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Israel and the South African Analogy:

Advocates of boycotts of Israel and Israelis, such as the British boycott Eugene blogs below, often draw an analogy between Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and South African apartheid. And just as South Africa was boycotted, they argue, so should Israel be boycotted.

For reasons that should be obvious to any objective observer, I find the South Africa analogy to be both absurd and obscene. However, let's assume for the sake of argument that Israel's occupation of the lands it captured in 1967 is indeed morally analogous to South African apartheid.

The relevant analogy would then have to be as follows. South Africa has publicly declared its willingness, indeed eagerness, to end apartheid, and in fact allowed the African National Congress to return from exile and administer most of South Africa, subject to government security conditions. The ANC and the South African government then launched into final status negotiations, at which time the South African government once again expressed its willingness to end apartheid, and offered a deal which most objective observers thought met 95% or so of the ANC's stated demands, and went much further than most observers thought that the South African government would ever be willing to go.

The ANC responded not by demanding the other 5%, not by launching a worldwide public relations campaign seeking to press the South African government to accede to its final demands, but by launching a terrorist war against the white civilian population of South Africa, resulting in hundreds of civilian deaths.

A few years later, the South African government unilaterally ended apartheid in about half of the disputed territory, turning sovereignty over to the ANC, and expressed its hope that the ANC would govern responsibly and that its withdrawal from this territory would ultimately form the basis for a new chapter in their relationship.

Instead, the black population of South Africa voted in a new government composed of black supremacists, who expressed openly and vigorously their hatred and contempt of white people, and swore that they would never negotiate any accommodation with the South African government, short of turning all of South Africa into a black supremacist state, with whites being forced to return to their "homelands". The new black government used its new territorial sovereignty to establish terrorist bases, smuggle weapons, and establish new military and political ties to other organizations that had genocidal views toward South African whites. White South African towns faced a constant missile barrage from this territory.

Even knowing the hatred leveled at South Africa during apartheid years, I find it hard to believe that under these circumstances anyone with a modicum of respectability would have been calling for boycotts of the South African government.

The long and the short of it is that calls to boycott Israel are not about "the occupation," but about calling into question the legitimacy of Israel per se. The boycotters are not anti-occupation, they are pro-Hamas. As such, they are morally culpable in Hamas's genocidal anti-Semitism, totalitarian Islamism, and so forth. Those who voted for the boycott should reveal their names publicly, so that people of good moral conscience can decide whether THEY should be boycotted.

Mr. X (www):
For reasons that should be obvious to any objective observer, I find the South Africa analogy to be both absurd and obscene.


Translation: I have no argument.
6.1.2007 2:32pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Translation, I don't deign to give the argument respectability by taking it seriously enough to rebut.
6.1.2007 2:33pm
Mr. X (www):
When you fail to rebut the opposing argument, your post loses all persuasive force and becomes a simple (and overwrought) polemic.
6.1.2007 2:39pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
The post isn't about the opposing argument re the apartheid analogy, it's about the moral bankruptcy of the opposing position on the boycott, even if one accepted their rationale for it.
6.1.2007 2:44pm
EvanH:
Professor Bernstein, I have to take issue with your hypo:


The relevant analogy would then have to be as follows. South Africa has publicly declared its willingness, indeed eagerness, to end apartheid, and in fact allowed the African National Congress to return from exile and administer most of South Africa, subject to government security conditions.


Problem one: There was never an offer like this. Even the camp david 2000 offer included only 70-something percent of the west bank. If you want to argue that 20-something percent remaining under Israeli control was really about security you're welcome to do so.


I for think the apartheid analogy is apt. The fact is that if you're a Palestinian living in the West Bank your life is cheap. There's a whole generation that's grown up under occupation, and unless something is done soon the violence is going it get worse. If Israel wanted to annex the west bank and gaza, and grant all of those Palestinians full-Israeli citizenship then let them. But of course the won't for demographic reasons. There's the rub they can't take the land, they can't keep the status quo, and they can't leave.

Let me propose a hypo to Prof. Bernstein. If the US had gone to war with the USSR in the 60's and lost. And then the Soviets occupied America and began relocating Russians to the pleasant valleys of Virginia. Would an American freedom fighter be justified in suicide bombing, a Russian military convoy? How about attacking Russian civilians now living in America, and supporting the occupation?
6.1.2007 2:51pm
jvarisco (www):
If you're not going to rebut this, then what is the point of this post?

