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.
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?