Israel and the apartheid analogy

Israel and the apartheid analogy compares Israel's treatment of Palestinians to South Africa's treatment of non-whites during its apartheid era within the context of the anti-humanitarian crime of apartheid, as expressed by the Israeli concept of hafrada.[1]

The analogy has been used by some scholars, United Nations investigators, and human rights groups critical of Israeli policy.[2][3] Critics of Israeli policy say that "a system of control" in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, including the ID system, Israeli settlements, separate roads for Israeli and Palestinian citizens around many of these settlements, military checkpoints, marriage law, the West Bank barrier, use of Palestinians as cheaper labour, Palestinian West Bank exclaves, inequities in infrastructure, legal rights, and access to land and resources between Palestinians and Israeli residents in the Israeli-occupied territories, resembles some aspects of the South African apartheid regime, and that elements of Israel's occupation constitute forms of colonialism and of apartheid, contrary to international law.[4] Some commentators extend the analogy to include treatment of Arab citizens of Israel, describing their citizenship status as second-class.[5]

Opponents of the analogy claim that the comparison is factually,[13] morally,[13] and historically[14] inaccurate and intended to delegitimize Israel.[1][15][16][17] Opponents state that the West Bank and Gaza are not part of sovereign Israel. They argue that though the internal free movement of Palestinians is heavily regulated by the Israeli government, the territories are governed by the elected Palestinian Authority and Hamas leaders, so they cannot be compared to the internal policies of apartheid South Africa.[18][19][20]

With regard to the situation within Israel itself, critics of the analogy argue that Israel cannot be called an apartheid state because unlike South Africa, which enshrined its racial segregation policies in law, Israeli law is the same for Jewish citizens and other Israeli citizens, with no explicit distinction between race, creed or sex.[21] However, others believe that even if Israeli law does not make explicit distinction between categories of citizens, in effect it privileges Jewish citizens and discriminates against non-Jewish, and particularly Arab, citizens of the state, by creating benefits for IDF service, which is not mandatory for Arabs (but is optional).[24][25][26]

History of the analogy

In 1961, the South African prime minister, and the architect of South Africa's apartheid policies, Hendrik Verwoerd, dismissed an Israeli vote against South African apartheid at the United Nations, saying, "Israel is not consistent in its new anti-apartheid attitude ... they took Israel away from the Arabs after the Arabs lived there for a thousand years. In that, I agree with them. Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state."[27] Since then, a number of sources have used the apartheid analogy in their examination of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. In 1967, after the Six-Day War, David Ben-Gurion stated that unless Israel managed to 'rid itself of the territories and their Arab population as soon as possible,' it would become an apartheid state.[28] In the early 1970s, Arabic language magazines of the PLO and PFLP compared the Israeli proposals for a Palestinian autonomy to the Bantustan strategy of South Africa.[27] In 1979 the Palestinian sociologist Elia Zureik argued that while not de jure an apartheid state, Israeli society was characterized by a latent form of apartheid.[29] The analogy emerged with some frequency in both academic and activist writings in the 1980–90s,[30] when Uri Davis, Meron Benvenisti, Richard Locke and Anthony Stewart employed the analogy to describe Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.

In the 1990s, the analogy gained prominence after Israel, as a result of the Oslo Accords, granted the Palestinians limited self-government in the form of the Palestinian Authority and established a system of permits and checkpoints in the Palestinian Territories. The analogy has gained additional traction following Israel's construction of the West Bank Barrier.[27] By 2013 the analogy between the West Bank and Bantustans of apartheid-era South Africa was widely drawn in international circles.[31] Also in the United States, where the notion had previously been taboo, Israel's rule over the occupied territories was increasingly compared to apartheid.[32][33]


Main article: Hafrada

Hafrada (Hebrew: הפרדה literally "separation") is the official description of the policy of the government of Israel to separate the Palestinian population in Palestinian territories from the Israeli population.[34][35][36] In Israel, the term is used to refer to the concept of "segregation" and "separation",[37][38] and to the general policy of separation the Israeli government has adopted and implemented over the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.[39][40][40][41][42][43][44][45][46] The word has been compared to the term "Apartheid" by scholars and commentators.[40][46][47][48]

The Israeli West Bank barrier, (in Hebrew, Geder Ha'hafrada or "separation fence")[39] the associated controls on the movement of Palestinians posed by West Bank Closures;[39][41][49] and Israel's unilateral disengagement from Gaza have been cited as examples of hafrada.[39][41][49][50] Aaron Klieman has distinguished between partition plans based on "hafrada", which he translated as "detachment"; and "hipardut", translated as "disengagement."[51]

Since its first public introductions, the concept-turned-policy or paradigm has dominated Israeli political and cultural discourse and debate.[34][38][39]

In 2014, United Nations Special Rapporteur Richard A. Falk used the term in his "Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967".[52][53][54]

International analysis

Analysis by Adam and Moodley

Heribert Adam of Simon Fraser University and Kogila Moodley of the University of British Columbia, in their 2005 book-length study Seeking Mandela: Peacemaking Between Israelis and Palestinians, argue the controversy over terminology arises because Israel as a state is unique in the region. Israel is perceived as a Western democracy and is thus likely to be judged by the standards of such a state. Western commentators, too, may feel "a greater affinity to a like minded polity than to an autocratic Third World state."[55] Israel also claims to be a home for the worldwide Jewish diaspora[55] and a strategic outpost of the Western world that "is heavily bankrolled by U.S. taxpayers" who can be viewed as sharing a collective responsibility for its behaviors.[55] Radical Islamists, according to some analysts, "use Israeli policies to mobilize anti-Western sentiment",[55] leading to a situation in which "(u)nconditional U.S. support for Israeli expansionism potentially unites Muslim moderates with jihadists".[55]