You also contradict yourself directly - you attack the comparisons, and then explain you think boycotting South Africa was equally absurd. Which makes them the same, and the analogy would hold.
6.1.2007 2:56pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
David:

I think you are letting your emotions cloud your reasoning somewhat. How do we know that all who call for a boycott of Israel are "pro-Hamas" and are attempting to challenge the legitimacy of Israel per se? We don't, of course, without knowing the identities of all who support the boycott, and their reasons for supporting it. Some might want a change in Israel's policies, but still believe themselves to be supporters of Israel. Others may want to see the state's destruction (as you posit). In short, you see this as only black and white when there are likely many other shades, among boycott supporters (I am not one, by the way, as I do not favor a boycott of any sort with respect to Israel).

I think the tendency to vilify one's political opponents is the biggest problem to achieving a peaceful solution in the Middle East and, in the USA, is a big obstacle to forging a consensus on a range of important issues.
6.1.2007 2:57pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
The Russian analogy is inapt, because you fail to suggest who started the war, and why. The analogy also fails because to make it fair, the relevant territory would have to be a non-state entity claimed by more than two parties (e.g., the West Bank was claimed by (and previously occupied by) Jordan, partially by Israel, and by Palestinian advocates), the Soviet government would have had to have offered withdrawal immediately in exchange for peace, and the areas resettled by the Soviets would have to include areas from which Russians were forcibly evicted in a prior war. Not to mention that a major impetus for settling the West Bank was to prevent it from becoming the base for a hostile Soviet client state, a very real threat through the late 1980s. And the fact that Israel is a Western democracy. It would have been a blessing for the Soviets to have been occupied by the U.S. circa 1965, and that was certainly true economically for the Palestinians.

As for Camp David, I don't want to get into the whole map dispute, but Israel ultimately offered 100% of the amount of land that constitutes the West Bank and Gaza. Regardless, the point is not whether what Israel offered was precisely what the Pals wanted, but how the Pals pressed their demands, by launching a wave of terrorism, when they could have almost certainly gotten what they had previously claimed to demand through p.r. and negotiation. But that assumes that their stated goals were their real goals, which turned out not to be true, just as if the ANC's stated goal of having a multiparty democracy that respected human rights turned out to be pure p.r.
6.1.2007 3:05pm
Steve:
The boycotters are not anti-occupation, they are pro-Hamas. As such, they are morally culpable in Hamas's genocidal anti-Semitism, totalitarian Islamism, and so forth.

And if you opposed the Iraq war, you were objectively pro-Saddam. Instead of boycotting Israel or South Africa, how about if we boycott arguments of this sort?
6.1.2007 3:05pm
PDXLawyer (mail):
David:

In your hypothetical, would South Africa have abandoned its unique status as a specifically white African state? Would it have maintained a system which encouraged housing segregation by race? Would it have allowed all of the blacks in the areas which it militarily controlled to vote? Or, would this have been the other 5% that the hypothetical SA government didn't agree to?

I think the question comes down to whether one sees the Israeli response to Palistian demands as reasonable/generous or not. If one believes the Israelis are being reasonable and fair, as you do, then continues anti-Israel sentiment is unjustified. On the other hand, if one sees the idea of an ethnic state as inherently unjust, the matter comes out differently.

You had a long thread on this last year, arguing that an ethnic basis of states was common and well accepted internationally. I read it with interest, but thought that you came out on the short side of the argument. I'd agree that this was so prior to WW II, but of course prior to WW II racism, or racial separation, generally was accepted as a reasonable viewpoint in many nations, including the US. I'd agree that if the idea of preserving Israel as a Jewish state is taken as given, then Israel's actions are reasonable. The point of the South Africa analogy, I think, is to attack the underlying premise - the legitimacy of maintaining a ethnic Jewish state
6.1.2007 3:08pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
CC, the British boycotters position (given that Israel has offered to "end the occupation" subject to a peace treaty and security guarantees) is clearly that Israel should withdraw immediately and unilaterally, without any sort of peace agreement or other guarantees. This would, under current circumstances, create a Hamas government dedicated to Israel's destruction on its borders. That's not pro-Hamas?
6.1.2007 3:10pm
Mr. X (www):
The long and the short of it is that calls to boycott Israel are not about "the occupation," but about calling into question the legitimacy of Israel per se. The boycotters are not anti-occupation, they are pro-Hamas. As such, they are morally culpable in Hamas's genocidal anti-Semitism, totalitarian Islamism, and so forth. Those who voted for the boycott should reveal their names publicly, so that people of good moral conscience can decide whether THEY should be boycotted.


