In the words of Wesleyan United with Israel, “You are going to hear a lot in the coming weeks. You are going to hear that Israel is an apartheid state.” This accusation is part of the message of Apartheid Week, a university-based movement that ‘seeks to raise awareness about Israel’s apartheid policies towards the Palestinians.’”

We, members of Wesleyan Students for Justice in Palestine, acknowledge that we must take care selecting the terms we use to discuss Israel’s faults. The word ‘apartheid’ does carry a lot of weight. In the case of Israel, it represents many of the realities for Palestinians living under illegal Israeli occupation, and although the situation in Israel/Palestine is not identical to that of South African Apartheid, this vocabulary provides us with a means of understanding the occupation and the wars on Gaza.

In the state of Israel, there are three faces to this system of apartheid: that experienced by Palestinian citizens of Israel, those under military occupation in the West Bank, and those living under siege in Gaza.

Twenty percent of the Israeli population is comprised of Palestinians who were absorbed into the state following its 1948 founding. Today, these Palestinians—labeled Israeli Arabs—are given a form of citizenship that while on paper seems identical to that of Israeli Jews, does not grant them equal rights. ( It has been well documented that Palestinian citizens of Israel are systematically discriminated against in regards to healthcare, higher education, housing, and employment. Access to these benefits is organized along racial lines. Many state benefits are only secured to those who serve in the IDF. Palestinians are denied these rights because they are not Jewish, and will not serve in the army of their occupiers.

Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza experience different forms of apartheid. The West Bank has been divided by a network of Jewish-only highways to service Jewish-only settlements, creating a series of non-contiguous Palestinian enclaves. The separation occurring in the West Bank is akin to the Bantustan system established by the apartheid state in South Africa. Bantustans were the ethnically homogenous “homelands” carved out for the African populations by the white minority government. These Bantustans were granted limited ‘autonomy’ much the way the West Bank under the Palestinian National Authority is allowed to govern its population. The South African government had vested interest in preserving this relationship, as they were dependent on non-white menial labor. This is where the South Africa/Israel parallel diverges. Due to an influx of African and Asian laborers to Israel, the Palestinians have been denied even the meager benefits of employment that black South Africans had under apartheid—so that in the ‘Bantustan’ of Gaza, nearly 50% of the population face unemployment. As has been made clear by incessant Israeli land annexation, the loss of economic opportunities, seizure and destruction of Palestinian farmland, and a military occupation intent on creating an uninhabitable living situation for Palestinians, the Israeli government has no interest in preserving Palestinian autonomy.

In the West Bank, two legal systems—one for Jews and one for non-Jews—prevail. Palestinian residents of the West Bank, although civilians, are tried under Israeli military law, while Jewish settlers living in the territory are subject to civilian law. These systems can in no way establish equal rights for Jews and non-Jews.

Not only does structural apartheid exist on a macro level, Palestinians deal with the reality of ‘petty’ apartheid in daily life. Israeli checkpoints and roadblocks between different Palestinian cities in the West Bank ensure restrictions of movement and access to education. Thousands of house raids, arrests, and degrading searches at gunpoint mean that Palestinians can at any moment be subject to Israeli state terror. With this in mind, one can see how apartheid is a useful and accurate term to describe the myriad mechanisms of oppression and separation employed by the Israeli state.

These realities are perhaps what have led ANC Chairperson, Baleka Mbete, to say that the Israeli regime is not only comparable to but is “far worse than Apartheid South Africa.” One extremely puzzling passage in Wes United with Israel’s article reads, “Referring to Israel as an apartheid state delegitimizes the struggle of blacks against the Apartheid South African government and undermines the plight of other groups that have faced genuine apartheid policies.” For one, Israel was a close ally of the apartheid regime in South Africa (as was the U.S for that matter), whereas black South Africans, starting with Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, have been among the strongest supporters of the Palestinian struggle for freedom. How bizarre that supporters of the Israeli occupation would now presume to speak on behalf of black South Africans and to deny their solidarity with the Palestinian cause. Wesleyan United with Israel also argues that using extreme terminology such as the word ‘apartheid’ to describe Israel, diverts attention from what they term “real, present day problems in the Middle East…and true human rights abuses.” They then refer to the Syrian government and ISIS. We certainly do not support the policies or actions of these groups. However, oppressive regimes, such as the state of Israel, have always pointed to some far worse atrocity to distract attention from their own barbarism. That does not excuse it.