Adam and Moodley note that Jewish historical suffering has imbued Zionism with a subjective sense of moral validity that the whites ruling South Africa never had: "Afrikaner moral standing was constantly undermined by exclusion and domination of blacks, even subconsciously in the minds of its beneficiaries. In contrast, the similar Israeli dispossession of Palestinians is perceived as self-defense and therefore not immoral."[56] They also suggest that academic comparisons between Israel and apartheid South Africa that see both dominant groups as "settler societies" leave unanswered the question of "when and how settlers become indigenous", as well as failing to take into account that Israeli's Jewish immigrants view themselves as returning home.[57] "In their self-concept, Zionists are simply returning to their ancestral homeland from which they were dispersed two millennia ago. Originally most did not intend to exploit native labor and resources, as colonizers do." Adam and Moodley stress, "because people give meaning to their lives and interpret their worlds through these diverse ideological prisms, the perceptions are real and have to be taken seriously."[58]

Adam and Moodley argue that notwithstanding universal suffrage within Israel proper, if the occupied Palestinian territories and settler presence are considered part of the entity under analysis, the comparison between a disenfranchised African population in apartheid South Africa and the Palestinians under Israeli occupation gains more validity.[59]

Adam and Moodley also argue that "apartheid ideologues" who justified their rule by claiming self-defense against "African National Congress (ANC)-led communism" found that excuse outdated after the collapse of the Soviet Union, whereas "continued Arab hostilities sustain the Israeli perception of justifiable self-defense."[60]

Adam and Moodley contend that the relationship of South African apartheid to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict has been misinterpreted as justifying suicide bombing and glorifying martyrdom. They argue that the ANC "never endorsed terrorism", and stress "not one suicide has been committed in the cause of a thirty-year-long armed struggle, although in practice the ANC drifted increasingly toward violence during the latter years of apartheid."[61]

In 2009, a comprehensive 18-month independent academic study was completed for the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa for the South African Department of Foreign Affairs on the legal status of Israel's occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip.[62] The specific questions examined in the study were whether Israeli policies are consistent with colonialism and apartheid, as these practices and regimes are spelled out in relevant international legal instruments. The second question, regarding apartheid, was the major focus of the study. Authors and analysts contributing to the study included jurists, academics and international lawyers from Israel, the occupied Palestinian territories, South Africa, England, Ireland and the United States. The team considered whether human rights law can be applied to cases of belligerent occupation, the legal context in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories and related international law and comparative practices. The question of apartheid was examined through a dual approach: reference to international law and comparison to policies and practices by the apartheid regime in South Africa. Initially released as a report, the report was later edited and published in 2012 (by Pluto Press) as Beyond Occupation: Apartheid, Colonialism and International Law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Regarding international law, the team reported that Israel's practices in the OPT correlate almost entirely with the definition of apartheid as established in Article 2 of the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid. (The exception was the Convention's reference to genocidal policies, which were not found to be part of Israeli practices, although the team noted that genocide was not the policy in apartheid South Africa either.) Comparison to South African laws and practices by the apartheid regime also found strong correlations with Israeli practices, including violations of international standards for due process (such as illegal detention); discriminatory privileges based on ascribed ethnicity (legally, as Jewish or non-Jewish); draconian enforced ethnic segregation in all parts of life, including by confining groups to ethnic "reserves and ghettoes"; comprehensive restrictions on individual freedoms, such as movement and expression; a dual legal system based on ethno-national identity (Jewish or Palestinian); denationalization (denial of citizenship); and a special system of laws designed selectively to punish any Palestinian resistance to the system.

Thematically, the team concluded that Israel's practices could be grouped into three "pillars" of apartheid comparable to practices in South Africa:

The first pillar "derives from Israeli laws and policies that establish Jewish identity for purposes of law and afford a preferential legal status and material benefits to Jews over non-Jews".
The second pillar is reflected in "Israel's 'grand' policy to fragment the OPT [and] ensure that Palestinians remain confined to the reserves designated for them while Israeli Jews are prohibited from entering those reserves but enjoy freedom of movement throughout the rest of the Palestinian territory. This policy is evidenced by Israel's extensive appropriation of Palestinian land, which continues to shrink the territorial space available to Palestinians; the hermetic closure and isolation of the Gaza Strip from the rest of the OPT; the deliberate severing of East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank; and the appropriation and construction policies serving to carve up the West Bank into an intricate and well-serviced network of connected settlements for Jewish-Israelis and an archipelago of besieged and non-contiguous enclaves for Palestinians".
The third pillar is "Israel's invocation of 'security' to validate sweeping restrictions on Palestinian freedom of opinion, expression, assembly, association and movement [to] mask a true underlying intent to suppress dissent to its system of domination and thereby maintain control over Palestinians as a group."

Crime of apartheid and Israel

In 1973 the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (ICSPCA) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.[63] The ICSPCA defines the crime of apartheid as "inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group ... over another racial group ... and systematically oppressing them".[64] In 2002 the crime of apartheid was further defined by Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as encompassing inhumane acts such as torture, murder, forcible transfer, imprisonment, or persecution of an identifiable group on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, or other grounds, "committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime".[65]

In a 2007 report, United Nations Special Rapporteur for Palestine John Dugard stated, "elements of the Israeli occupation constitute forms of colonialism and of apartheid, which are contrary to international law" and suggested that the "legal consequences of a prolonged occupation with features of colonialism and apartheid" be put to the International Court of Justice.[66]

In 2009 South Africa's statutory research agency the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) published a legal study finding that, "the State of Israel exercises control in the [Occupied Palestinian Territories] with the purpose of maintaining a system of domination by Jews over Palestinians and that this system constitutes a breach of the prohibition of apartheid." (See under above section,'Analysis by International Legal Team'.)