Where to begin?

1) Why is "the occupation" in scare quotes? Are you denying that Israel occupies the Palestinian territories?
2) What support do you have for the argument that the boycotters "are not anti-occupation, they are pro-Hamas"? The text of the boycott and the public statements all explicitly say otherwise.
3) How does opposition to Israeli occupation translate into moral culpability for the actions of a Palestinian political party?

I note that you removed the phrase "morally bankrupt" in an edit. It's a start, but that whole paragraph is nothing but an angry screed.
6.1.2007 3:13pm
EvanH:
Prof. let's just say the US started the war in response to Praque spring or something. We lost. Given the hypo as I described it would suicide bombing be justified?
6.1.2007 3:15pm
charlesB:

relocating Russians to the pleasant valleys of Virginia.


When exactly did Israel engage in post-war forced relocation of Palestinians? And what of the thousands of non-Israeli Jews expelled from all Arab lands simply because of their ethnic/religious, not national identity?
Be that as it may, there are many reasons your analogy to America/Russia is false: you compare Palestinians to a vanquished formerly free nation, when in fact a nation of Palestine never existed. You compare actions designed to break a victors hold over land with the openly stated goals of Hamas which is the destruction of the entire State of Israel. To use your analogy, if Russia agreed to sit at a bargaining table to speak of terms with Americans, would those same suicide attacks be justifiable under any circumstances, so long as negotiations are taking place? And if suicide attacks by freedom fighters are 'justified', would the other side not be equally justified in taking all measures within its means to protect its innocent citizens from harm?
The boycott issue is simple - if the British choose to boycott all nations that engage in discrimination and threw Israel in the mix, their argument might have some leg to stand on. But to single out Israel in light of the many abuses worldwide that occur in other countries smacks of anti-semitism. Seems strange that some commentators can argue that innocent citizens can be legitimate targets for 'freedom fighters' because they enable government policy through their support, but on the other hand a boycott of Israel by other parties should not be seen as a vote of support for its enemies?
6.1.2007 3:17pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
PDX, you've made my point exactly. The boycotters claim to want to boycott Israel to "end the occupation." The fact that Israel is organized as a Jewish state has nothing to do with the occupation. Israel was just as organized as a Jewish state in 1966, and would be just as organized as a Jewish state in 2008, if it "ended the occupation" immediately. If the boycotters want to challenge the legitimacy of Israel per se, they should say so explicitly.

As for voting, I've never heard of an occupying power that permits its "subjects" to vote in its elections, but the Palestinian in the territories now vote for the Palestinian government, and they've chosen to turn it over to Hamas.

As for the Palestinian Arabs in Israel, for the most part, they do not seem to want to be assimilated in the greater Israeli public, but want collective rights. It's awfully hard to argue for a system that gives the Arabs of Israel exactly equal rights when their leaders have no interest in their assuming exactly equal obligations (like military service). It's not to my taste, but both the Jews and Arabs of Israel seem to agree that the status of Israeli Arabs should be one of a national minority, with the focus of the debate what rights, privileges, and obligations that national minority should have.
6.1.2007 3:18pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Mr. X, I didn't edit the post, you must be letting your imagination run away.

"The occupation" is what the boycotters misleadingly claim to be focused on, when what they want is a Hamas victory.
6.1.2007 3:20pm
PDXLawyer (mail):
David:

You wrote:

"the West Bank was claimed by (and previously occupied by) Jordan"

That is incorrect as a matter of history. Jordan did occupy the West Bank from 1948 to 1967, but it was very careful to disclaim any sovereign status over the territory or its inhabitants. In fact, the Israeli position during most of the 1948 - 1967 period was that there *was* a Palistinian state - Jordan. Jordan very specifically disclaimed any such thing and refused to grant Jordanian passports to most Palistinians.

