Sometimes confronting the naked truth is shocking – yet sobering.
Israeli historian Benny Morris was alas right, when he concluded that
“[T]ransfer was inevitable and inbuilt in Zionism – because it sought to transform a land which was ‘Arab’ into a Jewish state and a Jewish state could not have arisen without a major displacement of Arab population”.
I believe every Zionist knows this, even if they have not meticulously scrutinized the history of Zionism as Morris and many others had done. They know it because their logic tells them that they should not reverse the results of this ethnic cleansing (which occurred in various waves, mainly 1948, 1967, in between, thereafter and currently), because it would endanger the ‘Jewish and democratic’ state that is a ‘must’ for them.
Everything that results from this logic is an extension of it. How to deal with the dispossessed, how to close them in, how to deal with their ‘aggression and violence’.
It was the late General Rafael Eitan who said in 1983, when he was Chief of Staff, that
“When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle.”
Eitan later joined politics and held various ministerial offices including Deputy-Prime-Minister under Benjamin Netanyahu, from 1996 to 1999.
So, it all becomes a question of how to deal with “drunken cockroaches” after the fact, after the fate of the dispossessed is sealed.
You cannot make this much prettier, although ‘liberal Zionists’ definitely try to.
It’s just a plain and awful logic. There’s a reason why many prominent South Africans as well as other intellectuals, including Jewish and Israeli ones, have marked Israeli policy as worse than South African Apartheid:
– South African law professor Prof. John Dugard, former special rapporteur for the United Nations on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, had written in a report to the UN General Assembly in 2004 that the Israeli Apartheid regime is “worse than the one that existed in South Africa”. Out of office over a decade later, Dugard regarded the Israeli crimes as “infinitely worse than those committed by the apartheid regime of South Africa.”
– Baleka Mbete, chair of the African National Congress, said in 2012 that the Israeli regime is “far worse than Apartheid South Africa.”
– Israeli writer and journalist (Haaretz contributor) Yitzhak Laor wrote in 2009 that Israel’s Apartheid is not only “worse” but also “more ruthless”.
– Professor Noam Chomsky said in 2014 that it’s “much worse than Apartheid”.
– Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said in 2014 that it “amounts to an Apartheid system”.
True, many of these appraisals limit the Apartheid system to Israel’s 1967 occupation, under the orthodoxy that if it weren’t for that, it would be alright. This is based on the idea that before and outside the 1967 occupation paradigm, Israel is after all a ‘democracy’. But this limited appraisal is a conceptual walling in of that occupation, much like Israel’s various ‘security barriers’.
Israeli apologists often refer to the ‘Israeli Arabs’ as a minority that after all, enjoys a certain civil protection, in a region where such protections are not always present. But this argument is disingenuous on several fronts. First, they are a minority because the majority was ethnically cleansed. Secondly, they are not equal under the law, and they cannot be, because of Israel’s intrinsic racial character as a Jewish State. Thirdly, just because they are perhaps the most fortunate sector of the Palestinian people, doesn’t mean that they are its essential representation, or that Israel should get a pass on its more overtly genocidal policies (as in Gaza), only because it treats some of the Palestinians better. A jail torturer is not less of a torturer just because he treats some prisoners well.
As I wrote in my very first published article here, there’s not really that big a difference between Israel’s 1948 occupation and its 1967 occupation, and as I wrote more recently, that occupation is simply what we do. Israel has been doing nothing else but ‘occupying’ since the beginning, and this begs the notion, that ‘occupation’ is too limited a term to describe the paradigm of Israel’s Apartheid. The ‘occupation’ is not a limited or temporary 1967 issue. It is a Zionist issue. The occupation is Apartheid, because the occupation is what Israel does, and it’s a manifestly Zionist matter.
And all this is because, when looking back at Morris’s appraisal, the Israeli Apartheid stems from its settler-colonialist nature. And it’s much worse than the South African one, because it is a venture which sought and seeks to essentially eliminate the presence of the native Palestinians to irrelevance, rather than to exploit them as cheap labor.
As celebrated American author Ben Ehrenreich recently said,
“[T]he attempts to erase a people, to just erase them, to erase their history, I think follow a logic that can only be called genocidal”.
We are thus seeing not only Apartheid, but also genocide, unfold before us, for the past 7 decades. It’s so egregious, that many can hardly fathom it, and so they recoil to an apologetics that amounts to: “Don’t exaggerate.”
But the logic of it is frighteningly sober. We are talking about the two gravest crimes against humanity – Apartheid and Genocide. They are being committed in the name of Zionism.