The state of Israel was founded on the deliberate ethnic cleansing of Palestinian towns and villages either through massacre or expulsion. This was part of a three-pronged attempt to clear the Arab population from the land, from the history, and to stop them from ever returning. Today, Palestinian refugees are denied the right of return to their homes and those that were allowed to remain in the territory are systematically denied any expression of self-determination. Evoking symbols of Palestinian resistance is seen as undermining Israeli authority and has been criminalized by the state. Israel has also carried on a long project of erasure and appropriation of Palestinian culture—hence many students’ apprehension regarding Wes United with Israel’s cultural celebration: “Free Israeli Late Night event.”

Despite numerous attempts at “peace” deals over the years, Israel continues to build illegal Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank, denies the right of return for Palestinian refugees, and continues its inhumane blockade on the Gaza strip. Since 2007 an Israeli imposed blockade, has prevented everyday necessities from entering and Palestinians from leaving. From time to time, guised as counter-terrorism, the Israeli government launches wars against the population of Gaza. Despite the vastly superior targeting capabilities of Israeli weapons and the insistence that civilians were not targets, this summer left 872 Palestinian homes totally destroyed, and a civilian infrastructure crippled. Israel has also, in recent years, erected a 30-foot high concrete wall that snakes through the West Bank, annexing more Palestinian land, cutting farmers off from their farmland, and effectively separating the populations based on race.

We believe that dialogue on this campus about Palestine/Israel should not be “normalizing”—meaning we should not accept Israeli state actions as ‘normal’ or appropriate. As students, we should stand up against injustice and oppression in the U.S., in Palestine, and anywhere else. As U.S. taxpayers, we must also understand that we have an obligation to speak out, because our dollars are funding this occupation. The U.S. sends 3 billion dollars of aid to Israel every year. Whether demonstrating the inherently political nature of Israeli cultural events that serve Palestinian or Arab dishes, or erecting a mock separation wall in Olin, Wesleyan students are dedicated to voicing the silenced Palestinian narrative. This is healthy campus debate. Something is wrong when supposedly progressive students defend a military occupation and the actions of a settler colonial state.

  • Cyril Atkins

    The Judge appointed to oversee the Israeli election is surprise surprise an Arab. There are Arabs in every strata of Israel society from judges in the supreme Court to street cleaners and every thing in between including proffesors doctors and lawyers etc. It is ridiculous to call Israel an apartheid state. visit any super market or hospital in Israel. Gaza, Egypt has closed its biorder with Gaza and yet you only blame Israel which provides electricity (for which it is not paid) and water and other essentials to gaza but Egypt does not. The West Bank is not illegally occupied even if so many students (who are mostly ignorant about everything ) journalists and poloticians say. The Hebrew University is not built on Palestinain land because firstly there is no such place and secondly the HU was built in 1925 under the British Mandate.

  • I see that the authors have chosen the easy way out: redefine ‘apartheid’ and, lo!, one can “prove” anything you wish. Anyone who has lived in an apartheid regime or America’s South (and other locations) knows that the charge is false and is actually an accusation based on a racist approach towards Jews and Israel.

    For example, what actually took place in the years of the Palestine Mandate period was the ethnic cleansing of Jews from their homes in Nablus/Shchem, Hebron, Gaza, Jerusalem’s Old City — where for centuries Jews resided even before Arabs came in the 7th century to conquer and then occupy, as well as from newer communities is areas Jews had lived before the Roman and Byzantine regimes of over 2000 years ago like the Etzion Bloc, Atarot and Neveh Yaakov and Bet HaAravah, etc., all overrun by murderous Arab terrorists (who soight an alliance with Nazi Germany) in waves of killing sprees and riots in 1920, 1921, 1929, 1936-1939 (and in-between) and culiminating in the aggressive war launched in violation of the UN’s partition recommendation by local Arabs joined by ‘volunteers’ from neighboring Arab countries.