In short, you presented the Israeli diplomatic position as if it were the Jordanian diplomatic position.
6.1.2007 3:22pm
EvanH:
As for the Palestinian Arabs in Israel, for the most part, they do not seem to want to be assimilated in the greater Israeli public, but want collective rights.

Wouldn't you agree at least the Israel itself shares some of the blame for the alienation of Israeli-Arabs.
6.1.2007 3:28pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
PDX, I believe you are wrong. Jordan did not simply occupy but annexed the West Bank, though this was not recognized internationally. Through at least the early 1980s, Jordan claimed that if Israel withdrew from the West Bank, it would be the appropriate new ruler. Indeed, Jordan made a splash in the 1980s by for the first time disclaiming its sovereign claims to the West Bank. Israel occupied the West Bank after the war not only to avoid creating a Palestinian Soviet client state that would threaten it, but to avoid such a state threatening Jordan, as the PLO had launched the Black September revolution against Jordan in 1970. The idea that Israel could have or should have simply "created" a new Palestinian state in 1967, given that the official PLO ideology, backed by its Soviet sponsors, was that Israel should be destroyed, and that this ideology was officially back by all of Israel's neighbors at the time, defies credulity. There was no realistic possibility for a Pal. state until the USSR collapsed, and the Pal's announced their willingness to negotiate for a state only in the territories. At which time Israel came around to be willing to negotiate for such a state. That doesn't negate the often foolish policies of the Israeli gov't in handling the territories, but a dose of realistic history in is order. In short the realistic alternative to occupation in 1967 was not a Pal state, but turning the West Bank back over to Jordan in exchange for a peace treaty.
6.1.2007 3:29pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Evan, yes. OTOH, black Americans were treated far worse in the U.S. than are Israeli Arabs. Black leaders had the foresight to demand equal rights AND obligations (e.g., military service), to be full citizens. Israeli Arab leaders demand equal rights, but disclaim equal obligations. That ain't gonna fly.
6.1.2007 3:31pm
Steve:
Is the IDF really gung-ho about the concept of conscripting Israeli Arabs, if only those darn Israeli Arab leaders would agree to military service? Don't they have any, uh, loyalty concerns?
6.1.2007 3:34pm
EvanH:
"The occupation" is what the boycotters misleadingly claim to be focused on, when what they want is a Hamas victory.

Prof. Berstein, I mean this with the utmost respect but I believe Christopher Cooke is exactly right. To assert that those who think the western world must take more direct actions to end the occupation want a Hamas victory is a statement that comes from the heart not the head. There are those of us who recognize the threat to Israel and who sincerely believe that the occupation is in fact harming Israel.
6.1.2007 3:37pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Wanting to end the occupation is not pro-Hamas; wanting to end the occupation immediately and unconditionally is pro-Hamas.
6.1.2007 3:40pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
As is, I should add, implicitly or explicitly blaming Israel exclusively for the fact that the occupation continues. Given that Hamas blatantly refuses to negotiate with Israel over an end to the occupation, why not boycott Hamas?
6.1.2007 3:44pm
PDXLawyer (mail):
David:

I agree absolutely that the South African analogy has little validity with respect to objections limited to to Israel's occupation of territory outside of its 1967 boundaries. This really doesn't turn on reasonableness, though - it turns on the fact that nobody questioned the *boundaries* of South Africa, but rather its internal administration.

Note also that while Israel does not treat non-Jews residing in the occupied territories (ie outside its pre-1967 lines) as citizens, it does treat Jews in those territories as citizens.

If Israel is to survive as a Jewish state, its present policies with regard to the occupied territories are at least reasonable, if not compelled. Certainly, the level of brutality involved is quite low, given the objectives of the policies. I know that in your view, this is enough, because you postulate the right of Israel to survive as a Jewish state. Would you say this is generally true for all ethnic groups regardless of the level of brutality required to erect an ethnic state, or is Israel a special case?
6.1.2007 3:48pm
Mr. X (www):
Mr. X, I didn't edit the post, you must be letting your imagination run away.


