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March 01, 2011

Affirmative Action for Jaffa's Arabs, In time for Apartheid Week

When you're planning an international event, all kinds of inconvenient and unpredictable factors can pop up in the last moment and present obstacles to your success. Indeed, the Jaffa municipality just announced an affirmative action housing plan for the city's Arab population. Tough break for the Israeli Apartheid Week folks who are gearing up for their annual campaign.

Posted by TS at March 1, 2011 08:22 AM


a·part·heid. n. 1. An official policy of racial segregation. Odd that you should point to separate housing for Arabs as something that supposedly refutes the apartheid characterization.

Posted by: reader at March 1, 2011 02:54 PM


Your comment is quite clever. But of course it's not at all serious.

It's first worth noting that Arab councilman Ahmad Mashrawi, of the far left Meretz party, praised the plan. So did Gabby Kadis, chairman of an Orthodox Christian charity group in Jaffa. And so did the Association for Civil Rights Israel. So essentially you're suggesting that these are supporters of apartheid measures. Not very serious.

As to definition of apartheid, the 1976 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid defines it as "inhumane acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them."

And the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court defines it as "inhumane acts [e.g. genocide; crimes against humanity; war crimes] ... committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime."

So you suggest that affirmative action meant to prevent Arabs from being pushed out of Jaffa by gentrification is an "inhumane acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them"? A war crime? Presumably you also believe that the availability of low income housing in higher income U.S. cities is meant to "segregate" the poor, rather than give them a foothold in those cities. Not very serious.

The far-right Jews who marched through Jaffa in protest after the the affirmative action housing was announced, according to your logic, were anti-apartheid protesters. Which would make Hussein Haj, a 49-year-old Arab resident of Jaffa who shouted at the marchers and said, "In all my life we’ve lived here together, Arabs and Jews, without problems. We’ve never had problems," an apparent supporter of apartheid. And Mashrawi's response to the March -- "There have always been Jews and Arabs together in Jaffa, in coexistence and with mutual respect" -- yet another vile expression of apartheid?

Posted by: GI at March 2, 2011 08:07 PM

GI: Well put!

And thanks for the definitions of apartheid. I can't tell you how many conversations I've had with "Israel is an apartheid state" activists who can't even define what they mean by it. I tell them, read James A. Michener's "The Covenant" but too often, picking up a book is too much to ask.

Posted by: John in Michigan, USA at March 3, 2011 07:17 PM

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