Sunday, February 19, 2012
Arabs Refute the Big Lie of "Israeli Apartheid"
One of the big accusations against Israel in the last 15 or 20 years is that Israel practices apartheid against Arabs. It is commonly made with much fanfare by such international Judeophobic hate-inciters as jimmy carter, Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mary Robinson, awarded the American presidential freedom medal by President Obama, etc. In the long run, such hate incitement as carter et al. indulge in is likely to lead to war. Now, Apartheid was a system that existed in South Africa from the late 1940s up to the about 1990. It meant very strict segregation of the races, going farther than jimcrow in the southern United States. It comprised rigidly segregated housing with fences and gates, separate public transport vehicles enforced by law, a ban on interracial sex, separate schools enforced by law, Black exclusion from "white only" places of entertainment, shopping, restaurants, etc etc. None of this exists in Israel. In Jerusalem, several Arab families live on my street, one close by across the street, others around the bend. Arabs go to medical clinics [kupot holim clinics] with Jews, ride the buses and sit with the Jews, go to Jewish restaurants as Jews may go to Arab restaurants. About 15% of the student body at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem are Arabs and some were in classes with my sons. And of course, Arabs often enjoy patronizing the Jerusalem shopping malls with Jews.
Furthermore, skin color --the basis of apartheid-- is a red herring in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Indeed, Arabs are now stereotyped as "non-white" or "people of color," although they always considered themselves "white," especially compared with black Africans [read the stories involving Blacks in the One Thousand and One Nights (alf layl wa-layla), the famous collection of Arab tales from the Middle Ages]. Jews today are somehow stereotyped as "ultra-white" or "the whitest of white", whereas when their skin color was most discussed, in the 19th century and up to the Second World War, they were viewed as swarthy, Oriental, dark, un-European, etc. Now, presto changeo, abracadabra, Jews are depicted as ultra-European. Some Eurocentric Europeans psychologically displace onto the Jews all the negative traits and behavior attributed to Europeans. To sum up this paragraph, there is a broad spectrum of skin colors among both Jews and Arabs. Many Jews are in fact darker than many Arabs. Skin color is a red herring in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Here are some photos taken in a Jerusalem shopping mall in September 2009 that show Jews and Arabs mixing in daily life. It is obvious that apartheid is not a feature of life in Israel. Those who want to measure differences in skin color may take a photometer and bring it up close to the photos. Those who are not convinced can come and ride the buses with us, visit our shopping malls and restaurants, visit the university, tour residential neighborhoods where Jews and Arabs live together, etc.
There are those who openly practice and promote and even demand apartheid in Jerusalem. These are the EU and the consulates of all EU states represented here. They hold separate celebrations of their national holidays [Bastille Day, Queen's Birthday, etc] for Jews and Arabs. Hence, they try to prevent mingling of the two peoples. Mary Robinson ought to look at herself in the mirror for subscribing to this collective EU apartheid policy, although Ireland does not have a consulate here as far as I know. Former Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek used to complain to the EU about this segregation policy. Of course they did not pay him any heed.
I do not know whether the United States holds separate, segregated national holiday celebrations here for Jews and Arabs. Readers might inquire with the State Dept. However, the State Dept of the USA, the EU Commission, and the present government of South Africa all deny the right of Jews to live in parts of Jerusalem occupied by Jordan from 1948 to 1967 and ethnically cleansed of Jews in a process starting in December 1947 when Jews were driven by Arab militias out of a neighborhood in what later became "east Jerusalem." And this in a city, Jerusalem, where Jews have been the absolute majority of the population since 1853, if not earlier. So those who make accusations of apartheid are themselves practitioners of apartheid.
Here are views of life in a Jerusalem shopping mall.
An Arab Muslim woman walks through a Jerusalem mall. Jewish women are in the background.
A Muslim Arab woman walks toward the elevators carrying her purchases. The elevators go down to the parking garage. She didn't come to the mall riding a camel or donkey or walking barefoot on a pebble strewn dirt path. She came to the mall by car.
An Arab father with two sons shops for dairy products in a Jerusalem supermarket. Note the Hebrew word for milk, חלב , halav, on a green sign above his head [click on photo to enlarge]. He was identified as an Arab by speaking to his children in Arabic.
An Arab-Muslim woman with baby stands in front of a store selling socks, stockings, and underwear, mainly for women. Note two Jewish boys sitting on the bench at left.
An Arab-Muslim woman with baby sits on a bench in a Jerusalem shopping mall. The other woman on the bench identified herself as an Ashkenazi Jewess. Note that the Jewish woman is noticeably darker skinned than the Arab child, although the two women have about the same skin color. If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can see a Jewish symbol on the black briefcase.
Proud Arab parents with child in an upscale housewares shop in a Jerusalem shopping mall. Note that father is holding the baby stroller while the mother smiles on the left.
An Arab-Muslim woman, apparently the same one as in the first photo at top, strolls through a Jerusalem shopping mall. Note the Israeli soldier bent over at lower left, apparently looking at a display case of watches or rings.
Arabs refute the apartheid slander by coming to the shopping malls, riding the buses, eating in restaurants, living in neighborhoods, etc. Meanwhile, Western powers within and without the EU promote apartheid, as does the PLO/Palestinian Authority of course.
- - - - - - - - - -
"Apartheid implies the total separation of races socially, economically and in the last resort territorially. . ." [Alan Bullock & Oliver Stallybrass, eds., Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought (London: Fontana Books 1977].
Source on Arab racial attitudes:
Bernard Lewis, Race and Slavery in the Middle East [New York-Oxford: Oxford Univ Press 1990]
Bernard Lewis, Race and Color in Islam [New York 1971].