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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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Lilia,

Pipelines from Iraq and Iran do not even get close to the Israeli border. So what is your evidence that Israel is important to Europe? A: Israel has an oil refinery. Woop-tee-doo! So what? An oil refinery can be built anywhere.

How can it be Europe that is propping up Israel? Europe funds NGOs in Israel, not the military.

What exactly is a religious purpose? Many Jews and Christians visit Israel because there are many religiously significant sites there. Muslims from the West Bank and elsewhere go to Jerusalem for religiously significant sites.

The main reason Jews left or got out of certain countries might not have been because of religious causes, but the Land does have an historical and cultural (aka religion) importance to Jews.

Please show me one historian/author arguing that oil is why Jews moved to Israel/Palestine?
Lilia - I will be leaving this blog group as I find that you and others are not trying to find a means toward peace.
Rather you are inflaming anger and hatred.
I leave you with this in depth article about organ transplants that have been provided for both Isrealis and Palestinians. If you read it in it's entirety I hope you will learn some interesting details
:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Dec. 21, 2009

Contact:
Marcus Sheff: 011-972-2-6236427, marcuss@theisraelproject.org
Leah Soibel: 011-972-2-6236427, leahs@theisraelproject.org
www.theisraelproject.org

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Israel Reiterates Hard Line on Illegal Organ Trafficking Following Revelations of Decade-old Case

Experts available for interviews

In response to an Associated Press report that an Israeli forensics specialist a decade ago was removing organs from deceased Israeli soldiers and civilians as well as Palestinians without their families’ permission, the Israeli Ministry of Health on Monday (Dec. 21) issued a statement underscoring that it has made such practices illegal.[1]

The ministry said that the Segelson Commission, established in 2001, investigated the matter and forbade organ removal from deceased persons without family permission. This practice has been discontinued and has not occurred since the issue came to light, officials said.[2]

Organs from deceased persons were removed at the Abu Kabir forensic institute to treat other patients; they were not sold or trafficked.[3]

Relatives of Israeli soldiers and civilians as well as Palestinian families made formal complaints against Abu Kabir in 2004. The bodies were those of Israelis and Palestinians who had died due to a variety of reasons such as disease, accidents and through Israeli-Palestinian violence.[4] The doctor responsible for the removal of organs at the institute was dismissed from his position as director.[5]
A number of organ trafficking cases have arisen in Israel in recent years, prompting the government to tighten legislation on the issue, break up organ trafficking rings and prosecute those involved both directly and indirectly.

“This reprinting of old information must not be allowed to become the occasion for mischief, blasphemous lies or distortions,” Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Chairman Alan Solow and Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein said in a statement released Monday. Media interviews surrounding the reports “provided no evidence to indicate that any Palestinian was killed to ‘harvest organs.’ Such accusations can inflame the region, incite violence and undermine the chances of peace.”

In March 2008, the Knesset (Israeli parliament) passed the Organ Donation Law, forbidding trafficking and selling organs whether in Israel or outside of the country. The law also forbids anyone from brokering such deals or acting in any way as an intermediary for organ sales.[6]

According to the law, “anyone who receives or gives compensation for an organ from a person not his relative, or a broker who gives or receives, or a physician who performs such a transplant will be sentenced to six months in prison or a financial penalty…” The law applies to all cases – whether within Israel or abroad. [7]

The law won the backing of Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo Amar and other major rabbinical authorities.[8] The Law of Brain Death, passed at the same time, establishes brain death as a standard for defining the death of a potential donor.[9] According to that law, brain death can only be declared after certain criteria are met and with authorization from at least two senior doctors – neither of them involved in the patient’s treatment or organ transplantation.[10]

But transplants in Israel remain a problem because of Jewish religious restrictions, which prohibit the needless mutilation of corpses, benefitting from a corpse or delaying burial. However, Judaism also teaches the principle of pikuach nefesh, or saving a life – one of the religion’s most important commandments.[11]

Israel has been working to increase organ donation among its citizens. In 1993, the National Organ Transplant Center was established to recruit and match potential donors with those in need of organ transplants. As of June 2002, about 130,000 Israelis had signed up for the program; as a result, between 2000 and 2002, the number of donors increased from 300 Israelis signing donor cards monthly to 3,500 per month in 2002.[12]

