Israel, apartheid, and the third rail | #TOpoli #PrideTO
Some months ago I read something which tried, as I recall, to address Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories, and the comparisons that have been drawn between that and South Africa’s system of apartheid.
To suggest that it’s emotionally volatile terrain might be a slight understatement. And while I’m not interested in stirring up that particular wasps’ nest in the runup to Toronto’s 2012 Pride celebrations, I’m with Antonia on this:
The twitterstorm that ensued is a matter of record.
Rather than rehash that, though, let’s address the way the argument’s been framed. Usually, it’s a fairly predictable dance: someone suggests Israel is an apartheid state, the hasbaraniks jump to the attack with accusations of anti-semitism, double standards, and delegitimization, and fairly soon the target is browbeaten or intimidated into silence. Either way, it’s a rhetorical minefield.
So, rather than ask ourselves “is Israel an apartheid state,” let’s reframe the question: Does Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, and its administration of the occupied territories, meet the internationally accepted definition of apartheid? (I’m not the first one to suggest this, of course.)
There are many observers who would suggest that the answer to that is yes. And calling them a bunch of Jew-haters or characterizing the question as hate speech isn’t going to do anything to change that.
All in the framing, really.
- Within Israel, politicians, academics, journalists and activists frequently describe the state’s treatment of Palestinians as apartheid …
- … there are deeply distressing echoes of apartheid in the occupied territories …
- A Sunday afternoon in Toronto | #TOpoli #PrideTO #choice