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Apartheid and hafrada, and the psychology of separation

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Image from wikimedia commons, of Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum

Image from wikimedia commons, from the Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum

Bell responds to an article we ran in 2010 in which Hannah Schwarzschild suggested replacing the word apartheid with hafrada, a Hebrew word for separation that Israelis use.

You might be interested to know that “-heid” in Afrikaans means “-ness”. Thus “apartheid” = separateness.

Thus the Hebrew word “Hafrada” has precisely the same intended meaning as “apartheid”.

For why it matters, here is (a) some history and (b) an observation about the role of hate in conflicts.

A. HISTORY

Apartheid was a formally declared policy. It was not coined as a pejorative. The architect of Apartheid was Verwoerd.

My childhood was in South Africa during those times; when I was 11 my parents took us out of it and we moved to Canada. We boycotted for years. But South Africa has in some ways some assets for peace that Israel lacks, or needs to find equivalents for. Virtually every non-poor white person in South Africa was substantially raised by black people of whatever tribes were in the area, because domestic service was the norm. The key here is that those black people behaved as if they had a family responsibility, and you always trusted them. It could be confusing to hear abuse directed at people who look like and speak like the people you trust, but under apartheid there were memes for justifying the mental compartmentalisation that allowed people to avoid analysis of the situation. The result is that many white people speak a black language passably to fluently. In my case, Zulu, though as happens with languages of early childhood they aren’t made permanent and later languages replace them; unfortunately I remember very little (so if you have a child speaking a language at 3, encourage them to continue it past 6).

If you look at a map of South Africa, or read about its geography, you will find many towns and landmarks with Bantu-language place names (I’m proud to be able to properly pronounce names like Hluhluwe, Nhlazuka), and white people made little attempt to replace them. Thus, even during apartheid — roughly late 50s to late 80s an official policy and laws until it just fell apart, mostly due to boycotts and partly to the silly cumbersomeness of the system* — there was a clear love of the land shared by black and white alike, and an enormous number of personal relationships of trust and friendship between races or colours or whatever they are to be called.

(*all those expensive enameled metal signs saying “net blankes” or “nie blankes” on doors, benches, toilets, beaches…, the fake administrations of ‘homelands’, the need for a small business to have four toilets, and the inability of business to promote on the basis of competence)

There must be, I hope, some links that comparably exist to facilitate peace in Israel/Palestine.

B. ROLE OF HATE IN CONFLICTS
We see hateful acts, and hateful discriminations, in many conflicts.
The thing that seems to me to be a general feature of disputes is that the hate component (even at the scale of two individuals) generally originates with the party that wants something that the other has, and uses hate as a means to convince himself that it is alright to disenfranchise or dismiss the rights of the other.
E.g. when one person wants to dismiss his neighbour’s concerns about, say, loud noise in the middle of the night, he will rarely say “okay, let’s have a discussion, maybe you are correct, or maybe this is reasonable noise”; more often it is a few expletives and a verbal paraphrase of a map to nowhere.
The victim doesn’t hate; because he doesn’t require any psychological device to understand what is going on, because it’s quite plain what’s going on. The aggressor is the self-confused one, the one who has a need for internal confusion in his own mind, who needs to confuse his own morals. Without hate to support the theft, the aggressor would have to think of it as just plain theft, and under that psychological burden few aggressors could continue. I.e. very few aggressors who want your stuff could say plainly “I want your stuff, so I’m going to just take it, sorry”. Bullies may say that, but the theft for them is not primary but secondary, merely a way to express dominance; if taking your stuff is primary most will find some justification that is first dismissal of your rights or your right to have rights, to enable the theft; even though some early leaders of the Zionist movement are reported as having said pretty plainly what they were about.
So hate is — in that view — not real or fundamental, but a mere pretense (in the internal narrative) that is psychologically required to quell an internal dialogue that would keep the aggressor civilised.
Hate is an emotional illusion that is necessary to adopt in order to violate one’s own stated principles. And victims often show no need for revenge, but just would like peace.
As such, hate being not fundamental, it may well instead be ephemeral. Which is a hopeful thing, yes?

K.N.I. Bell
About K.N.I. Bell

Dr. Kim Bell is a Canadian academic in the sciences. Some of his writing is here: www.razorbillpress.com/democracy/

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11 Responses

  1. lyn117
    lyn117 on April 27, 2014, 12:31 pm

    I like your analysis – one might add, the victimizer may also accuse the victim of hatred, as well as all kinds of aggression as an excuse and attempt at self-confusion.

    I don’t think bullies say “sorry”

  2. Jackdaw
    Jackdaw on April 27, 2014, 12:55 pm

    Gaza-born ‘Arab Idol’ performs in Israel before 10,000.