Other, independent efforts by Jews and Israelis also have helped encourage Israelis to become organ donors. One of them, the Halachic (Jewish law) Organ Donor Society (hods.org) was founded in 1991 to increase the number of organ donations among Jews in Israel and beyond. The nonprofit group educates about the importance of organ donation and addresses Jewish law and medical issues related to organ donation.[13] In 1991, the largest group of Orthodox rabbis – the Rabbinical Council of America – endorsed organ donation from brain-dead patients.[14]

Despite the laws and efforts to increase organ donation, in December 2007, two Israeli men from the city of Haifa were convicted of aiding and abetting human trafficking to harvest organs. The two men, John Allan (formerly Mohammad Gheit) and Hassan Zakhalka, received sentences of four years and 20 months respectively. [15]

In August 2008, Michael Zis, an Israeli surgeon who had been arrested in Ukraine for performing illegal organ transplants, was extradited from Ukraine to Israel. The man was part of the same organ trafficking ring as Allan and Zakhalka.[16]

"Given that Israel has one of the lowest organ donor consent rates in the Western world, there is and always has been a severe shortage of organ donation in the country," said Robert Berman, founder and director of the Halachic Organ Donor Society. "It is in this context that [the forensic specialist] inappropriately removed body parts from corpses, such as heart valves, in order to save ailing patients, Arabs and Jews alike. Recent Israeli legislation by the Knesset and enforcement by the Ministry of Health has prevented such actions from reoccurring."

“As inappropriate as the specialist's behavior was, there are two important points to note in this story. First, organs were taken from Jews and Palestinian alike. Palestinians were not singled out. Second, no one was murdered for their organs. These body parts were taken from cadavers. Both of these critical points indicate that this sorrowful event does not lend any credibility to the recently published article in Sweden’s Aftonbladet newspaper claiming that Israeli soldiers were killing Palestinians in order to harvest their organs.”[17]

In November 2009, two Jerusalem residents, Sammy Shem-Tov and Dmitry Orenstein, were arrested for allegedly mediating between buyers and sellers of kidneys.[18]

Experts available for interviews

In Israel

Robby Berman
Founder & Director, Halachic Organ Donor Society
Tel.: 972-052-527-5284 (Israel cell); 646-645-4637 (U.S. cell); 212-213-5087 (office)
E-mail: robbyberman@hods.org

Gadi Ben Dror
Chairman, ADI – Israel’s National Transplant and Organ Donation Center
Tel.: 972-50-252-2755
E-mail: gadi@agudatadi.org.il

Tamar Ashkenazi
Director, ADI – Israel’s National Transplant and Organ Donation Center
Tel.: 972-3-695-7369
E-mail: a_tamar@netvision.net.il

Prof. Yonatan Halevy
Director General, Sharei Zedek Medical Center
Tel.: 972-2-655-5493
E-mail: halevy@szmc.org.il

United States

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi
Founder & President, The Israel Project
Tel: 202-857-6657
E-mail: jenniferm@theisraelproject.org

Malcolm Hoenlein
Executive Vice Chairman, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
Tel: 212-318-6111




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Footnotes:

[1] Israel Ministry of Health communiqué, Dec. 21, 2009

[2] Israel Ministry of Health communiqué, Dec. 21, 2009

[3] Israel Ministry of Health communiqué, Dec. 21, 2009

[4] Lavie, Mark, “Israel harvested organs in '90s without permission,” AP, Dec. 21, 2009, http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5h6I8H32kJbxHmG__n...

[5] Lavie, Mark, “Israel harvested organs in '90s without permission,” AP, Dec. 21, 2009, http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5h6I8H32kJbxHmG__n...

[6] Meranda, Amnon, “Knesset approves organ donation law,” YnetNews, March 25, 2008, http://www.ynet.co.il/english/articles/0,7340,L-3523461,00.html

[7] “Organ Donation Law,” Knesset Web site, www.knesset.gov.il/privatelaw/data/17/3/68_3_1.rtf, accessed Dec. 21, 2009.

[8] Ilan, Shahar, “With top rabbis' blessing, Knesset approves organ donation law,” Haaretz, March 25, 2008 http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/967871.html

[9] Meranda, Amnon, “Knesset approves organ donation law,” Ynetnews, March 23, 2008, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3523461,00.html

[10] “Law of Brain Death,” Knesset Web site, www.knesset.gov.il/privatelaw/data/17/3/198_3_4.rtf, accessed Dec. 21, 2009.

[11] “Issues,” HODS Web site, http://hods.org/English/h-issues/issues.asp#israel, accessed Dec. 21, 2009.

