What are your thoughts on calling Israel an 'Apartheid State'? Is the Barrier an 'Apartheid Wall' or a 'Security Fence'?

I am writing a paper at the moment for presentation in a conference in 12 days and I still can't coherently formulate my argument against Diasporas engaging in dialogue from the position that Israel is an 'Apartheid State'. My thoughts thus far are that while the occupation, the "Matrix of Control" as Jeff Halper calls it, is suffocating and inhibits Palestinian statehood, not to mention breaching human rights and human dignity, using the analogy of apartheid in South Africa obscures the historical context of the I/P conflict. This has two downsides. For one, it undermines historical reasons for the current state of the conflict and obscures legitimate Israeli security concerns, assumes that Israel's reasons for erecting the Barrier were for racist reasons, and in the process attributes the whole of the conflict to skin color or religion over territory and nationalism. Two, it overlooks the specificity of Palestinian suffering, and the use of 'rights discourses' of Apartheid doesn't fully do justice to the totality of the conflict, the refugees, and Israeli Arabs in particular. So what I'm trying to say, I believe, is that on the one hand it downplays certain factors that shouldn't be overlooked while sensationalizing 'Apartheid' as a loaded political term, utilizing its expedience, dehuminizing lives lost over causes overshadowed by the analogy, on the other. I think in the case of Diasporas and dialogue the 'Apartheid' analogy is unhelpful because it doesn't lead to mutual understanding but rather engages the 'Other' in a disposition empty of trust and full of anger and hatred. I don't see how anger and hatred will facilitate a starting point to dialogue. But what do you think?

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I keep reading rhetoric that seems to express a negation of the Jewish people and the Israelis who are actually real and living in this world NOW.
I would hope that those of you who seem to be caught in proving something from a particular discourse of history could begin to see the very real humans that are living and contributing to the world you love.
There really is a country called Israel.
There really are Israelis and Jews. Evan though there are only 14 million in the entire world!!!!
However they (we) have evolved... we are really here.
Many, many, many of the real living Jews and Israelis really would like to have peace for all.
AND there are many real, living people who are called Palestinians who want and need a country within which their own culture can flourish.
There is a need for open and honest dialogue about what REALLY exists in the real world.
Somehow we need to find a way for all the people who have suffered from the many years of violence to be able to TRUST one another.
Healing, on both sides, is not easy.
Letting go of years of anger and hatred is not easy.
Finding compassion and trust is not easy.
Blaming and trying to prove who is right and who is wrong is only wasting precious time.
Please stop trying to teach a history lesson.
Let's start to form a future lesson.
Shalom, Salaam, Peace,
Your own rhetoric indicates your lack of comprehension of history. You use words such as "relatively" and "likely". In other words, you don't know. Let's take it step by step:

1. "since they discovered oil in their own country. They don't need to send people to colonise the Middle East any more."

Do you think Israel is a colony of Russia? How can Israel be a colony of Russia when the Soviets vehemently opposed Zionism. Most Israeli Jews are not from Russia. 40% are from Arab/Muslim countries. Though almost a million Russians moved to Israel in the 90's, some of whom weren't Jewish.

2. "The Eastern European and Russian Jews who were persecuted by the Nazis were the same as those who had migrated West as a result of the pogroms"

From where did you this idea? Russian Jews fleeing the pogroms moved to the US and very few went to Palestine. The Nazis murdered long standing Jewish members of German society. Only a small minority of German Jews were Orthodox. Most were secular.

3. "which were also a result of retaliation against the Bolshevics. The Bolshevics were eventually successful in leading to the beginnings of Communism, therefore the feud between the Bolshevics and the Czarists ended already with the birth of Communism."

The Bolshevic party of the Communist movement was a secular organization like all Communists. The Nazis killed Communists, Jews, Roma, and others, but the wholesale linking of Jews and Bolshevism is a contradiction in terms.

4. "The landless Khazar migrants were probably easy targets, alongside the Romany, who were also rounded up."

This is a common contradiction of Nazi propaganda. Antisemitic Nazi propaganda warned of the Jews as big fat factory owners. This is exactly the opposite of your picture of "Khazar", which is what you call Jews.

5. "Landless people always carried their money with them, rather than investing in actual land."

Jews in the last several centuries have become very urban as a result of the ghetto and the persecution. Only when they have become free have they become agricultural, hence the Yishuv/kibbutz movement.

6. "It could be said that the decision of Eastern European Jews who had no land, to buy land in Palestine in the beginning was a way for them to invest in what they saw as a potentially viable economic future, because they knew that the Middle East was about to boom as part of the new oil economy."