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4513723,00.html

    ‘Apartheid Israel’ failure.
    ‘Arab washing’ failure.
    BDS. Abject failure.

    • lyn117
      lyn117 on April 27, 2014, 4:44 pm

      I will happily withdraw the charge against Israel of being an apartheid state if they allow all remaining 7 million native people of their land to live in it, that is, allow any Palestinian refugees or their descendants to return.

      • Jackdaw
        Jackdaw on April 28, 2014, 12:55 pm

        How about the original refugees return? I’m good with it.

        I mean, how is a refugee’s great-grandchild also a refugee? The little kid wasn’t dispossessed in 1948, was he?

        My friend’s grandmother was a Holocaust refugee. Is my friend a refugee too?

      • Hostage
        Hostage on April 29, 2014, 12:35 am

        How about the original refugees return? I’m good with it.

        I mean, how is a refugee’s great-grandchild also a refugee? The little kid wasn’t dispossessed in 1948, was he?

        It’s a stupid question, since it was already considered to be a “crime against peace” to deport or expel portions of a county’s population beyond an international boundary in the first place. Now you are suggesting that its only necessary to exile people and wait in order to destroy a family’s legal connection to its ancestral country and its clan or tribal estates located therein. Even the Israelis don’t accept that proposition:

        Expropriation of Jewish property was an essential element of Nazi anti-Jewish policy. The Nazis systematically plundered land and property throughout Europe that had been obtained through hard work and creativity for hundreds of years and which were an important part of Jewish economic and cultural activity.

        — Yad Vashem, “The Holocaust, The Outbreak of World War II and Anti-Jewish Policy: Expansion of German Conquest and Policy Towards Jews” http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/holocaust/about/02/expansion.asp

        The fact is that the post WW-II German constitution restored the citizenship of both the “Ashkenazi” Jewish parents and any descendants born abroad who would have otherwise been German nationals, if not for the affects of the Nazi era Nuremberg race laws and illegal deportations. Spain has proposed the adoption of similar laws that would grant a right of return to Jewish descendants of persons expelled during the Inquisition centuries ago. Israel’s in-gathering of the so-called “exiles” is also powerful evidence of state practice that can be applied to argue for the Palestinian right of return to their national home, regardless of the number of generations that have elapsed.

        In any event, the laws that grant automatic citizenship here in the United States to anyone either born in the country or to American parents who are living abroad are based upon our Constitution, which like the Magna Carta, secured the rights not only for ourselves, but for our posterity. They reflect centuries-old legal principles of family/national rights (jus soli and/or jus sanguinis ) that were also reflected in the Palestine Citizenship Order in Council of 1925, subsections 3(b) and (c), i.e. if your father was a citizen of Palestine, then you were too, regardless of where you were born.

        The Nuremberg Tribunal declared that the rules annexed to the Hague Convention of 1907 were customary law binding on non-signatories, no later than 1939. An occupying power is required to respect the laws in effect, except in cases of absolute military necessity in accordance with Artcle 43. It is also required to strictly respect family rights and honor, including family estates and property, without exception, under the rules contained in article 46 of the Hague Convention. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hague04.asp#art43

        Israel and Jordan both retained that citizenship law in effect under their Transition Acts of 1948. Israel and Jordan didn’t even introduce their own Nationality laws, until 1950. I’ve discussed in the past the fact that contemporary publicists who were consulted as sources of public international law, had hailed the adoption of Article 46, because they said the protection of family rights would eventually prevent ethnic cleansing of entire districts as a result of armed conflicts. http://mondoweiss.net/2014/04/escalating-palestine-solidarity.html/comment-page-1#comment-656759

      • Hostage
        Hostage on April 29, 2014, 12:48 am

        My friend’s grandmother was a Holocaust refugee. Is my friend a refugee too?

        If your friend was Jewish and the grandmother was deported from Germany, then the Constitution says your friend can be considered German, as if the deportation and loss of citizenship had never occurred. Whether he/she is also a refugee is not relevant. FYI, persons are not normally considered refugees, if they have accepted citizenship and protection of another country.

    • Hostage
      Hostage on April 27, 2014, 5:10 pm

      Gaza-born ‘Arab Idol’ performs in Israel before 10,000.

      link to ynetnews.com
      ‘Apartheid Israel’ failure.
      ‘Arab washing’ failure.
      BDS. Abject failure.

      Hasbara failure. Black artists played in front of audiences in Montgomery and Selma too, but that didn’t mean there were no Jim Crow laws and legal segregation. I can personally attest to the fact that there were still separate white and colored drinking fountains and restrooms here in Kansas, just like the ones in South Africa mentioned in the article above, long after the decision in Brown v. Board of Eduction.

