Yesterday Neil Macdonald, a columnist and longtime DC and Middle East correspondent for Canadian Broadcasting, wrote that it’s time to call a duck a duck: “Israel already is an apartheid state.”
Macdonald’s evidence is hardly obscure. It includes Netanyahu’s declaration that Israel is never leaving the West Bank, the boom in settlement construction, Israeli officials bullying the Palestinians that they will never have a state, and the cruel joke of the peace process. Most importantly, he cites the two sets of laws based on ethnicity:
The roughly three quarters of a million Jewish settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have complete freedom of movement and their own set of roads, effectively forbidden to the disenfranchised Palestinian underclass. Settlers suspected of crimes are entitled to full rights in Israeli courts; Palestinians endure military tribunals, indefinite imprisonment without charge (“administrative detention”) and collective punishment.
When are liberal Zionists going to be half this honest about a stark reality?
They won’t do it because they’re the firewall on American establishment support for Israel, and they know it. Macdonald notes that you get punished for pointing out this fact in the U.S. It’s “radioactive” to say apartheid:
It’s interesting that within the Israeli discourse, the assertion seems to have become routine, while it remains radioactive in the West, where energetic pro-Israel activists scrutinize the media, the academy and the polity, ready to declare anti-Semitism or incitement at any use of the word.
He points out that Jimmy Carter was pilloried and caricatured as a “dotty old man” for daring to say apartheid ten years ago– when Wolf Blitzer and Terry Gross went after him hammer and tongs for putting the word in the title of his book on Palestine.
Palestinians have of course told us it’s apartheid for a long time now. There is a special place in hell for Americans who deny apartheid when they’ve seen the West Bank and East Jerusalem. That goes for a lot of liberal Zionists who vacillate about what they’ve seen when they deplore the occupation. But that firewall is slowly cracking.
Here’s my list of folks in the US mainstream/Jewish world who have called a duck a duck:
“In the end, it is the ongoing moral failure of the country as a whole that is most consequential, most dangerous, and most unacceptable. This failure weighs heavily…on our humanity. We are, so we claim, the children of the prophets… I still find it astonishing that we, of all people, have reinvented apartheid in the West Bank.”
John Mearsheimer said it on WBEZ last month: Israel has chosen “apartheid” over the two-state solution.
David Remnick quotes an Israeli journalist saying that Palestinians may soon say, “No more apartheid!” in the New Yorker.
Stephen Robert, Jewish leader, wrote in the Nation six years ago, Palestine is “apartheid on steroids.”
Charney Bromberg, liberal Zionist, said it at Columbia University seven years ago. Cross the Green Line and you might as well be in South Africa during apartheid times.
Jodi Rudoren of the New York Times told reporter John Lyons that Palestinians experience apartheid, though she never blessed the readers of the New York Times with this insight.
Caroline Morganti of Open Hillel put a list of Israeli pols who used the word “apartheid” in Haaretz more than a year ago:
Finally, an even longer list of Israeli politicians believe that Israel will become an apartheid state if the status quo continues: Shin Bet directors Yuval Diskin <http://www.jpost.com/printarticle.aspx?id=319701> and Ami Ayalon <http://www.charlierose.com/watch/60107982>; former Prime Ministers Ehud Barak <http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/feb/03/barak-apartheid-palestine-peace>, Ehud Olmert <http://www.haaretz.com/news/olmert-to-haaretz-two-state-solution-or-israel-is-done-for-1.234201>, and Yitzhak Rabin <http://www.timesofisrael.com/in-1976-interview-rabin-likens-settlements-to-cancer-warns-of-apartheid/>; opposition leaders Isaac Herzog <http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Herzog-promises-to-make-Labor-a-mass-movement-again-330316> and Tzipi Livni <http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Livni-European-boycott-of-settlement-goods-can-spread-to-all-of-Israel-318307>; and Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah <http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4391662,00.html>, to name a few.
Even Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), known for her support for annexing the West Bank and desire to see an Israeli flag over the Temple Mount, said in 2013 <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfTXRH7Mwv0#t=1m2s>, “Continuation of the status quo – there are some members of the Right who think it’s possible. I personally think it’s not possible. Over time, the State of Israel will truly become an apartheid state. I do not want that.”