then it would be replaced by the United States…He also agreed that the Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem would remain under Israeli sovereignty, and agreed for the return of Palestinian refugees to Israel to be dependent on the will of the Israeli government.”

    In return for these concessions to the Israelis, the Americans told the journalist that Abbas required the following: that the decision on future borders be the first issue negotiated and agreed on; that an end date be set for Israeli security forces to withdraw from the new Palestinian state; and that East Jerusalem be accepted as the capital of the new state. “The Israelis did not accept any of these three demands.”

    http://www.unz.com/article/secretary-of-state-john-kerry-once-was-everywhere/

    Palestine Paper was right after all in claims the obsequiousness of Abbas and the arrogance of Israelis .

  22. traintosiberia
    May 21, 2014, 7:07 am

    60 per ent of Republicans still believe Saddam had WMD. At least they believe what was passed down to them from the media,leaders,celebrities,and wise people .
    Oren is a different fish of a different pond. He creates his own lies ( about the substances and now the time line) about the reasons the imbalanced imposed negotiations failed.

    Peace process was dead before arrival. Abbas just picked up a partner on way back from funeral to home which does not exist.

  23. Talkback
    May 21, 2014, 8:15 am

    What this racist Nakba and Apartheid denier is trying to say is that Jews as such – just by being Jews – can’t do wrong. Drag him to the International Criminal Court.

  24. German Lefty
    May 21, 2014, 1:58 pm

    We Jews remember how each attempt to obliterate us, whether in the Inquisition or during the Holocaust, was preceded by a campaign to delegitimize us.

    Wow! Oren uses the words “we” and “us” when talking about Jews during the Inquisition and the Holocaust. So, apparently, he was already alive at that time. However, he doesn’t look THAT old. What is his beauty secret?

    • libra
      May 21, 2014, 5:53 pm

      GL: What is his beauty secret?

      Perhaps he was a medieval discoverer of the legendary Hasbarist’s Stone whereby he remains immortal so long as he never utters the truth. Every generation he changes his name and moves to another county to cover his tracks.

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