In 2010 United Nations Special Rapporteur for Palestine Richard A. Falk reported that criminal apartheid features of the Israeli occupation had been entrenched in the three years since the report of his predecessor, John Dugard.[67] In March 2011, Falk said, "The continued pattern of settlement expansion in East Jerusalem combined with the forcible eviction of long-residing Palestinians is creating an intolerable situation ... [and] can only be described in its cumulative impact as a form of ethnic cleansing."[68]

The question of whether Israelis and Palestinians can be said to constitute "racial groups" has been a point of contention in regard to the applicability of the ICSPCA and Article 7 of the Rome Statute. Political writer Ronald Bruce St John has argued that in regards to the ICSPCA Israeli policy in the West Bank cannot technically be defined as apartheid, because it lacks the racial component. However he then states that with the 2002 introduction of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court "the emphasis shifts to an identifiable national, ethnic or cultural group, as opposed to a racial group," in which case "Israeli policy in the West Bank clearly constitutes a form of apartheid with an effect on the Palestinian people much the same as apartheid had on the non-White population in South Africa."[63] The HSRC's 2009 report states that in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Jewish and Palestinian identities are "socially constructed as groups distinguished by ancestry or descent as well as nationality, ethnicity, and religion". On this basis, the study concludes that Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs can be considered "racial groups" for the purposes of the definition of apartheid in international law.[62]

Activists for Palestinian rights have accused Israel of committing the crime of apartheid.[69] For example, in 2006, at the UN-sponsored International Conference of Civil Society in Support of the Palestinian People, Phyllis Bennis, co-chair of the International Coordinating Network on Palestine, alleged that the crime of apartheid is being committed by Israel.[70] Likewise, Zahir Kolliah of the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid has argued that the indigenous Palestinian population lives under an apartheid regime settler colony as described by the ICSPCA.[71]

In contrast, according to former Judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa Richard Goldstone, the situation in Israel does not conform to the definition of apartheid under the 1998 Rome Statute. As examples, Goldstone pointed to the facts that Israeli Arabs vote, have political representation in the Knesset and occupy positions of acclaim, including on the Israeli Supreme Court, and that Arab patients lie alongside Jewish patients in Israeli hospitals, receiving identical treatment. According to Goldstone, in Israel equal rights are the law, the aspiration and the ideal, and inequities are often successfully challenged in court.[72]

Israeli citizenship law

The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law was passed by the Knesset in 2003 as an interim emergency measure after Israel had suffered its worst ever spate of suicide bombings[73] and after several Palestinians who had been granted permanent residency on the grounds of family reunification took part in terrorist attacks in Israel.[74] The law makes inhabitants of Iran, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, and areas governed by the Palestinian Authority ineligible for the automatic granting of Israeli citizenship and residency permits that is usually available through marriage to an Israeli citizen. This applies equally to a spouse of any Israeli citizen, whether Arab or Jewish, but in practice the law mostly affects Palestinian Israelis living in the towns bordering the West Bank.[73] The law was intended to be temporary but has since been extended annually.[75][76]

According to Amnon Rubinstein, a backer of the citizenship law, there are many international precedents for banning citizens of an enemy country in wartime, and with Hamas, which runs the Palestinian Authority, refusing to recognise Israel, that label applies to the Palestinian Authority.[73]

In formulating the law, the government cited security concerns that terrorist organizations try to enlist Palestinians who have already received or will receive Israeli documentation and that the security services have a hard time distinguishing between Palestinians who might help the terrorists and those who will not.[77] A representative for the State, said in court, "In the past two years, 27 people who had applied for permission to join their spouses in Israel were directly involved in attempted or actual attacks."[76]

In the Israeli Supreme Court decision on this matter, Deputy Chief Justice Mishael Cheshin argued that, "Israeli citizens [do not] enjoy a constitutional right to bring a foreign national into Israel ... and it is the right—moreover, it is the duty—of the state, of any state, to protect its residents from those wishing to harm them. And it derives from this that the state is entitled to prevent the immigration of enemy nationals into it—even if they are spouses of Israeli citizens—while it is waging an armed conflict with that same enemy."[78]

The law was upheld in May 2006, by the Supreme Court of Israel on a six to five vote. Israel's Chief Justice, Aharon Barak, sided with the minority on the bench, declaring: "This violation of rights is directed against Arab citizens of Israel. As a result, therefore, the law is a violation of the right of Arab citizens in Israel to equality."[79] Zehava Gal-On, one of the founders of B'Tselem and a Knesset member with the Meretz-Yachad party, stated that with the ruling "The Supreme Court could have taken a braver decision and not relegated us to the level of an apartheid state."[80] The law was also criticized by Amnesty International[81] and Human Rights Watch.[82] In 2007, the restriction was expanded to citizens of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.[76]

Heribert Adam and Kogila Moodley cite the marriage law as an example of how Arab Israelis "resemble in many ways 'Colored' and Indian South Africans".[7] They write: "Both Israeli Palestinians and Colored and Indian South Africans are restricted to second-class citizen status when another ethnic group monopolizes state power, treats the minorities as intrinsically suspect, and legally prohibits their access to land or allocates civil service positions or per capita expenditure on education differentially between dominant and minority citizens."

