Apartheid Israel

If it is true that the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has in fact expressed fears, in a closed-door meeting of the Trilateral Commission last week (and of which The Daily Beast obtained a recording), that Israel  could become “an apartheid state” if there is no two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict soon (Kerry denied instantly, later apologized), one can only assume that the two-state solution is finally dead. Apart from having been an apartheid state for years, never an American administration would have ever used the term to describe Israel. It is former President Jimmy Carter who had dared to describe, in his 2007 book, the situation in the West Bank as nothing else than apartheid, but he was badly criticized not only by Zionists.

In his eye-opener about The Invention of the Jewish People of 2010, Professor Shlomo Sand at Tel Aviv University had explained that two states are no solution anyway (see a more detailed review here). He cites Sammy Smooha, Professor at Haifa University, who had suggested, in 1990, a model like in Switzerland, the Netherlands until 1967, or Lebanon,

“The best solution for the Arabs of Israel would, of course, be a ‘consociational,’ namely, a binational, state; but the opposition of the Jews to such an option, which would eliminate the Jewish state, would be total, so that its implementation would be a terrible injustice to most of the population.”

Sand makes very clear, the Jewish state and a (liberal) democracy might be an oxymoron.

“The peculiar character of Israel’s supra-identity, whose primeval code was inherent in Zionism from the start, is what makes it doubtful that a ‘Jewish’ state can also be democratic.

“The Jewish nationalism that dominates Israeli society is not an open, inclusive identity that invites others to become part of it, or coexist with it on a basis of equality and in symbiosis. On the contrary, it explicitly and culturally segregates the majority from the minority, and repeatedly asserts that the state belongs only to the majority; moreover, as noted earlier, it promises eternal proprietary rights to an even greater human mass that does not chose to live in it. In this way, it excludes the minority from active and harmonious participation in the sovereignty and practices of democracy, and prevents that minority from identifying with it politically.

“Democracy need not be culturally neutral, but if there is a state supra-identity that directs the national culture, it must be open to all or at least seek to be so, even if the minority insists on staying out of the hegemonic national bear-hug. In all the existing kinds of democracy, it is the cultural minority that seeks to preserve its distinction and identity vis-à-vis the mighty majority. Its smaller size also entitles it to certain privileges.

“In Israel the situation is reversed: the privileges are reversed for the Jewish majority and its ‘kinfolk who are still wandering in exile.’”

Elimination of the Jewish state would require that those who have immigrated for more than one hundred years and, in particular, after WWII (and their descendant) are prepared to ultimately realize that Zionism was one of the biggest misconceptions in more than one hundred years. That a Jewish state never was and never will be viable. The end of the “peace talks”, a shameless travesty anyway, may blaze a trail in the direction of Sand’s vision.

The ideal project for solving the century-long conflict and sustaining the closely woven existence of Jews and Arabs would be the creation of a democratic binational state between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. To ask the Jewish Israeli people, after such a long and bloody conflict, and in view of the tragedy experienced by many of its immigrant founders in the twentieth century, to become overnight a minority in its own state may not be the smartest thing to do. But if it is senseless to expect the Jewish Israelis to dismantle their own state, the least that can be demanded of them is to stop reserving it for themselves as a polity that segregates, excludes, and discriminates against a large number of its citizens, whom it views as undesirable aliens.”  (Emphasis added.)

Apartheid has ultimately to end. Unfortunately, there is no Arab or Israeli Mandela in sight who could do the giant job of uniting the country.

29 April 2014 @ 6:18 pm.
Last modified April 29, 2014.
This entry was posted in Israel, Palestine and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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