Friday, March 13, 2009

Exposing the Charade of Apartheid Accusations: My Essay in today's University of Washington "Daily"

My essay is in the sixth subheading down, under Free Speech Friday.

Professor Alexander’s essay, “Israel Apartheid Week”—UW Daily, 3/6/09), excellent as it is, omits important background to last week’s shameful bigotry against Israel, displayed on campuses around the world. If a space traveler were to land on many a North American campus between March 1st—8th, he’d be forgiven for assuming that modern Israel is a colonial enterprise of faceless Zionist warmongers who get their jollies oppressing peace-loving Palestinians. Nary a mention is made of Zionism as the legitimate national movement of the Jewish people to their ancestral homeland, going back millennia.
Or that on November 29th, 1947, the United Nations voted to partition British Mandate Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state. Omitted too is that the UN divided Western Palestine (remember, Eastern Palestine had already been given to the Arabs—see Jordan) into Arab and Jewish states precisely to reflect the preponderance of Jewish and Arab populations and culture; to wit, the Jews were the majority in the sliver of land partitioned for the Jewish state. The great irony is that the Jews recognized the Arab state, but the Arabs recognized neither the Jewish state nor their own, instead choosing to invade the fledgling Jewish state at its birth.

Flash forward to 1967 when again the Arab world was braced, in the words of Egyptian leader Nasser, “to drive the Jews into the sea.” Never mind that Israel was able to miraculously avert its own destruction by preemptively striking its enemies. Where was the outcry for a Palestinian state on the territories of the West Bank and Gaza, controlled between 1948-1967 by Jordan and Egypt respectively? Deafening silence.

But what about those territories now, occupied by Israel for the past 41 years, goes the refrain? That’s the “apartheid” we’re referring to. There are checkpoints, daily humiliations, an “Apartheid Wall,” and worse. Again, collective amnesia rears its lethargic head. The causes of military necessities like checkpoints and a non-violent separation barrier outside Israel proper are ignored. Forgotten too is the fact that these territories have been disputed since 1967, but more importantly, that Israel offered most of them to the Palestinians in 2000-2001. At Taba in early 2001, Israel’s most generous offer included over 96% of contiguous land in the West Bank, all of Gaza (subsequently relinquished unilaterally, to the Palestinians in 2005), Palestinian control of their holy sites in Jerusalem as well as the Arab neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem—where they could declare their capital—the right of return to all Palestinian refugees (and their several million descendants) to the new Palestinian state, and $30 billion for those refugees. The counter-offer proved to be the launching of a terror war against Israel proper, known as the Second Intifada.

After sustaining hundreds of devastating civilian casualties from suicide bombings in cafes, buses, discos, and other public places, Israel was compelled to re-enter a West Bank that was already largely under Palestinian Authority control. Since there has yet to be a resolution to the hostilities, a state of de facto belligerency continues, made more problematic by the ascent of Hamas, avowed enemy of the Jews, sworn to their destruction (see the Hamas Charter), into the Palestinian polity. Witness the uninterrupted launching of ever more sophisticated rockets and missiles from Gaza, now effectively Judenrein.

Yet the bigger question remains: Why is Israel singled out and held to an impossible standard of perfection, when all around her real apartheids are daily occurrences? Where is the outcry from the “progressive” community about gender or religious apartheid in Saudi Arabia? Where are the gay community’s protests on college campuses against sexual apartheid in Iran, Sudan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen? Homosexuality in these countries is punishable by imprisonment, flogging, stoning, hanging, or beheading. Or race apartheid in Sudan, where the enslavement of blacks continues unabated?

The sad conclusion to be drawn is that charades like “Israel Apartheid Week” can only be explained by a wish to de-legitimize the Jewish state prior to its destruction. The real message behind these invidious campaigns is to call into question Israel’s very right to exist. How infinitely tragic that “progressives” would align themselves with such malevolent forces dedicated to the destruction of the one state in the world, tiny as it is, of the Jewish people. It’s equally tragic that these same “progressives” urge upon Palestinians an all-consuming devotion to the destruction of their Israeli neighbor’s society instead of to the building of their own. In so doing, they have contributed mightily to the ruin of the very people whose welfare they claim to promote.

David Brumer
Alumnus, UW School of Social Work


Anonymous said...

The Palestinians have been fighting against an independent state with their lives and the lives of their children. They know that if they accepted an independent Palestine, it would lend legitimacy to Israel's existence. The Palestinians are totally selfless. They cannot be bribed with a state. They have instead chosen what they believe is virtue: to die in a jihad while killing Jews. The world loves them for their selflessness.

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