In June 2008 after the law was extended for another year, Amos Schocken, the publisher of the Israeli daily Haaretz, wrote in an opinion article, that the law severely discriminates when comparing the rights of young Israeli Jewish citizens and young Israeli Arab citizens who marry, and that its existence in the law books turns Israel into an apartheid state.[83]

Political rights, voting and representation, judiciary

In Israel

Israel's Declaration of Independence called for the establishment of a Jewish state with equality of social and political rights, irrespective of religion, race, or sex.[84] The rights of citizens are guaranteed by a set of basic laws (Israel does not have a written constitution).[85] Although this set of laws does not explicitly include the term "right to equality", the Israeli Supreme Court has consistently interpreted "Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty"[86] and "Basic Law: Freedom of Occupation (1994)"[87] as guaranteeing equal rights for all Israeli citizens.[88] According to the 2010 U.S. State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for Israel and the Occupied Territories, Israeli law prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, and the government effectively enforced these prohibitions.[89]

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs states, "Arab Israelis are citizens of Israel with equal rights" and "only legal distinction between Arab and Jewish citizens is not one of rights, but rather of civic duty". However a number of official sources acknowledge that Arab citizens of Israel experience systematic discrimination in many aspects of life. Israeli High Court Justice (Ret.) Theodor Or chaired the Or Commission, which noted that discrimination against the country's Arab citizens had been documented in a large number of professional surveys and studies, had been confirmed in court judgments and government resolutions, and had also found expression in reports by the state comptroller and in other official documents. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert criticised in 2008 what he called "deliberate and insufferable" discrimination against Arabs at the hands of the Israeli establishment.[90]

According to the 2004 U.S. State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for Israel and the Occupied Territories, Israel maintained the full range of normal equal rights found in Western liberal democracies, and in specific issues "generally respected the human rights of its citizens; however, there were problems in some areas," and the government had done "little to reduce institutional, legal, and societal discrimination against the country's Arab citizens".[91] Reports of subsequent years also identified discrimination against Arab citizens as a problem area for Israel, but did not repeat the assertion that Israel had done little to reduce discrimination.[92] Before 2004, too, there had been some significant improvements in Israeli Arab rights. For example, there has been a steady extension of Israeli Arab rights to lease or purchase land formerly restricted to Jewish applicants, such as that owned by the Jewish National Fund or the Jewish Agency. These groups, established by Jews during the Ottoman period to aid in building up a viable Jewish community in Ottoman Palestine, purchased land, including arid desert and swamps, that could be reclaimed, leased to and farmed by Jews, thus encouraging Jewish immigration. After the establishment of the state of Israel, the Israel Lands Authority oversaw the administration of these properties. On 8 March 2000, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that Israeli Arabs, too, had an equal right to purchase long-term leases of such land, even inside previously solely Jewish communities and villages. The court ruled that the government may not allocate land based on religion or ethnicity and may not prevent Arab citizens from living wherever they choose: "The principle of equality prohibits the state from distinguishing between its citizens on the basis of religion or nationality," Chief Justice Aharon Barak wrote. "The principle also applies to the allocation of state land.... The Jewish character of the state does not permit Israel to discriminate between its citizens."[93] Commenting on this ruling, the British philosopher Bernard Harrison has written, in a book chapter dealing with the "apartheid Israel" accusation: "No doubt much more needs to be done. But we are discussing, remember, the question of whether Israel is, or is not, an 'apartheid state'. It is not merely hard, but impossible, to imagine the South African Supreme Court, under the premiership of Hendrik Verwoerd, say, delivering an analogous decision, because to have done so would have struck at the root of the entire system of apartheid, which was nothing if not a system for separating the races by separating the areas they were permitted to occupy."[94]

Some observers have accused Israeli officials of partiality, for example being more lenient on Jews who kill Arabs in Israel, as compared to Israeli Arabs who kill Jews in Israel.[95]

In Gaza and the West Bank

Arabs living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, areas occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War and deemed to be occupied territory under international law, are under the civil control of the Palestinian Authority, and are not Israeli citizens. In some areas of the West Bank, they are under Israeli security control.

In 2007, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination reported that Palestinians and Israeli settlers in the occupied territories are subject to different criminal laws, leading to longer detention and harsher punishments for Palestinians than for Israelis for the same offenses.[96] Amnesty International has reported that in the West Bank, Israeli settlers and soldiers who engage in abuses against Palestinians, including unlawful killings, enjoy "impunity" from punishment and are rarely prosecuted. However Palestinians detained by Israeli security forces may be imprisoned for prolonged periods of time, and reports of their torture and other ill-treatment are not credibly investigated.[97][98][99]

John Dugard has compared Israeli imprisonment of Palestinians to policies of Apartheid-era South Africa, saying "Apartheid's security police practiced torture on a large scale. So do the Israeli security forces. There were many political prisoners on Robben Island but there are more Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails."[100]

Community settlements legislation

In the early 2000s, several community settlements in the Negev and the Galilee were accused of barring Arab applicants from moving in. In 2010, the Knesset passed legislation that allowed admissions committees to function in smaller communities in the Galilee and the Negev, while explicitly forbidding committees to bar applicants on the basis of race, religion, sex, ethnicity, disability, personal status, age, parenthood, sexual orientation, country of origin, political views, or political affiliation.[101][102] Critics, however, say the law gives the privately run admissions committees a wide latitude over public lands, and believe it will worsen discrimination against the Arab minority.[103]

Population Registry Law

Chris McGreal, The Guardian's former chief Israel correspondent, compared Israel's Population Registry Law of 1965, which requires all residents of Israel to register their nationality, to South Africa's Apartheid-era Population Registration Act, which categorized South Africans according to racial definitions in order to determine who could live in what land. According to McGreal, the Israeli identification cards determine where people are permitted to live, affects access to some government welfare programs, and has impact on how people are likely to be treated by civil servants and policemen.[104]

Land and infrastructure

Yossi Paritzky, a former Israeli minister, has used the apartheid analogy to describe a proposed bill that banned non-Jewish citizens of Israel from purchasing land privately owned by the Jewish National Fund (JNF).[10] The JNF has long insisted that its lands be sold only to Jews, due to the fact that the land was purchased with money from Jewish donors for the purpose of settling Jews in Israel. Noam Chomsky, American professor of linguistics and political activist, has stated, "if you look at the land laws, and decode it all, what it amounts to is that about ninety percent of the land inside Israel is reserved to what's called 'people of Jewish race, religion and origin' ... That's in the contract between the state of Israel and the Jewish National Fund, which is a non-Israeli organization, which, however, by various bureaucratic arrangements, administers the land.... All of this is covered up enough so that nobody can say, "Look, here's an apartheid law."[105]