How would they have known? If they knew, why did they settle in the part where there is NO OIL? Numerous first hand accounts of Palestine describe how desolate it was and how the Jews living there could only be there from the donations of Jews abroad. Israeli economy is not based on natural resources. It is based on high tech, which can be created anywhere.

7. The languages of the Jewish tradition are Hebrew and Aramaic. They are just as semetic as Arabic. You vision the Middle East as a monolithic population of Muslim Arabs. But it is very diverse where Jews, Druze, Bedouins, Kurds, and others who have just as much right to be there as Arabs. Very important Jewish prayers are in Aramaic. Some of the Talmud is in Aramaic. These Jewish traditions carried by Jews through out the Diaspora has nothing to do with Khazars and Russia, but from the birthplace of Judaism in Hebron and Jerusalem.

You've mentioned genetic tests. Same genetic tests show that Ashkenazim share Middle Eastern genetic markers. But the conflict is not about genetics.
Thank you Michael for so clearly clarifying some relevant facts.

== PmR
Michael - You seem to have responded to Lilia, but mixed up part of my message into your response.
I am in no way an historian.
I used the word "rhetoric" pointing to the inflamatory rhetoric that I've been reading from some of the respondents.
I thought mepeace was a place for us to work toward peace.
Rather it seems to be a dumping ground for many who would choose to continue to inflame hatred.
So - I thank you for stepping in to try to get some clearer facts out, but I don't think the folks who need to become more enlighened want to learn from you.
God help us all.
Shalom, Salaam, Peace,
My response was to Lilia.
The first time Jews began to "self-define" themselves was NOT "in fact" at the end of the Napoleonic era. I don't even know how you came to this conclusion.

"Judaism did begin to be used as a way for individuals to define themselves as different to those around themselves, while influencing politics in a way that was unconventional in the last 150 years."

You generalize way too much. I can't respond to vague statements.

About Aramaic, I didn't say or mean to say that only Jews used it. Jews still use Aramaic by reading Jewish prayer books and studying Talmud.
When referring to Israeli collective punishment, please refer to a specific policy. I might agree with you on some policies.
The strategic importance of Israel in relation to oil from Iran and Iraq to Europe, still remains, today.

You made a very strong statement, would you please back it up with some factual positions otherwise this is nothing but negative posturing.

That is the ONLY reason that Israel is continued to be propped up as an artificial puppet state, to this day.

I am just flabergasted that you could make such a statement on a peace site without being called to either back it up or withdraw it.

Nobody has any reason to migrate to Israel for the 'purposes of religion' to this day - except to cover these basic facts.

Is that the reason Jews migrate or migrated or will migrate to Israel in your opinion?

Jewish and Zionist are interchangeable terms. Lets not get into my Jew is better than your Jew argument as it is a bogus fly in the ointment argument.

The question is do you want peace or do you want a Muslim State instead of Israel.

I would not have the time or inclination to dispel the many myth, half truths and outright lies contained in that long dissertation of yours. Suffice it to say that this type of propaganda and misinformation does not work any more.

Israel is a sovereign country, the Jewish State and it will not be prevented from defending its citizens and will remain strong in military and economic terms. The Palestinians must decide whether they want a State or annihilate Israel whether militarily or through flooding it with refugees.

Lillia, in either case the Palestinians only hope is an agreement as nothing else will work.

Even the thin veneer being used by some to tell Jews and Israelis how to live and what is best for them is wearing very thin indeed. Suffice it to say that as a Jew and a Zionist, and not ashamed but rather proud of it, I do not wish to live in a multicultural Israel dominated by Islam.We returned and proclaimed a Jewish State in Israel and this must be acknowledged by the Muslim world in no uncertain terms.

I refuse to be cowed or debate with fake and condescending voices who are seeking the demise of the only Jewish State and yet celebrate the 22 Arab Muslim States in the current Middle East.

I am neither amused or swayed by your simple one sided arguments without any reference to facts or reality and in fact do consider them in extremely poor taste and disingenuous.

The mere fact that you are posting the garbage that you are posting on a so called peace site is testament as to why peace is still very, very far away.

Your understanding of Judaism is neither historical nor serious. I don't know where you learned what you state.

The Israeli Supreme Court didn't declare the declaration as illegal. It just isn't law like the US Declaration of Independence isn't law. The US Constitution is law. I think that the Israeli equivalent is the Basic Law, but I'm not sure. What made the Israeli Declaration of Independence legal (aka legitimate) is that it was accepted by the world like what makes any country's declaration of independence legal.



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