      Wherever a Palestinian artist appears in Israel or the Occupied territory of Palestine, he or she won’t be very far from one of the hundreds of legally segregated Jewish ethnic communities. The CERD panel cited the Article 3 prohibition of racial segregation and apartheid in its latest report in that connection:

      The Committee notes with increased concern that Israeli society maintains Jewish and non-Jewish sectors, which raises issues under article 3 of the Convention. Clarifications provided by the delegation confirmed the Committee’s concerns in relation to the existence of two systems of education, one in Hebrew and one in Arabic, which except in rare circumstances remain impermeable and inaccessible to the other community, as well as separate municipalities: Jewish municipalities and the so-called “municipalities of the minorities”. The enactment of the Admissions Committees Law (2011), which gives private committees full discretion to reject applicants deemed “unsuitable to the social life of the community”, is a clear sign that the concerns as regards segregation remain pressing (Articles 3, 5 and 7 of the Convention).

      http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/docs/CERD.C.ISR.CO.14-16.pdf

  3. Stogumber
    Stogumber on April 27, 2014, 1:29 pm

    Some comments.

    “Hate” is overused and ought to be replaced by more precise terms, like distrust or ruthlessness or hostility.

    E.g. the core point of “hate crimes” is not at all the peculiar state of mind of the aggressor, but the randomness of the victim (any member of a certain group would do).

    “Hate speech” crimes are the worst defined crimes on earth. In debate, they are mostly defined by the (alleged or possible) effect for the victim. The motives of the perpetrator – like defence of the counterpart or stubborn clinging to a personal conviction etc. – are not even regarded.

    As the “noise” story shows, the stronger person is mostly ruthless and the weaker is mostly hostile. Wasn’t it G.B. Shaw who explained hate as a consequence of powerlessness – to be healed by empowerment? Otherwise, the stronger person, for to remain hostile, must perpetually tell himself that he is the weaker one in reality..

  4. ritzl
    ritzl on April 27, 2014, 1:41 pm

    Whether Israel is Apartheid or not (it is) is the stuff of so much obfuscation that Hafrada may well end up being used as an alternate or additional name for the crime of Apartheid such that it is debated (and tried) on its own merits (or lack thereof).

    Hope so anyway.

  5. Citizen
    Citizen on April 27, 2014, 4:38 pm

    Does this matter to those who make this horror possible, that is, the American congressman and key main party donors who operate the push button that has led us to this dilemma? Do Soros and Adelson, for example, care about apartness, other than as a jewel in the diamond belt of Israel as an insurance policy against goy DNA’s negative goal?

  6. pabelmont
    pabelmont on April 27, 2014, 7:24 pm

    The victim doesn’t hate; because he doesn’t require any psychological device to understand what is going on, because it’s quite plain what’s going on. The aggressor is the self-confused one, the one who has a need for internal confusion in his own mind, who needs to confuse his own morals. Without hate to support the theft, the aggressor would have to think of it as just plain theft, and under that psychological burden few aggressors could continue. I.e. very few aggressors who want your stuff could say plainly “I want your stuff, so I’m going to just take it, sorry”. Bullies may say that, but the theft for them is not primary but secondary, merely a way to express dominance; if taking your stuff is primary most will find some justification that is first dismissal of your rights or your right to have rights, to enable the theft; even though some early leaders of the Zionist movement are reported as having said pretty plainly what they were about.
    So hate is — in that view — not real or fundamental, but a mere pretense (in the internal narrative) that is psychologically required to quell an internal dialogue that would keep the aggressor civilised.
    Hate is an emotional illusion that is necessary to adopt in order to violate one’s own stated principles. And victims often show no need for revenge, but just would like peace.
    As such, hate being not fundamental, it may well instead be ephemeral. Which is a hopeful thing, yes?

    Altogether I like it. However, I’ve always believed that hate builds up not only before the evil act, to justify and so to permit it, but after the evil act as well, to justify and so to protect the evil-doer.

    So, first, “I hate you so that I may kill you or steal your land or country or happiness” and, second, “I hate you because you must be guilty to have deserved this evil that I have done, so that it (this evil act) will be cleansed of evil by post-facto hate.”

    BTW, I am not sure a desire to dominate is absent: an exercise of illicit dominance (as the Nazis surely dominated Jews) may be a psychological response to being badly treated. Don’t we read constantly that kids who were sexually or physically mistreated by savage parents often (not always, thanks be to God) become savagers of their own wives, kids, and others.

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