My feed reader shows it as having been updated a couple of times, but I apologize. I must have misread.

"The occupation" is what the boycotters misleadingly claim to be focused on, when what they want is a Hamas victory.


So your argument is that the boycott writers are liars who want something other than what they've demanded in written statements? It's like a straw man, ad hominem, and well-poisoning all rolled up together.
6.1.2007 3:48pm
EvanH:
I respectfully disagree. The occupation is cracking the moral foundations of the state. As I said, either annex it all and make the residents citizens or get out. The status quo is absolutely the worse situation for all involved.
6.1.2007 3:50pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
If there was a serious prospect for a peaceful binational state, I might very well support it. But given that the Scots and English apparently can't even get along to the former's satisfaction, though separated by water, I don't see any hope for Jews and Arabs to live happily in a binational state. My own tentative preference would have been for Israel to have had the Law of Return but also treat its Arab minority more like the Muslim minority in India, but I speak with some degree of ignorance here.
6.1.2007 3:55pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Steve, civilian national service was and is an available alternative for Arab Israelis. Very few volunteer for it. Again, while this may be unfair, accepting equal obligations is a strong step on the road to demanding equal rights.
6.1.2007 3:57pm
Nick P.:
But given that the Scots and English apparently can't even get along to the former's satisfaction, though separated by water

Did Hadrian's wall become a canal when I wasn't paying attention?
6.1.2007 4:10pm
srg (mail):
Hadrian's wall is not the border between England and Scotland; it is south of the border, in England.
6.1.2007 4:17pm
Deoxy (mail):
There's a MUCH simpler reason why the apartheid analogy is just dead wrong:

Blacks in South Africa wanted equality.

The Palestinians want the death of all Jews (or so they proclaim loudly and regularly).

If you can't see that those situations are not remotely analogous, well, I don't see how I (or anyone else with a functioning brain) can have a meaningful conversation with you.
6.1.2007 4:25pm
Hoosier:
Matter of historical fact: Jordan /did/ claim to have annexed the West Bank and E. Jerusalem, in the spring of 1950.

Since they didn't do so immediately after the establishment of Israel, it sometimes gets remembered that they never did so.
6.1.2007 4:32pm
Steve:
Steve, civilian national service was and is an available alternative for Arab Israelis. Very few volunteer for it.

I appreciate the answer, but I was focusing more on the Israeli perspective, rather than the Arab one. In other words, it's fine for Israel to argue "those darn Arabs won't even agree to compulsory national service," but does Israel really WANT them to agree, given that what you'd end up with is a military containing many members of dubious loyalty? It seems like Israel would actually be quite content with the status quo where Arabs choose to opt out of national service.
6.1.2007 4:38pm
John McCall (mail):
The Scotland-England border does track various rivers near the coasts, but even if those rivers cut across the entire island, the countries still wouldn't qualify as "separated by water" in any meaningful sense --- rivers, particularly of that size, simply aren't effective barriers. Perhaps the Professor was thinking of Ireland?
6.1.2007 4:42pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Steve, there is an unfortunate confluence of left and right in Israel. The right doesn't want Arabs to be equal citizens for chauvinistic reasons. The left thinks it would "unfair" to ask them to "betray" their culture and people. Unfortunately, collectivist thinking is pervasive in Israel, among all groups. But the question is whether the Arabs are satisfied with the status quo, and for the most part, the answer seems to be yes. Their political leaders, in particular, and for obvious reasons, have no desire to see them integrate, but would rather turn them into a perpetual "grievance group."
6.1.2007 4:45pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
David: thanks for your question, but I don't think those advocating a unilateral and immediate withdrawal and who are urging a boycott are necessarily trying to hand Hamas a victory, I think they just want Israel to withdraw. For example, if Israel announced that, after meeting with Abu Mazen, he had convinced them to withdraw, unconditionally and immediately, from the West Bank and Gaza, and Israel then ceded control over these territories to Fatah militia groups, I would suspect that some of these boycott supporters would be happy, even though that would not a pro-Hamas result.

I believe that Hamas' rise to power and popularity among the Palestinians was largely a result of corruption in Fatah, the miserable conditions in which many Palestinians live, and a frustration with the lack of change in their situation, and not so much because of widespread Palestinian desires to kill or wipe out their Israel Jewish neighbors.