    If any people are ‘colonial’, it is the local Arabs in the historic Land of Israel who invaded and immigrated to over the years from the Arabian Peniansula, North Africa/Mahgreb countries and the El-Shams area of Greater Syria. One example is the Hashemite family, rulers of Jordan, who arrived in Transjordan only in November 1920. So ancient.

    • Anonymous

      These activists are “stuck” on Israel. Neither logic, reasoning, or factual evidence will penetrate their
      mindsets, so determined are they to vilify Israel. Sarcasm though just might work—especially if there are
      any among them who still have the capability to feel shame.

      Usually when they are questioned as to why they avoid the much bigger problems evidenced by Israel’s neighbors, the answer is usually to say that they are concerned with all human rights abuses everywhere in the world, but their focus today just happens to be Israel. What they don’t say is that their focus is
      permanently stuck there—and their actions show that they have no interest in any other country, just Israel, Israel, Israel.

    • Anonymous

      Israeli Apartheid is in significant respects worse than the South African version.

      Analysis by International Legal Team

      In 2009, a comprehensive 18-month independent academic study was
      completed for the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa for
      the South African Department of Foreign Affairs on the legal status of
      Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip.[62]
      The specific questions examined in the study were whether Israeli
      policies are consistent with colonialism and apartheid, as these
      practices and regimes are spelled out in relevant international legal
      instruments. The second question, regarding apartheid, was the major
      focus of the study. Authors and analysts contributing to the study
      included jurists, academics and international lawyers from Israel, the
      occupied Palestinian territories, South Africa, England, Ireland and the
      United States. The team considered whether human rights law can be
      applied to cases of belligerent occupation, the legal context in Israel
      and the occupied Palestinian territories and related international law
      and comparative practices. The question of apartheid was examined
      through a dual approach: reference to international law and comparison
      to policies and practices by the apartheid regime in South Africa.
      Initially released as a report, the report was later edited and
      published in 2012 (by Pluto Press) as Beyond Occupation: Apartheid, Colonialism and International Law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

      Regarding international law, the team reported that Israel’s
      practices in the OPT correlate almost entirely with the definition of
      apartheid as established in Article 2 of the International Convention on
      the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid. (The
      exception was the Convention’s reference to genocidal policies, which
      were not found to be part of Israeli practices, although the team noted
      that genocide was not the policy in apartheid South Africa either.)
      Comparison to South African laws and practices by the apartheid regime
      also found strong correlations with Israeli practices, including
      violations of international standards for due process (such as illegal
      detention); discriminatory privileges based on ascribed ethnicity
      (legally, as Jewish or non-Jewish); draconian enforced ethnic
      segregation in all parts of life, including by confining groups to
      ethnic “reserves and ghettoes”; comprehensive restrictions on individual
      freedoms, such as movement and expression; a dual legal system based on
      ethno-national identity (Jewish or Palestinian); denationalization
      (denial of citizenship); and a special system of laws designed
      selectively to punish any Palestinian resistance to the system.

      Thematically, the team concluded that Israel’s practices could be
      grouped into three “pillars” of apartheid comparable to practices in
      South Africa:

      The first pillar “derives from Israeli laws and policies that
      establish Jewish identity for purposes of law and afford a preferential
      legal status and material benefits to Jews over non-Jews”.

      The second pillar is reflected in “Israel’s ‘grand’ policy to
      fragment the OPT [and] ensure that Palestinians remain confined to the
      reserves designated for them while Israeli Jews are prohibited from
      entering those reserves but enjoy freedom of movement throughout the
      rest of the Palestinian territory. This policy is evidenced by Israel’s
      extensive appropriation of Palestinian land, which continues to shrink
      the territorial space available to Palestinians; the hermetic closure
      and isolation of the Gaza Strip from the rest of the OPT; the deliberate
      severing of East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank; and the
      appropriation and construction policies serving to carve up the West
      Bank into an intricate and well-serviced network of connected
      settlements for Jewish-Israelis and an archipelago of besieged and
      non-contiguous enclaves for Palestinians”.

      The third pillar is “Israel’s invocation of ‘security’ to validate
      sweeping restrictions on Palestinian freedom of opinion, expression,
      assembly, association and movement [to] mask a true underlying intent to
      suppress dissent to its system of domination and thereby maintain
      control over Palestinians as a group.””