In 2006, Chris McGreal of The Guardian stated that as a result of the government's control over most of the land in Israel, the vast majority of land in Israel is not available to non-Jews.[104] In 2007 in response to a 2004 petition filed by Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz ruled that the policy was discriminatory, it has been ruled that the JNF must sell land to non-Jews, and will be compensated with other land for any such land to ensure that the overall amount of Jewish-owned land in Israel remains unchanged.[106]

Representative of a Palestinian view is that of Leila Farsakh, associate professor of Political Science at University of Massachusetts Boston, according to whom, after 1977, "the military government in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (WBGS) expropriated and enclosed Palestinian land and allowed the transfer of Israeli settlers to the occupied territories: they continued to be governed by Israeli laws. The government also enacted different military laws and decrees to regulate the civilian, economic and legal affairs of Palestinian inhabitants. These strangled the Palestinian economy and increased its dependence and integration into Israel." Farsakh says, "[m]any view these Israeli policies of territorial integration and societal separation as apartheid, even if they were never given such a name."[107]

Henry Siegman, a former national director of the American Jewish Congress, has stated that the network of settlements in the West Bank has created an "irreversible colonial project" aimed to foreclose the possibility of a viable Palestinian state. According to Siegman, in accomplishing this Israel has "crossed the threshold from 'the only democracy in the Middle East' to the only apartheid regime in the Western world". Siegman argues that denial of both self-determination and Israeli citizenship to Palestinians amounts to a "double disenfranchisement", which when based on ethnicity amounts to racism. Siegman continues to state that reserving democracy for privileged citizens and keeping others "behind checkpoints and barbed wire fences" is the opposite of democracy.[108]

John Dugard has compared Israel's confiscation of Palestinian farms and land, and destruction of Palestinian homes, to similar policies of Apartheid-era South Africa.[100]

Travel and movement

Palestinians living in the non-annexed portions of the West Bank do not have Israeli citizenship or voting rights in Israel, but are subject to movement restrictions of the Israeli government. Israel has created roads and checkpoints in the West Bank with the stated purpose of preventing the uninhibited movement of suicide bombers and militants in the region. The human rights NGO B'Tselem has indicated that such policies have isolated some Palestinian communities and state that Israel's road regime "based on the principle of separation through discrimination, bears striking similarities to the racist apartheid regime that existed in South Africa until 1994".[109][110][111] The International Court of Justice stated that the fundamental rights of the Palestinian population of the occupied territories are guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and that Israel could not deny them on the grounds of security.[112] Marwan Bishara, a teacher of international relations at the American University of Paris, has claimed that the restrictions on the movement of goods between Israel and the West Bank are "a de facto apartheid system".[113] Michael Oren argues that none of this even remotely resembles apartheid, since "the vast majority of settlers and Palestinians choose to live apart because of cultural and historical differences, not segregation, though thousands of them do work side by side. The separate roads were created in response to terrorist attacks – not to segregate Palestinians but to save Jewish lives. And Israeli roads are used by Israeli Jews and Arabs alike."[114]

David Saks claims that the comparison of Israel's policies in the West Bank (Gaza having been evacuated in 2005) is fundamentally false, since Israel and the Palestinian territories are in a state of war, with Israeli population centers continuously bombarded from Gaza. Saks says that the Israelis have responded to this situation with checkpoints, curfews, security fences, segregated road systems, military incursions, and other similar measures, which impact negatively on the everyday life of ordinary Palestinians, and indeed, he says, it is legitimate to demand of Israelis that they not go further than is necessary in ensuring their safety. However, he asserts it is false to accuse the Israelis of apartheid-like strategies when they are facing military threats that have no parallel in pre-1994 South Africa.[115]

Huwwara Checkpoint, one of many Israeli checkpoints and closures (dismantled 2011[116]) that restricted the movement of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and have been compared to the apartheid pass laws.[117][118]

A permit and closure system was introduced in 1990. Leila Farsakh maintains that this system imposes "on Palestinians similar conditions to those faced by blacks under the pass laws. Like the pass laws, the permit system controlled population movement according to the settlers' unilaterally defined considerations." In response to the al-Aqsa intifada, Israel modified the permit system and fragmented the WBGS [West Bank and Gaza Strip] territorially. "In April 2002 Israel declared that the WBGS would be cut into eight main areas, outside which Palestinians could not live without a permit."[107] John Dugard has said these laws "resemble, but in severity go far beyond, apartheid's pass system".[118]

B'Tselem wrote in 2004, "Palestinians are barred from or have restricted access to 450 miles of West Bank roads, a system with 'clear similarities' to South Africa's former apartheid regime."[119]

In October 2005 the Israel Defense Forces stopped Palestinians from driving on Highway 60, as part of a plan for a separate Road Network for Palestinians and Israelis in the West Bank. The road had been sealed after the fatal shooting of three settlers near Bethlehem. As of 2005, no private Palestinian cars were permitted on the road although public transport was still allowed. B'Tselem described this as a first step towards "total 'road apartheid'".[120] In 2011, Major General Nitzan Alon abolished separate transportation systems on the West Bank, permitting Palestinians to ride alongside Israelis. The measure has been protested by settlers, who argue the presence of Palestinians could be a security concern; some women cited sexual harassment as an issue ("What parent would allow his daughter to travel on a bus full of Arabs?" an interviewee mused).[121] It was later revealed that only one complaint of sexual harassment was ever filed with police and that some of the "evidence" was produced by moles from the right-wing NGO Ad Khan.[122] For example, a male and a female mole would sit on the bus and the male mole would goad Palestinians into making comments about women; then the footage would be cut to make it seem that the female mole was being harassed.[122]

