Sunday, December 17, 2006

Of Course its apartheid.

Jimmy Carters book "Palestine: Peace Not apartheid" has, not surprisingly, been attacked by pro-Israeli commentators and bloggers. Words like "anti-semetic", "anti-American","lies", "plagiarism", "untruthful" and "distortion" are all used to describe Carter and his book.

I haven't read the book so I can't really make any comment on whether its thesis is convincing or not. I suspect most anti-Carter commentators haven't read the book either, but simply take offence at the books title and Carters assertion that the American Israel-Palestine debate is one sided. An example of this was last Tuesday when The Guardian seemingly didn't dare publish this article by Jimmy Carter without also printing this rebuttal by Michael Kinsley.

Kinsleys denial of Carters reference to apartheid is, in my opinion, unconvincing. Simply dismissing the analogy by arguing that the Israeli government does not have an official philosophy of racial superiority, contrary to the former regime in South Africa, only makes Israel look less honest about their policies than National Party lead South Africa. Even if Zionism can be said to not contain an ideology of ethnic supremacy, Israel's policies of annexation and colonization have created a 'de facto' apartheid state. The two ethnic groups are separated physically and in legal status. Israeli settlements occupy many of the best parts of the West Bank and are connected by 'Israeli only' roads. In the impoverished Palestinian areas, the populations live lives deprived rights such as voting, freedom of movement and freedom of ownership.

Kinsley's statement that "Palestine is no bantustan. Or if it is, it is the creation of Arabs, not Jews" is staggering in its denial of Israel's occupation and military control of the West Bank and Gaza. While it is debatable how much Israel planned and orchestrated the removal of Arabs from what became Israel in 1948, it cannot be denied that Israel has been the occupier and ruler of the whole of Palestine since 1967 and that the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) was created under Israeli rule. Israel has continued to exercise military control since establishment of the PNA in 1994 and has regularly attacked PNA infrastructures undermining its ability to govern. Also in economic terms is Palestine controlled by Israel and the PNA only survives because of EU and US handouts. How can Kinsley argue that this state of affairs is an Arab creation?

Supporters of Israel may believe its policies towards the Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza are justified and right, but they are in denial if they reject the label apartheid.


At 18 December, 2006 07:32, Blogger Lasse Bech said...

Well said. Have you sent it as a letter to the editor?

At 18 December, 2006 18:35, Blogger Torsten Pedersen said...

"Have you sent it as a letter to the editor?"

No. In spite of holding opinions about everything and sundry, I never try to get letters or articles published. The letter I wrote to Adventnyt recently was an exception, because I felt I knew what I was talking about.

Most of what I write on this blog is really only for my own benefit. Its good exercise to formulate ideas and thoughts in writing, even when these thoughts might not be fully developed (aka "ufærdige tanker"!)

Letters to the editor also need, in any case, to be short, which is a vice I haven't yet picked up ;-).

At 18 December, 2006 18:45, Blogger Torsten Pedersen said...

Ups, I've just noticed that I had linked to the wrong Jimmy Carter article. The link is now correct, anybody is interested in what the ex-president wrote.


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