  • Anonymous

    You left out the part where Israel removed all settlements from Gaza in exchange for peace, but let’s not worry ourselves with minor details, for we all know this is not about seeking truth and justice so much as it is about besmirching Israel.

    But the noble Hamas-led Palestinians – as is typical of their good neighbor policy- tore up that treaty with Israel, and no sooner had the Israeli settlers left than the Palestinians started lobbing rocket, after rocket, after rocket into
    Israel. But this is a mere detail, and as noble college students and editorialists we should not be bothered with such

    Instead welcome to our fantasy-world where we pretend that it is the poor-poor Hamas who are the victims: the good guys in our fictional depiction of this conflict. For we all know Hamas is an ethical and loving organization for whom respect for core values such as women’s rights, gay rights, Jew’s rights, freedom of conscience, the sanctity of life – are all paramount.

    In short, Orwell could not make this crap up it is that far detached from reality.

  • Anonymous

    Orwellian Apartheid.

    There is not one single non-Muslim citizen in Saudi Arabia. Not one. Even those schooled in the liberal arts can probably count that high.

    Afghanistan once home to a thriving Buddhist civilization is now 100% Muslim. Not one Buddhist left living in Afghanistan, and now Muslims are blowing up the Buddhist statues and all other indications Buddhists once lived there.

    Pakistan once home to a thriving and ancient Hindu civilization is soon-to-be devoid of all Hindus. Meanwhile the Muslim population in India is soaring. It is said up to 70 million Hindus have been killed in Islam’s onslaught of southern Asia. Soon not ONEONEONE Hindu will be left in Pakistan.

    Yemen once home to a large Jewish population now has a dozen, or so, Jews left living there. The same is true in Iraq and Morocco.

    Sudan once home to a large Christian and Animist people has seen most of these people killed or fled or forcibly converted to Islam. Pretty soon not ONE Animist will be left alive in Sudan.

    Iran once home to a large, historic Zoroastrian community is helping to ensure these ancient people are ethnically cleans. The same thing is happening to the Assyrians of Syria, the Chaldeans of Iraq, the Copts of Egypt….

    Meanwhile the Muslim demographic in Israel is soaring and Muslims are judges, lawyers, doctors, successful businessmen, professors, politicians, you name it.

    Islamic propaganda, supported by unhinged professors, knee-jerk liberals, politicians who have sold their soul for the petrol dollar and student who don’t have a brain between them all tell us it IS Israel that practices apartheid.

    Orwellian apartheid, that is.

  • Why is it not apartheid when jews are not allowed to pray on temple mount, but it is apartheid when non-citizens of Israel demand full rights of citizenship with the responsibility of citizenship? And don’t forget the non-jewish citizens of Israel with full rights. The world has a nasty, anti-semitic and jew-hating double-standard for Israel. If all the young lefties in the world would focus their attention on the atrocities happening in the ME outside of Israel, the world might actually become a better place.

    • Andrew

      Of course they killed also women and children. I know for Jews it does not matter

      • You know nothing about Jews nor Judaism.

      • disgusted

        You and this statement truly disgust me.

    • Anonymous

      For something like 3,000 years people have been telling Jews where they can live. (Or, more accurately, where they cannot live.)

      The noble Brits wouldn’t let one Jew step foot in England – and this for over 200 years. The Germans didn’t tell the Jews much of anything other than take action to end their sojourn in Germany, Austria, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and elsewhere. Of course so many others helped in this effort with special mention going to the always holier-than-thou French.
      The Romans wouldn’t let Jews live in their homeland and Russians would only let them live in ghettos, as did the Spaniards, Italians and countless others.

      And so it goes.

      Today Jews are not allowed to live in Muslim nations and those few caliphate countries where Jews are allowed to live we find Jews living in fear of their Muslim masters.

      Now the world is telling the Jews once again where they can and cannot live. They cannot live in the West Bank some tell us. Gaza? No way. Israel? It depends on who you ask.

      Nobody tells Muslims they cannot commit genocide and “occupy” Sudan or Somalia, or Nigeria because, I guess they are Muslims and not Jews, and not subject to the same rules.
      But let’s not dwell on the hypocrisy, the double-standards and the obscenity of it all, for they, the Jews
      that is, are just Jews: Victims of hatred from the weak and maladjusted for thousands of years and this includes the Wesleyan leftists of today.