The IDF order was reportedly overturned by Moshe Ya'alon who, in response to pressure from settler groups, issued a directive, operative from December 2014, that would deny Palestinians passage on buses running from Israel to the West Bank. Instead they would be restricted to a route far from settlements through the Eyal checkpoint near Qalqilya. The measure affects Palestinians who travel towards Ariel on the Trans-Samaria highway.[123][124] The decision was said to be made on security grounds, though according to Haaretz military officials state that Palestinian use of such transport poses no security threat. Justice Minister Tzipi Livini asked the Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to examine the ban's legality and Weinstein immediately demanded that Ya'alon provide an explanation for his decision.[125] Israeli security sources were quoted saying the decision had nothing to do with public buses and said that the goal was to supervise the entrance into and exit out of Israeli territory, thereby decreasing the chance of terrorist attacks inside Israel. Critics on the left described the policy, which would make using Israeli buses very cumbersome to Palestinians, as tantamount to apartheid, and something that would render Israel a pariah state.[126]

Criticism of Israeli policies on similar grounds has arisen from, among others, Haggai Alon, a senior defence advisor. In an interview with Haaretz, Haggai Alon, an adviser to the then Israeli defence minister Amir Peretz, claimed that the army was "carrying out an apartheid policy" and was "emptying Hebron of Arabs, setting up roadblocks without anyone knowing where and how many, Judaizing the Jordan Valley and cooperating openly and blatantly with the settlers".[127] On 29 December 2009 Israel's High Court of Justice accepted the Association for Civil Rights in Israel's petition against an IDF order barring Palestinians from driving on Highway 443. The ruling should come into effect five months after being issued, allowing Palestinians to use the road.[128] According to plans laid out by the Israeli Defence Forces to implement the court's ruling, Palestinian use of the road is seen to remain limited.[129] In March 2013, the Israeli Afikim bus company announced that, as from 4 March 2013, it would be operating separate bus lines for Jews and Arabs in the occupied territories.[130][131][132]

Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian legislator and former presidential candidate, said that apartheid was the only word to describe Israel's creation of separate roads for Palestinians, its discrimination in allocation of water, ongoing settlement construction, and differences in per capita income between Israelis (both Jewish and non-Jewish) and Palestinians. He also asserted that the US-sponsored peace process gave Israel time to "continue settlements building, to continue having the checkpoints and restrictions, to continue creating this apartheid system".[133] The World Bank found in 2009 that Israeli settlements in the West Bank (which amount to 15% of the population of the West Bank) are given access to over 80% of its fresh water resources, despite the fact that the Oslo accords call for "joint" management of such resources. This has created, according to the Bank, "real water shortages" for the Palestinians.[134] In January 2012, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the French parliament published a report describing Israel's water policies in the West Bank as "a weapon serving the new apartheid". The report noted that the 450,000 Israeli settlers used more water than the 2.3 million Palestinians, "in contravention of international law", that Palestinians are not allowed to use the underground aquifers, and that Israel was deliberately destroying wells, reservoirs and water purification plants. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said the report was "loaded with the language of vicious propaganda, far removed from any professional criticism with which one could argue intelligently".[135] A report by the Begin–Sadat Center for Strategic Studies concludes that Israel has fulfilled the water agreements it has made with the Palestinians, and the author has commented that the situation is "just the opposite of apartheid" as Israel has provided water infrastructure to more than 700 Palestinian villages.[136][137] The Association for Civil Rights in Israel concluded in 2008 that a segregated road network in the West Bank, expansion of Jewish settlements, restriction of the growth of Palestinian towns and discriminatory granting of services, budgets and access to natural resources are "a blatant violation of the principle of equality and in many ways reminiscent of the Apartheid regime in South Africa". The group reversed its previous reluctance to use the comparison to South Africa because "things are getting worse rather than better", according to spokeswoman Melanie Takefman.[138]

West Bank barrier

Main article: West Bank Barrier

In 2003, a year after Operation Defensive Shield, the Israeli government announced a project of "fences and other physical obstacles" to prevent Palestinians crossing into Israel.[139][140] Several figures, including Mohammad Sarwar, John Pilger, Mustafa Barghouti and others have described the resultant West Bank barrier as an "apartheid wall".[141][142][143][144][145][146]

The barrier has been called an "apartheid wall"[147] by Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network. Israeli officials describe the barrier, constructed in 2002, as a security fence, limiting the ability of Palestinian terrorist groups to enter Israel and making it difficult for them to carry out suicide bombings.[148]

Supporters of the West Bank barrier consider it to be largely responsible for reducing incidents of terrorism by 90% from 2002 to 2005.[149][150] Israel's foreign minister, Silvan Shalom, stated in 2004 that the barrier is not a border but a temporary defensive measure designed to protect Israeli civilians from terrorist infiltration and attack, and can be dismantled if appropriate.[151] The Supreme Court of Israel ruled that the barrier is defensive and accepted the government's position that the route is based on security considerations.[152]

The International Court of Justice ruled in 2004 in an advisory opinion that the wall is illegal where it extends beyond the 1967 Green Line into the West Bank. Israel disagreed with the ruling, but its supreme court subsequently ordered the barrier to be moved in sections where its route was seen to cause more hardship to Palestinians than security concerns could motivate.[153]

In January 2004, Ahmed Qureia, then the Palestinian Prime Minister, said that the building of the West Bank barrier, and the associated Israeli absorption of parts of the West Bank, constituted "an apartheid solution to put the Palestinians in cantons".[154] Colin Powell, then U.S. Secretary of State, commented on Queria's statements by affirming U.S. commitment to a two-state solution, while saying, "I don't believe that we can accept a situation that results in anything that one might characterize as apartheid or Bantuism."[155]

