05 March 2008

05 March 2008 - No, Israel is not an apartheid state

Z Word has an article by Rhoda Kadalie and Julia Bertelsmann attacking the Israel-apartheid analogy and explaining why a small group of South Africans has been pushing it.

Here's the "take-home message":

"What the white nationalist right and the black post-colonial left share is distaste for opposition and difference combined with envy of Israel's success. Afrikaners viewed Israel, falsely, as a state of "whites" that had thrived in a sea of "non-white" nations, but which unlike South Africa had largely escaped global condemnation. Today's far-right remnant envies Israel's persistence when Afrikaners have had to give up their own national aspirations.

"The ANC looked to Israel as an example of an oppressed people that had overcome racial persecution, enormous political obstacles and military weakness to build a successful, thriving nation. Israel's continued economic achievements, scientific innovation and vibrant culture in the face of terror stand in stark contrast to the ANC's mismanagement of the state and economy, which it still blames on the past.

"Neither the far right nor the ANC's left can tolerate or even comprehend the economic success of South African Jews, which was largely achieved in spite of - not because of - both governments. Nor can they come to terms with a strong, successful, and democratic Israel. It goes against the dualism between strong oppressors and the weak oppressed according to which every political issue is framed in South Africa and every government failure is justified.

"South Africa tells Israel that it only has a right to exist--if at all--as a victim of Nazi oppression, just as the ANC bases its claim to legitimacy, power and privilege on apartheid. But Israel has moved beyond its past, while South Africa has failed to use the memory of apartheid to motivate positive national unity and achievement. No false analogies and no re-writing of history can mask that."


At 5:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here in South Africa I just wrote a critique of a Zapiro cartoon for the Cape Times which may or may not be published. But I take a line which is very difficult for the South Africans to refute namely one connecting Israel to its prior Nazi victimization and similarities of certain Arabs and Muslims in perpetuating specifically nazi or traditional kinds of anti-Jewish discrimination. Joel in this piece makes very clear why this is so. In the USA this would never work as it is Israel's success which is appealing, not its ongoing struggle against present oppressors who are similar to past oppressors.


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