  • alum

    “The state of Israel was founded on the deliberate ethnic cleansing of Palestinian towns and villages either through massacre or expulsion. This was part of a three-pronged attempt to clear the Arab population from the land, from the history, and to stop them from ever returning.”

    You lose all respect and credibility when you don’t know your history. Ever heard of the UN Partition Plan? It created a state of Israel AND (and this is key, this word “and”) a state of Palestine. A whole state for Palestine! Yes, it was created! By the United Nations! But the Arab League/Palestinians rejected it, because they wanted 100% of the land. And Jerusalem was going to be an international zone, too.

    This is why the movement for a state of Palestine never gets anywhere. You shoot yourselves in the foot with statements like these. Is Israel committing atrocities today? Yes! Were the Palestinians given a chance to have their own state and rejected it? Yes! They are not mutually exclusive!

    • Zahava Gal-On

      A voice of reason that does Wesleyan proud. Thank you.

    • fellow student

      Thank you! One would think that individuals making such claims would care about historical accuracy, but evidently not. I recognize that Israel has done some really horrible things in the past, but then again, so have the Palestinians-and obviously all the authors care about is demonizing Israel and stretching facts to prove their “point.”

    • don’t know my history

      Of course we’ve heard of the UN partition plan, which gave the Zionists most of the arable and coastal lands…really a fair deal for the people who had already been living there right?? They were given a chance to have their own state, but to them it was a shit deal and appeared as a continuation of European colonial projects.

      Also quite frustrating that you project the aspiration of statehood on us, some of us don’t see states as solutions, on the contrary part of the problem.

      • Anonymous

        Don’t know my history: An apt name.

        Riddle me this…


        Why is it Muslims are free to violently conquer lands anywhere and everywhere without a word of protest from American Muslims, or any Muslims for that matter, or any Wesleyan liberals?

        But if Jews have a legally established homeland, Muslims and Liberals and their ilk will never stop protesting against it? Why is this do you suppose? What explanation can be given other than as the Qur’an states repeatedly that Islam’s goal is to establish a worldwide caliphate in which all non-Muslims are subjugated.

        For instance, Mohammed was born around 571 AD long after after Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Judaism existed. But within a few centuries of Mohammed’s birth Islam had violently conquered vast sections of Asia, all of North Africa and smaller sections of Southern Europe.

        Now Muslims tell us that all this land belongs to them even though, for instance, in Afghanistan they killed every last Buddhist who once lived there. According to Muslim logic per Israel shouldn’t this land belong to the Buddhists?

        Or in North Africa all the Berbers have been forcibly converted to Islam or have been killed and now we’re told all this vast landmass belongs to Islam. That’s interesting, if not completely hypocritical.

        And what about Southern Thailand. Did anyone know that in the last several years something like 5,000 Buddhists have been killed by Muslims because, or so we’re told, the land the Buddhists are on belongs to Islam.

        And Southern Russia? Muslims are relentlessly waging a slow reign of terror in Russia because, you guessed it, Russians are treating Muslims poorly and they should give up the Southern section of that country to Muslims since Islam deserves all lands.

        Or, let’s take Sudan as another example. How many millions have been killed in Sudan? How many babies and children have starved in Sudan while Islamists steal the food from aid compounds? How many women have Muslims gang-raped in Sudan all because that land belongs to Muslims and only Muslims.

        All other people can go somewhere else to live, I guess. They can go to South Sudan, but wait a minute, now Muslims are killing the people of South Sudan too.

        And Kashmir? The same. Despite Hindus having lived there for 3,000 years – something like 2,000+ years before Mohammed was born – Muslims tell us Kashmir belongs to them. Amazing logic isn’t it? Muslim logic, I guess.

        And that brings us to Israel. Israel also belongs to Islam too. Did you know that? It’s true. Just ask a Muslim or a Wesleyan liberal if you prefer. Even though it’s no bigger than a small pimple on the caliphate’s ass it is still their land and they will fight to the death to prove their point.