My own view on the British Lecturers' call for a boycott is that it reflects the double-standard typical in the US and Western Europe among the left, which often applies human rights rules to condemn Israel more harshly than the left does to authoritarian/totalitarian countries, such as China and Iran. I would try to persuade these people by pointing out (a) the double standard they use (Eugene's post below), and (b) your points about Palestinian violence, than by attacking them as pro-Hamas or anti-semitic.
6.1.2007 4:53pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Didn't say they were anti-Semitic, but pro-Hamas, which makes them complicit in Hamas's anti-Semitism.
6.1.2007 5:24pm
eddy:
Israel's inability to strike a deal with the Palestinians has done more to fuel the growth of radical Islam than any other factor. Consequently, Israel is a millstone around the neck of the U.S. and the West.

I encourage the boycott of Israel and Palestinian interests except I can't think of any significant Palestinian interests worth boycotting.

It is a sham argument that Israel's killing is justified because it is "targeted" whereas Palestinians target innocent civilians. By my count, Israel's "targeted killings" kills more innocent bystanders than the Palestinian's do with their homemade rockets.

A pox on both their houses.
6.1.2007 5:37pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
eddy, more than the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the victory of the rebels? More than the Iranian revolution? More than the corruption and incompetence of secular Arab gov'ts.
6.1.2007 6:00pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
Of course, the reason the South Africa analogy doesn't work is that there is no moral equivalency between apartheid-era South Africa and modern day Israel, but people on the left sometimes overlook this fact, and treat the situations as the equivalent.

But, the reason the left sees the situations as analogous is that both situations involve a "minority-ruling-a majority" and Israel uses religion and ethnicity in describing its national identity, and in how it assigns some privileges of citizenship, while apartheid-era South Africa used ethnicity and race.

David, you state:

In short the realistic alternative to occupation in 1967 was not a Pal state, but turning the West Bank back over to Jordan in exchange for a peace treaty.


Don't you think Israel would be better off today, if it had followed this alternative? I see these territories and the continuing Palestinian problem as dragging down Israel.
6.1.2007 6:05pm
Gerhard (mail):
Come on, David. You're a right-leaning, Pro-Israel and Jewish. You are kidding yourself if you think there is any objectivity whatsoever in any of your arguments.
6.1.2007 6:06pm
PEG (mail) (www):
Prof. Bernstein, I wholeheartedly agree with you on all counts, save one: yes, for the most part the Arab minority in Israel doesn't want the obligations that come with equal rights, but having them serve in the military is not a realistic option.

MKs and IDF officers I have spoken to, as well as Arab leaders, all agree that Arab Israelis could not serve in the military because the Palestinians are, quite literally, their cousins.

For my part I would like to see Israeli Arabs take part in some sort of German-style civil service, where they would also dedicate a year to their country, like their Jewish (and Druze, and Christian) fellow citizens, and maybe get to experience the rest of the reality of Israel, come to see Jews as something else than oppressors and themselves as more than victims.

But given the current political situation, that is science fiction.
6.1.2007 6:24pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Ger, I think you are misleading in your characterization, but whatever I am doesn't go to the saliency of my arguments.
6.1.2007 6:38pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
PEG: But see the American Civil War, Muslims who serve in the Indian army, etc. I agree though that it's not going to happen any time soon, and neither the Arabs nor the Jews want it, but meanwhile, this means that the Arabs will inherently be something less than fully equal citizens; they will have both fewer responsibilities, and fewer rights.
6.1.2007 6:40pm
Brian K (mail):

Steve, civilian national service was and is an available alternative for Arab Israelis. Very few volunteer for it. Again, while this may be unfair, accepting equal obligations is a strong step on the road to demanding equal rights.


Why must the acceptance of obligations come before the granting of rights? If isreali arab's don't have a reasonable expectation being given full rights, why would they undertake the burdens? Here's an idea: make granting full citizenship rights contingent on completing military or civilian service and guarantee that the rights will be granted. To my knowledge this has not been attempted.
6.1.2007 6:41pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
The Arabs already TECHNICALLY (legally) have full citizen rights. But so long as they are treated, and treat themselves, as a national minority whose fate is separate from the fate of the state, they will never de facto be treated as fully equal citizens by the Jewish population.
Meanwhile, Arab civil rights groups consistently file lawsuits claiming that they should be entitled to the same benefits as veterans because they are not drafted. I can't think of any argument less likely to win sympathy from the Jewish population (and justifiably so): you don't want to volunteer for the responsibilities, but you want the rights.

