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January 31, 2007

But is the Premise Valid?

With the large number of Jimmy Carter's blatently false assertions exposed, a few anti-Israel activists are now arguing that it doesn't really matter if Carter systematically misstated and distorted facts. Let's not worry if Carter's book is riddled with errors, they say. Nobody can argue against Carter's premise—that Israel practices apartheid.

In fact, many informed commentators have debunked Carter's apartheid analogy. One extremely compelling rebuttal was made even before the publication of Carter's Palestine: Peace not Apartheid by a man more familiar than most with the horrors of apartheid. Benjamin Pogrund's reporting for South Africa's Rand Daily Mail, a newspaper described as "the journalistic conscience of apartheid South Africa," was instrumental in raising awareness of the conditions faced by black South Africans.

It is worth recalling, then, what Pogrund wrote in late 2005 about the apartheid analogy:

Apartheid is dead in South Africa but the word is alive in the world, especially as an epithet of abuse for Israel. Israel is accused by some of being 'the new apartheid' state. If true, it would be a grave charge, justifying international condemnation and sanctions. But it isn't true. Anyone who knows what apartheid was, and who knows Israel today, is aware of that. Use of the apartheid label is at best ignorant and naïve and at worst cynical and manipulative. ...

"Apartheid" is used in this case and elsewhere because it comes easily to hand: it is a lazy label for the complexities of the Middle East conflict. It is also used because, if it can be made to stick, then Israel can be made to appear to be as vile as was apartheid South Africa and seeking its destruction can be presented to the world as an equally moral cause. (from the December 2005 issue of Focus, published by The Helen Suzman Foundation)

For more of Pogrund's commentary, see here.

Posted by GI at January 31, 2007 10:55 AM

Comments

People who lived in South Africa during the apartheid era, including such highly respected and credible individuals as former South African President and anti-Apartheid activist Nelson Mandela, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have stated that the situation in the West Bank resembles South African apartheid. Others have said it's much worse in the West Bank. Jimmy Carter himself has repeatedly stated that he was referring not to Israel but occupied PALESTINE, in applying the word apartheid. However, I have researched the situation in Palestine and Israel and apartheid in South Africa, and have concluded that there is definitely apartheid in Palestine and possibly also in Israel to a lesser extent. The conditions to which Palestinians are subjected in Palestine is much, much worse than I had known. Most people, especially Americans have no idea what's going on there.

Posted by: Jill Friedman at February 2, 2007 01:10 AM

You are, no doubt, the same Jill Friedman who wrote in another blog a few days ago, "I have been researching the subject fulltime for the past few weeks." (yes, Jill, I use google.)

So you've reached the truth of the Middle East conflict in a few weeks "research," have you? Let me guess: You read Jimmy Carter's book. You studied the International Solidarity Movement website. Watched some al-Jazeera. Maybe you were shocked to read about the "poison balloons" Israel supposedly sent (by airplane!) into Lebanon.
(http://bloggingbeirut.com/archives/978-Photo-of-Israels-Poison-Balloons.html)
You probably took those Lebanese claims at face value, even while ignoring other Lebanese who have come to accept that there were no "poison balloons"
(http://bloggingbeirut.com/archives/978-Photo-of-Israels-Poison-Balloons.html)

Just like you accept accusations of Israeli "apartheid" while discounting descriptions like the one above by an old anti-apartheid activist. And your "research" also found apartheid inside Israel?! Wow. I think you're gonna have to put in a few more weeks of research.

(BTW, are you also the same Jill Friedman who left a comment on Haaretz about peoples "rights, including the right of all people to live as citizens in the land where they were born- not where they think their ancestors might have lived thousands of years ago"?? So basically, you think the Jewish people, alone among all peoples, don't have a right to self-determination? Because we "think" our ancestors "might have" lived there "thousands of years ago"? Yes, it's definitely time for some more research, Jill.

Posted by: jones at February 2, 2007 10:42 AM

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