Thursday, March 3, 2016

Reconstruction, Apartheid, and Israel

Sar Shalom

One component of our enemies' war against Israel is to assert that Israel is practicing Apartheid. The reason they do so is, as Einat Wilf explains, not because Israel matches Apartheid-era South Africa, but because Apartheid is a universally recognized evil and the thinking among people of good conscience is, "What do we do with evil? We eradicate it." However, countering the "Israel=Apartheid" canard will require acknowledging the superficial similarity between the two, that both featured one group that was privileged relative to another. As I have stated in the past, my preferred way to do this would be to reference another episode in history that featured one group privileged over another but which would be viewed in the opposite manner of Apartheid, Reconstruction. In order to make the case that Israel should be viewed as Reconstruction rather than as Apartheid, I have started a table list lists differences between Reconstruction and Apartheid and then describes how Israels fits in each axis.

Prior to Reconstruction, Negroes were disfavored and whites favored. Prior to Apartheid, there were no whites in southern Africa and blacks had the subcontinent to themselves. Prior to Zionism, Jews in Palestine were disfavored and Muslims were favored.
Opponents relied primarily on terror, particularly lynchings. Some opponents relied on terror. Others relied on passive resistance. Opponents rely primarily on terror. Specific methods vary in response to countermeasures.
After Reconstruction ended, the whites imposed Jim Crow on the black population. After Apartheid ended, the new ANC headed government of South Africa reached out to reconcile with the Afrikaners. Zionism is still in effect, but domestic communications of the PNM indicate an intention roll back Jewish rights as much as practicable.


  1. It's a very sticky analogy.

    I can tell you with a pretty strong degree of assurance that historians of the United States will not go for it by huge percentages and American historians, despite rumors otherwise, tend to be exceedingly conservative in their approach to knowledge.

    Nonetheless, Sar Shalom, I think that you are definitely on to something.

    This is a fight about civil rights, civil liberties, and the ability of the tiny Jewish minority within the world to defend itself from so many enemies.

    And you are definitely on-point when you note that when people call Israel "apartheid" they are really saying that it should be dismantled as the national homeland of the Jewish people, thereby leaving the Jewish people vulnerable to the next series of pogroms or whatever.

    People often suggest that standing up for Jewish liberation is a right-wing stance. I've never understood why that should be so if standing up for black liberation or women's rights or GBLT rights is Left. The only explanation is that the Left tends to think of Jewish people as representing rich, white people, and therefore unworthy of consideration beyond the dough that they can try to get out of us.

    We need that, as my dear old mom used to say, like a hole in the head.

    1. historians of the United States will not go for it by huge percentages

      There was a time that historians went along with the conclusions of the Dunning school. Not sure how much the change in that was due to intellectual development in the field and how much was due to social development.

      The only explanation is that the Left tends to think of Jewish people as representing rich, white people, and therefore unworthy ...

      What is needed is to counter the notion that Jews=Europeans. This would be served by histories of the Jews of the Middle East in general, and of Palestine in particular. An example would be Bernard Lewis's The Jews of Islam.

  2. also, coloured and whites didn't sit in the same chamber of parliament in SA, blacks didn't get any rep in parliament at all.

    In Israel, Arabs (and Druze, etc.) sit in the same chamber of parliament as Jews. That is the essence of what democracy is.

  3. 1) Without facts, which Kumar does provide, calling the "apartheid slur" a lie says more about you than it does about the situation in the Levant.

    2) Even establishing that Israel is not an apartheid state does not establish the fact that opposition to Israel is a racist endeavor. Why not highlight the fact that those who think they are working to end a racist society to destroying "apartheid"-Israel are actually working to create a racist society by reviving the social order of the 19th-century Middle East?

  4. Some things are not worth a detailed response. I would never respond with details to some one who called me a racist. If you have to deny such an allegation from a person who clearly is a racist then you have not only lost but you define yourself.

    Go on the front foot if want to get detailed. Explain in detail for the benefit of observers why you and they are in the presence of a lie spitting racist.

    This is not a game and you need to understand that its implications reach far beyond the Levant.