        Doesn’t the logic here make a lot of sense. Isn’t it as clear as day? Of course it does. The world belongs to Islam and we’re mere players on their stage.

      • alum

        And those areas happened to be where most of the Zionists already lived.
        If you believe that the UN Partition plan is equivalent to “the deliberate ethnic cleansing of Palestinian towns and villages either through massacre or expulsion. This was part of a three-pronged attempt to clear the Arab population from the land, from the history, and to stop them from ever returning” then I don’t think we’re operating in the same universe of thinking. If not statehood, than what? Get rid of Israel and create a “unified” Palestinian solution?

        The only way to achieve long-term peace is to recognize two things:

        1) The Palestinians have suffered greatly at the hands of Israel and the settlement-building, etc. must stop immediately.
        2) That both Israelis and Palestinians have legitimate claim to the area and that both must be given recognizance. To suggest that only the Palestinians have fair claim is a non-starter.

        When Israeli supporters don’t recognize #1 and Palestinian supporters don’t recognize #2, barriers to peace will continue to exist.

      • still don’t know my history

        The UN partition plan was certainly not an act of ethnic cleansing, in fact it was never actually implemented…ethnic cleansing is referring to the actions carried out by Zionist militias in the 1948 war: the erasure of over 400 Palestinian villages physically and in name, the massacre of civilian populations, forced expulsion of 700,000 Palestinians, and the lack of right of return for Palestinians. Hence why it is defined as “a three-pronged attempt to clear the Arab population from the land, from the history, and to stop them from ever returning.”

      • alum

        You mean the 1948 war that was started by the ARAB LEAGUE and was designed to wipe Israel (and its Jews) off the map and, as you said, “stop them (but really Israel) from ever returning?” Seems a bit hypocritical to accuse Israel of ethnic cleansing in the 1948 war when it was they who were the targets of ethnic cleansing and were NOT the ones who started the war. That fact is incontrovertible. It was a war of survival started by the Arab League. And Israel had to do what it did to ensure it did survive (or it would have been ethnic cleansing of the Jews). Should it be continuing those atrocities today? Of course not. Israel is doing some horrible things. But to suggest it was Israel that started this all is a fairly egregious error.

        I’ll ask again – if not statehood, then what?

        And again: 1) The Palestinians have suffered greatly at the hands of Israel and the settlement-building, etc. must stop immediately. 2) That both Israelis and Palestinians have legitimate claim to the area and that both must be given recognizance. To suggest that only the Palestinians have fair claim is a non-starter.

      • maybe I know history now idk

        One can’t conflate the actions of Arab states with the lives of Palestinians who were most devastated by the conflict. But yes the Arab states did invade albeit with an extremely unorganized force, which never posed a serious threat to the heavily armed, funded, and organized zionist militias. No matter if it’s “hypocritical” to accuse Israel of ethnic cleansing or who started the war, it is incontrovertible that Zionist militias committed atrocities against innocent civilians in order to wipe them off the map, ethnic cleansing. The rationale that these militias had to do what they did to ensure Israel’s survival doesn’t carry much weight when you look at the number of massacres committed against civilians, the erasure of towns etc. The murderous past of the 1948 Zionist militias: Irgun, Haganah, and the Lehi group (Stern Gang, an openly fascist organization), will not be hidden from view. They are an embarrassment to Jewish history, and must be confronted.

        As to your question of if not statehood then what, I recommend you read about the current developments in Rojava being undertaken by the Kurds. They are on one hand fighting most of the fight against ISIS, and on the other creating a democratic alternative of social organization.

      • alum

        Please. Don’t lecture me on conflating. You are conflating the founding of Israel with the “Arab-Israeli War of 1948, which, as you agreed, was started by the Arab League. So the Arab League founded Israel by attacking it? Sounds good to me. You’re also actually conflating “the actions of Arab states with the lives of Palestinians who were most devastated by the conflict,” when you suggest that Israel was founded on ethnic cleansing – again, the Arab League attacked Israel, and that is when Israel began taking the offensive, not before. That point is crucial.

        As for that alternative democratic organization, sounds great. Now maybe if Palestinian supporters would criticize (and rightly so) the actions of Israel without exaggerating, or absolving Palestinians (which, unfortunately, include Hamas) of any role in the conflict, then maybe real progress can be made towards peace and a lasting solution. There are two sides to every coin, and that must be recognized. I agree with a large portion of this article, but paragraphs like the one I quoted just ruin the whole thing.