[12] “The Health Care System in Israel – An Historical Perspective,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, June 26, 2002, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/History/Modern%20History/Israel%20at%2050..., accessed Dec. 21, 2009

[13] “Frequently Asked Questions about the Halachic Organ Donor (HOD) Society,” Halachic Organ Donor Society, http://www.hods.org/English/about/faqhods.asp, accessed Dec. 21, 2009

[14] Goldman, Ari L., “Religion Notes: Ruling on Transplants,” The New York Times, June 15, 1991

[15] Eyadat, Fadi, “Two Haifa men sentenced to jail for organ trafficking,” Haaretz, Dec. 18, 2007, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/935092.html

[16] Gouresky, Olga, “Israeli surgeon jailed for organ trafficking to be extradited from Ukraine,” YnetNews, Aug. 31, 2009, http://www.ynet.co.il/english/articles/0,7340,L-3769748,00.html

[17] Interview with Robert Berman, Founder and Director, Halachic Organ Donor Society, Dec. 21, 2009

[18] “Jerusalemites arrested for organ trafficking,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Nov. 5, 2009, http://jta.org/news/article/2009/11/05/1008967/jerusalemites-arrest...




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The Israel Project is an international non-profit organization devoted to educating the press and the public about Israel while promoting security, freedom and peace. The Israel Project provides journalists, leaders and opinion-makers accurate information about Israel. The Israel Project is not related to any government or government agency.
Hi Matt,

One of the differences between apartheid and the Israeli policy that resembles it in many ways is the fact that South Africa never bombed civilians living in the regions living under apartheid, while Israel has repeated carried out bombings and land attacks on civilians living in Gaza.. This is one of the crimes which make Israel's brutal occupation unprecedented and unique in its savagery.
What you talking about? The US, UK, and NATO bombed a hell of a lot more civilians than Israel in whatever time frame you want (let say this ending decade). Not to mention Sudan, Hezbanon, Hamastan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Russia. Of course you won't see a UN investigation publicized in the media about their conflicts, assuming there is an investigation. Of all the countries I mentioned, which country has done more to make sure civilians won't be in harms way using cell phone and landline calls, thousands of leaflets dropped from the sky, warning them when and where they are going to strike. A: just Israel.
Where did Israel tell them to go?

About the USS Liberty: Israel acknowledged, apologized, and compensated the US for the incident. This is totally unrelated to what I was talking about.

Do you know what the term "friendly fire" mean? If Israel wanted to hide it this, why did it go try to help the victims and sailors on the USS Liberty as soon as it realized it mistakes. Why did it admit to it?
Tell me, how would you know if they Israel attacked the USS Liberty knowing full well that it was an American ship? You don't know.

What is there to investigate? Israel acknowledged, apologized, and compensated the US as much as it could at the time.

You say that there is a "near-universal concensus" for your argument. It seems like the opposite is the case.

About the Gaza phone calls and leaflets: there were several incidents were civilians were in harms way because Hamas was fighting among civilian neighborhoods. Actually, Hamas always fights from civilian neighborhoods. It is still more than any Western democracy has ever done.
Michael,

Please don't confuse people with facts. Just feel the sanctimonious rage of those who are not directly affected. :-)
I just got back from a trip out of state so sorry for the delay.

You keep going back to what the survivors are saying, but the question is what the Israelis knew.
The wall/barrier/fence/has made Israel more secure.

Why do you and others think that Jimmy Carter has recently apologised for using the word apartheid as he did? For some related news stories do this search: http://news.google.com.au/news?client=qsb-win&rlz=1R3ACAW_enAU3...
Apartheid has a definition... Carter described Israeli apartheid already, can't take that back. I agree with the suspicious Zionists on this point. What would change the facts in an apology? It amazes me, people end up down on their knees begging for forgiveness after they have suffered a "truth slip" (like Mel Gibson) about Zionists or Israel because what happens is they find themselves walled in like the Palestinians in Gaza! They can't get out and necessities can't get in. Life stops and lives are ruined! Carter had to think about his son's future realizing the consequences of offending the Masters! He didn't realize the power they have, apparently. Mel had a masterpiece film coming out. Oops! People with something to lose either have to grovel because of the "truth slip" and publicly kiss the Zionist boot or better yet just not do it.
Lilia

Why are we even discussing the Wall/Fence/Barrier. Has it not saved countless lives on both sides?

What about the wall that Egypt is quietly building? Why are they afraid off the Palestinians? Security is certainly not a concern for them or is it?

Peace is a series of gestures and counter gestures and not living in fear of the next terror atrocity, my friend and fences certainly make good neighbours as it stands

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