SFS: Israel is an apartheid state

Posted: March 20, 2009 by Jonathan Boyko in Israel, Israeli Palestinians, Setting Facts Straight

In apartheid SA, building huge religious sites of worship would not be allowed.

In apartheid SA, building huge religious sites of worship would not be allowed.

Many claims have been made that Israel is an apartheid state, segregating between Jews and Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians. While a casual reader might find such claims – especially made by some prominent European politicians – truthful, the facts are very different.

First, let us start with an all-known fact: the apartheid came up in South Africa, where the white minority oppressed the non-white majority and people were segregated into four categories: White, Bantu Colored, and Asian. Can you smell the difference by now? The issue was racial one, and divided people based on the color of their skin. The situation could not have been more different in Israel, as in the Jewish state Arabs can get to quite prominent positions. For example, current Israeli Parliament, Israeli Arab parties have eleven seats – something we could not imagine happening in apartheid South Africa.

By the way, the color-based racial segregation in Africa was sanctioned by an official law (the Population Registration Act) – something non-existent in Israel. It is also quite important to know, that one of the primary uses of segregationist laws was against its own citizens – meaning that for Israel to be an apartheid state, it would have to bar Arabs from living or operating business in quite a few areas of Israel. Although in some particular cases Arab population is not welcome in particular areas, the reason is usually objections by the dwellers of the area and have nothing to do with governmental policies. Moreover, for Israel to practice apartheid, Israel would have to bar Arabs from entering certain areas, and those who would – would have to carry special permits. In contrast to this practice used in South Africa, if you walk on streets of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, you will see plenty of Arab citizens on the streets.

Another reason why Israel cannot be named an apartheid state is that apartheid Africa has forcefully made every black person a resident of one of ten ‘African homelands’, or ‘Bantustans’. Although some of those ‘Bantustans’ were granted a somewhat degree of independence, they were overall dependent of white-controlled South Africa, and were excluded from creating any political force in SA (in Israel, there are three major Israeli Arab political parties, excluding many other political movements).

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