      • Lecturer of Conflation

        The issue with conflating Arab states with Palestinians in 1948 is that it spreads an inaccurate view that the invasion of Arab states was connected to the interests of Palestinian sovereignty. Prior to the war, Transjordan had designed to divide Palestinian land with Israel, for the Zionists feared creating a state with a majority Arab population. When the war broke out there was no longer any need for diplomatic settlement, the militias were given the opportunity to just slaughter and terrorize the Palestinian civilian population until they fled. The founding of Israel is inseparable to the 1948 war, one can play the “they started it” game but to what end? The desire to justify murder is futile, history is undeniable.

        The actions of Palestinians you think are ‘rightfully criticizable’ are in complete reaction to a settler-colonial project that incessantly terrorizes the population of Gaza. Situations of extreme desperation create people that act desperately. That is not at all a justification for the actions of Hamas, but it is an explanation for them. All acts of opposition to a colonial power have been perceived as acts of terror by those colonizing.

        Sure there are two sides to every coin. To follow your analogy, one side of this ‘coin’ receives the hegemonic military support of the United States, is armed with nuclear weapons, commits mass land theft through settlement building, and is carrying out a military occupation/ blockade in the other side of the ‘coin’. You acknowledged these actions already, so the image of a coin, or anything suggesting symmetry to illustrate this situation is laughable.

      • alum

        “The issue with conflating Arab states with Palestinians in 1948 is that it spreads an inaccurate view that the invasion of Arab states was connected to the interests of Palestinian sovereignty.”

        The article/you conflated the two, not me. The article incorrectly links the founding of Israel with attacks on Palestinians. What’s laughable is your statement: ” The founding of Israel is inseparable to the 1948 war, one can play the “they started it” game but to what end? The desire to justify murder is futile, history is undeniable.”

        Intent, and the “they started it” is PRECISELY what defines a situation, and this specific incident in history. Imagine person A goes into the home of person B and shoots person B in the head. Person A just committed murder. Imagine person A goes into that same home and raises his gun, but person B pulls out his own gun and kills person A before A can get the shot off. Person B did NOT commit murder; he justifiably acted in self-defense.

        The same goes with the Arab-Israeli War and its aftermath. Israel did not instigate, it acted in self-defense. It was not founded on ethnic cleansing – it committed atrocities in the process of defending an attack in a war that it had no interest in starting. This happened AFTER it was founded. Your earlier statement, “But yes the Arab states did invade albeit with an extremely unorganized force, which never posed a serious threat to the heavily armed, funded, and organized zionist militias.” is blatantly false. The two sides were about equal in manpower and most other countries believed the Arab League would win. It was anything but an unequal fight. As you put it, history is undeniable. Yes, the Palestinians deserve sympathy, among other things. To try to change history to make them more sympathetic figures is not how to go about drawing support.

        “Situations of extreme desperation create people that act desperately.” You offer this explanation for Hamas; the same explanation applies for Israel in 1948, actually. As I said, two sides to every coin, which you fail to see.

        “The actions of Palestinians you think are ‘rightfully criticizable’ are in complete reaction to a settler-colonial project that incessantly terrorizes the population of Gaza.” You completely misread my previous post. I did not state that Palestinian actions were criticizable, I said that Israeli actions were criticizable. Israeli. But yet you just assumed every statement I made would be pro-Israel, which is not true. Please read more carefully next time.

  • ______

    Can you accurately compare South African apartheid to the current situation in Israel?

    “Is Israel an “apartheid state,” as its enemies claim? Who better to answer that charge than a Black South African who lived through apartheid? Kenneth Meshoe, a member of the South African parliament, fits that bill. He examines the evidence against Israel and draws a compelling conclusion.”

    • Mandela

      yeah, no prominent South Africans have ever made this comparison….

      • hmm

        funny, i never heard him actually call israel an apartheid state…just because he identifies with palestinians’ struggle doesnt mean that the situations can be easily compared

  • More like this

    Great article. No more normalisation of a horrifying system of oppression.