BTW, the Druze and Bedouin, who do serve in the military, are considered more "Israeli" and are looked on far more favorably than the "Palestinian" population.
6.1.2007 6:48pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Chris, no peace treaty was forthcoming, but Israel would have been well-served to keep important political (Jerusalem) and military territory, and cede the rest unilaterally to Jordan.
6.1.2007 6:49pm
Gerhard (mail):
David, everything I posted was a fact. Any argument you make about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict should be taken with a very large bucket of grains of salt.
6.1.2007 6:52pm
PEG (mail) (www):
Prof. Bernstein: I'm not saying it's not possible, I'm saying it's not realistic. In theory, yes, Israeli Arabs serving in the military would be the best option for everyone, but if it was conceivable we would be living in a much different world.

Which is why I keep offering the idea of the German-style civil service, but apparently I'm the only one who thinks it's worth anything.
6.1.2007 7:10pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Ger, if you mean "right-leaning" generally, you're right. If you mean "right-leaning" with regard to Israel, that's misleading at best.

Regardless, my arguments are either logical or illogical, my facts are either right or wrong, grains of salt are irrelevant. A correct fact that's pro-Israel wouldn't become incorrect if I were Meir Kahane, and an incorrect fact that's pro-Israel wouldn't become correct if I were Yassir Arafat.
6.1.2007 7:17pm
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
The comparison fails in one more respect: there is no high-profile Palestinian opposition to Palestinian terror, as there was high-profile black African opposition to ANC terror.
6.1.2007 7:28pm
a bean:
I'm surprised people don't reflect more on there being two kinds of Palestinians: those in West Bank and Gaza and though in tent-cities in neighboring countries. The first group got a long reasonably well: they were free to work in Israel for instance. They had real towns, courts, etc. Their lives became miserable only after various reigns of terror. This produced check-points, work restrictions, and economic stagnation.

In essence: their misery was the result of bad strategy. What they lacked was self-determination--something they deserve for sure.

The second group, those in the foreign encampments constitute the classical Palestinian problem. They've been packed in like sardines and treated as no more than refugees by the countries in which they live. But this is a condition created by the willful refusal of the Arab governments to grant these people the citizenship they want and deserve.

Prior to the six-day war, all Palestinians were in group II, because the West Bank and Gaza were occupied by Jordon and Egypt respectively.

Indeed, the Arab solution to this problem was that Israel should be disposed of and the Palestinians would then occupy what had been Israel. Problem solved.
6.1.2007 10:07pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Israel's inability to strike a deal with the Palestinians has done more to fuel the growth of radical Islam than any other factor. Consequently, Israel is a millstone around the neck of the U.S. and the West.
If that first claim were the case, then radical Islam would be most prevalent in the West Bank and Gaza, and we'd presumably expect to see the intensity of radical Islam strongest in the countries near Israel and diminish as we radiate farther away. That, of course, is not at all what we see. Radical Islam is strongest in Saudi Arabia, in Iran, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan...

Indeed, when Osama Bin Laden first issued his manifestos in the mid-1990s, he didn't even mention Israel. All he cared about was the Saudi peninsula and the sanctions on Iraq. It wasn't until years later that he added the Palestinians to his list of grievances.
6.2.2007 1:45am
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
How does Israel strike a deal with people who want Israel annihilated?
6.3.2007 2:52am
Harvey Mosley (mail):

Come on, David. You're a right-leaning, Pro-Israel and Jewish. You are kidding yourself if you think there is any objectivity whatsoever in any of your arguments.