Malcolm Hedding, a South African minister who worked against South African apartheid and Executive Director of the Christian Zionist organisation 'International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem', said that the West Bank barrier has nothing to do with apartheid and everything to do with Israel's self-defense. He said that Israel has proven its desire to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians while granting political rights to its own Arab citizens within a liberal democratic system, but that the Palestinians remain committed to Israel's destruction. By contrast, he says, it was a tiny minority in South Africa that held power and once democracy came, the National Party that had dominated the masses disappeared.[156][157][158]


Sign in front of the Galil school, a joint ArabJewish primary school in Israel

Separate and unequal education systems were a central part of apartheid in South Africa, as part of a deliberate strategy designed to limit black children to a life of manual labor. Some disparities between Jews and Arabs in Israel's education system exist, although they are not nearly so significant and the intent not so malign.[104] The Israeli Pupils' Rights Law of 2000 prohibits educators from establishing different rights, obligations and disciplinary standards for students of different religions. Educational institutions may not discriminate against religious minorities in admissions or expulsion decisions, or when developing curricula or assigning students to classes.[159] Unlike apartheid South Africa, In Israel, education is free and compulsory for all citizens, from elementary school to the end of high school, and university access is based on uniform tuition for all citizens.[160]

Israel has Hebrew-language and Arabic-language schools, while some schools are bilingual. Most Arabs study in Arabic, while a small number of Arab parents choose to enroll their children in Hebrew schools. All of Israel's eight universities use Hebrew.[104] In 1992 a government report concluded that nearly twice as much money was allocated to each Jewish child as to each Arab pupil.[104] Likewise, a 2004 Human Rights Watch report identified significant disparities in education spending and stated that discrimination against Arab children affects every aspect of the education system. Exam pass-rate for Arab pupils were about one-third lower than that for their Jewish compatriots.[104] A 2007 report of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination expressed concern over the existence of separate Arab and Jewish sectors may amount to racial segregation, and recommended that mixed Arab–Jewish communities and schools, and intercultural education should be promoted.[161] In a 2008 report Israel responded that parents are entitled to enroll their children in the educational institution of their choice, whether the spoken language is Hebrew, Arabic or bilingual. It also noted that Israel promotes a variety of programs that promote intercultural cooperation, tolerance and understanding.[162] In 2007, Israeli Education Ministry announced a plan to increase funding for schools in Arab communities. According to a ministry official, "At the end of the process, a lot of money will be directed toward schools with students from families with low education and income levels, mainly in the Arab sector."[163] The Education Ministry prepared a five-year plan to close the gaps and raise the number of students eligible for high school matriculation.[164]

Support for Israeli apartheid analogy

Some commentators including President of the UN General Assembly Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann,[165] Naomi Klein[166] and UK MP Gerald Kaufman have suggested sanctions against Israel along the South African model to ultimately improve the situation.[167] Clare Short, minister for international aid in Tony Blair's government said of sanctions against Israel, "the boycott worked for South Africa, it is time to do it again."[168][169]

In relation to the Israeli disengagement from Gaza

In August 2005, Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip, after 38 years of occupation.[170]

Prior to the disengagement, Oren Yiftachel, Chair of the Geography Department at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev, predicted that Israel's unilateral disengagement plan will result in "creeping apartheid" in the West Bank, Gaza, and in Israel itself. Yiftachel argues that the reality of apartheid existed for decades in Israel/Palestine, but this is the first time a Prime Minister "spells out clearly the strengthening of this reality as a long-term political platform" and that the plan would entrench a situation that can be described as "neither two states nor one", separating Israelis from Palestinians without giving Palestinians true sovereignty.[171]

Meron Benvenisti, an Israeli political scientist and the former deputy mayor of Jerusalem, predicted that the interim disengagement plan would become permanent, with the West Bank barrier entrenching both the isolation of Palestinian communities and the existence of Israeli settlements. He warned that Israel is moving towards the model of apartheid South Africa through the creation of "Bantustan" like conditions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.[172] Israeli journalist Akiva Eldar states the Israeli plan for disengagement from Gaza is "amazingly similar" to South Africa's Bantustans, in that it releases Israel from responsibility for the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip – except for the provision of basic services to avoid a humanitarian disaster – while retaining complete control over the area by controlling international passages.[173]

Michael Tarazi, a Palestinian proponent of the binational solution has argued that it is in Palestine's interest to "make this an argument about apartheid," even to the extent of advocating Israeli settlement: "The longer they stay out there, the more Israel will appear to the world to be essentially an apartheid state".[174]

By notable authors

Geoffrey Wheatcroft has noted that, historically, Israeli officials had mulled the possibility of adopting the South African apartheid model as one that the state of Israel itself might emulate. In the late 1970s "(t)hey didn't wish to copy what was once called 'petty apartheid', the everyday harassment of black South Africans, but 'grand apartheid', the Nationalists' attempt to conjure away the problem of minority rule by dividing the country into supposedly autonomous cantons or 'homelands'".[175]

Uri Davis wrote in 1987 that apartheid in Israel is a legal reality, even though it has a different legal structure than in the Republic of South Africa. He asserts that where the Republic of South Africa had an official value system of apartheid and made a key legal distinction between "white", "coloured", "Indian" and "black", Israel has an official value system of Zionism and makes a key legal distinction between "Jew" and "non-Jew". He suggests that this distinction is made in a two-tier structure that had concealed Israeli apartheid legislation for "almost four decades" at the time when he wrote.[176]

David Hirst has documented numerous occurrences of what he refers to as apartheid in his book The Gun and the Olive Branch: The Roots of Violence in the Middle East. In his updated historical account, he traces the violent acts of terrorism and prejudices committed by all sides involved from the year 1880 until 2003.

