will post a 250-word response to a classmate (pick any classmate; hopefully students will spread themselves around…). Responses should draw on your knowledge from the course material. I also encourage you to indicate how we would go about finding the answer to the question(s) posed. What further info would we need? What kind of study might we design?
This week’s reading covers the debate over the application of the term “apartheid” in the Israeli-Palestine context (Tapper & Sucharov, 2019). Apartheid means “apartness” in Afrikaans and is used to describe “the institutionalized system of racial segregation and discrimination in South Africa between 1948 and 1994” (Tapper & Sucharov, 2019, p. 176). Though the term originated in South Africa, it has been used by some of Israel’s critics to describe Israel’s rule over Palestinians. Tapper and Sucharov (2019) explain that supporters of the apartheid label see it as a way to raise issues regarding human rights in Israel/Palestine. They argue that applying the label could help in accelerating an international response to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Further, supporters argue that the label legitimately applies because both Israel and South Africa are settler-colonial societies. In this sense, using the label is useful because it can “make things seem familiar by highlighting the broad resemblances or approximations between them” (Tapper & Sucharov, 2019, p. 178).
However, critics of the label explain how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not about racial segregation, but military occupation. They prefer the term “occupation” as Israel is not oppressing the Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as minority citizens of the state but as an occupying force of territories acknowledged by the United Nations and international law as occupied. They argue that those accusing Israel of running an apartheid regime in the Palestinian territories of the West Bank confuse occupation policies with apartheid (Tapper & Sucharov, 2019). The label “is not only misleading, but could divert energy from ending the occupation” (Tapper & Sucharov, 2019, p. 174). Further, Israeli policies towards the Palestinians in the West Bank are not oppressive and discriminatory due to their ethnic background or the colour of their skin. Instead, they are motivated by Israeli security concerns and “reflect occupation control politics rather than apartheid policies” (Tapper & Sucharov, 2019, p. 189-190).
As a proud Israeli Jew myself, I feel that this label is an unfair and misplaced attempt to delegitimize the world’s only Jewish state. This conflict is between two different ethnic and religious groups over land. The Palestinian struggle is self-defined as a national liberation movement for an independent nation-state that would be recognized as a member of the United Nations (Tapper & Sucharov, 2019). Palestinians are not an oppressed racial or ethnic minority within Israel. This is not a racial issue, but rather a security issue.
Signed, Anita Kaneti
Questions to consider:
Would using “Israeli Apartheid” be a better label? If so, why?
Would that label similarly detract from the analysis of the situation as an occupation?
If so, would that benefit or harm the Palestinian cause?