Gerhard, does this mean that any time you argue in favor of a position you prefer, that your argument is wrong because of your preferences, regardless of the merit of the argument? Or does that only apply to Prof. Bernstein?
6.3.2007 3:40am
neurodoc:
Why the "South African analogy":

100 or so years ago, the Russian secret police made their great and enduring contribution to antisemitism, that the infamous forgery entitled The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. 30+ years ago, their Russian successors formulated, sold, and disseminated through the helpful intermediacy of the United Nations General Assembly the infamous canard "Zionism is racism." Those attacks, first on Jews as such, then on the Jewish aspiration of nationhood and its fulfillment in the state of Israel, have been complemented by the memes of Jews as Nazis and Israel as the Fourth Reich and/or the equivalent of apartheid South Africa. (Jimmy Carter, the Nobel Peace Prize winner like Yasser Arafat, liked Israel as South Africa so much that he wrote a book with that as its subtext.)

DB has done a good and useful job of deconstructing the "South Africa analogy." He neglected to say anything about the source(s) of that analogy, though. The "South Africa analogy" is as (un)worthy as the other transparently antisemitic canards which proceeded it. Those who urge the comparison of Israel to South Africa are either benighted or evil, or both. (To be generous, I will allow that Carter may just be benighted. I am not firmly wedded to the explanation for him, however.)
6.3.2007 2:54pm
neurodoc:
Harvey Mosley, surely you realize, as have others, that if Gerhard and Mr. X before him had persuasive counterarguments to make, they would have made them. They don't, and thus they haven't.
6.3.2007 2:58pm
Informant (mail):
If the Israel/South Africa analogy is such a fallacy, then why did the Israeli and South African governments so clearly believe that it was in their mutual interest to cooperate in the 1970s and 1980s? (See, e.g., their nuclear programs, Israel's continued arms sales to the Apartheid regime years after virtually all other Western suppliers had cut them off, Ariel Sharon's 1981 endorsement of South African military action against ANC targets in other countries, Israel's involvement in backing UNITA, etc.) Israel didn't even begin taking steps to cut diplomatic relations with South Africa until 1987, by which point the Apartheid regime was already pretty clearly on the ropes.
6.4.2007 2:10am
Mr. X (www):
Prof. Bernstein's argument boils down to the fact that the Palestinian's are led by people who are worse than those who ran the ANC, and thus Israel should not stop occupying the occupied territories. He then extends that to claim that those who think the occupation should be ended anyway don't really want that, but in fact want to support the Hamas regime. He makes this second claim with no evidence and it directly conflicts with the public statements (written and verbal) of the boycotters.

Misrepresenting the position of one's opponents and calling them liars is arguing in bad faith and I'm disappointed in Prof. Bernstein for shamelessly doing so. Partisanship is one thing, intellectual dishonesty is quite another.

Rejecting apartheid and calling for boycotts to pressure the South African government to stop treating its black citizens as second class is not the same thing as supporting the ANC. Similarly, calling for a boycott of Israel to pressure them to end the occupation is not the same as supporting Hamas.

People are not their leaders; Iraqis were not Saddam Hussein, North Koreans are not Kim Jong Il, and Americans are not George W. Bush. The individual people in the occupied territories deserve freedom regardless of who holds power over them and arguments like Prof. Bernstein's are merely an attempt to misdirect the issue.

P.S. to Prof. Bernstein: the "morally bankrupt" line is in one of your early comments to the post, not in the post body itself. My apologies for the confusion
6.4.2007 10:54am
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
If the Israel/South Africa analogy is such a fallacy, then why did the Israeli and South African governments so clearly believe that it was in their mutual interest to cooperate in the 1970s and 1980s?
If Government A cooperates with Government B on several matters, that is not evidence that the two governments closely parallel each other. The US and Saudi Arabia were close allies during the Cold War. Anyone want to draw analogies between those two nations?

If Wikipedia is any guide, it woudl appear that the spark behind Israel's ties with South Africa was this:

But most African states broke ties after the 1973 Yom Kippur war and the government in Jerusalem began to take a more benign view of the isolated regime in Pretoria." Ethan A. Nadelmann has claimed that the relationship developed due to the fact that many African countries broke diplomatic ties with Israel during the 70's following the Arab-Israeli wars, causing Israel to deepen relations with other isolated countries.
It would appear that the Commies were a shared concern:
In 1981, Israeli Defence Minister Ariel Sharon visited South African forces in Namibia for 10 days, later saying that South Africa needed more weapons to fight Soviet infiltration in the region.
6.4.2007 8:40pm