By United Nations officials

Former Special Rapporteur John Dugard described the situation in the West Bank as "an apartheid regime ... worse than the one that existed in South Africa."[177] In 2007, in advance of a report from the United Nations Human Rights Council, Dugard wrote, "Israel's laws and practices in the OPT [occupied Palestinian territories] certainly resemble aspects of apartheid." Referring to Israel's actions in the occupied West Bank, he wrote, "Can it seriously be denied that the purpose [...] is to establish and maintain domination by one racial group (Jews) over another racial group (Palestinians) and systematically oppressing them? Israel denies that this is its intention or purpose. But such an intention or purpose may be inferred from the actions described in this report."[178][179]

In October 2010 Richard A. Falk reported to the General Assembly Third Committee "It is the opinion of the current Special Rapporteur that the nature of the occupation as of 2010 substantiates earlier allegations of colonialism and apartheid in evidence and law to a greater extent than was the case even three years ago. The entrenching of colonialist and apartheid features of the Israeli occupation has been a cumulative process. The longer it continues, the more difficult it is to overcome and the more serious is the abridgement of fundamental Palestinian rights."[67]

According to a 2008 report in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, then-President of the United Nations General Assembly Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann "likened Israel's policies toward the Palestinians to South Africa's treatment of blacks under apartheid.... Brockmann stressed that it was important for the United Nations to use the heavily-charged term since it was the institution itself that had passed the International Convention against the crime of apartheid."[180][181][182]

By neighboring countries

The Foreign Minister of Jordan, Nasser Judeh, has said Israel's failure to withdraw from the 1967 territories would expose it as an "apartheid" country.[183] The foreign minister of Egypt, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said in 2010, "You have a bi-national state or you have occupation or apartheid. The ... option which we are all preferring is to have two states instead of one state based on apartheid."[184] In a letter to the United Nations Security Council the Syrian government stated that "Zionist Israeli institutional terrorism" was identical to that of the apartheid regimes in South Africa and Namibia.[185]

Turkish president Abdullah Gül has also warned that Israel's failure to withdraw from the 1967 territories would make it perceived as "an apartheid island surrounded by an Arab sea of anger and hostility".[186]

By Palestinians

In his 2011 address to the United Nations General Assembly, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said, "Our people will continue their popular peaceful resistance to the Israeli occupation and its settlement and apartheid policies and its construction of the racist annexation Wall, and they receive support for their resistance, which is consistent with international humanitarian law and international conventions (...) Our efforts are not aimed at isolating Israel or de-legitimizing it; rather we want to gain legitimacy for the cause of the people of Palestine. We only aim to de-legitimize the settlement activities and the occupation and apartheid and the logic of ruthless force, and we believe that all the countries of the world stand with us in this regard".[187]

By notable academic, political and media figures

Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States, Camp David Accords negotiator, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, authored the 2006 book titled Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, maintaining in that book that Israel's options included a "system of apartheid, with two peoples occupying the same land but completely separated from each other, with Israelis totally dominant and suppressing violence by depriving Palestinians of their basic human rights. This is the policy now being followed, although many citizens of Israel deride the racist connotations of prescribing permanent second-class status for the Palestinians."[188] Carter's use of the term "apartheid" was calibrated to avoid specific accusations of racism against the government of Israel, and carefully limited to the situation in Gaza and the West Bank. For instance, in a news release, Carter described discussing his book and his use of the word "apartheid" with the Board of Rabbis of Greater Phoenix, and noted, "I made clear in the book's text and in my response to the rabbis that the system of apartheid in Palestine is not based on racism but the desire of a minority of Israelis for Palestinian land and the resulting suppression of protests that involve violence."[189][190]

It's not Israel. The book has nothing to do with what's going on inside Israel which is a wonderful democracy, you know, where everyone has guaranteed equal rights and where, under the law, Arabs and Jews who are Israelis have the same privileges about Israel. That's been most of the controversy because people assume it's about Israel. It's not.[191]
 Comments by Jimmy Carter to LifeandTimes
I've never alleged that the framework of apartheid existed within Israel at all, and that what does exist in the West Bank is based on trying to take Palestinian land and not on racism. So it was a very clear distinction.[192]
 Comments by Jimmy Carter to CNN

University of Chicago political science professor John Mearsheimer stated in June 2008 that, "Five, 10 or 15 years ago, it was unthinkable to mention 'apartheid' in relation to Israel. Now [Jimmy] Carter has used it in the title of his book, Palestine Peace Not Apartheid". Mearsheimer added, "Israel is, in effect, creating an apartheid state."[193]

Israel academic and Ta'ayush activist David Dean Shulman writing in the aftermath of the creation of separate bus lines in the West Bank to separate Palestinians and settlers, remarks that:'Israelis often protest when the word "apartheid" is used to describe life in the West Bank, with its settlers-only roads and its settlers' electricity grid and its settlers' water-supply and its blatantly discriminatory courts; more and more the word seems sadly close to the mark.'[194]

Yakov Malik, the Soviet Ambassador to the United Nations accused Israel—an ally of the US in the Cold War against the Soviets—of promulgating a "racist policy of apartheid against Palestinians" following the imposition of Israeli rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip after the Six-Day War in 1967.[195] Israel accused the Soviet Union of publishing anti-Zionist tracts.[196]

Raja G. Khouri, a member of the Ontario Human Rights Commission and former president of the Canadian Arab Federation, supports the apartheid analogy, and holds that the Israeli policies in question are not motivated by racism.[197]

American academic Norman Finkelstein defends Carter's analysis in Palestine Peace Not Apartheid as both historically accurate and non-controversial outside the United States: "After four decades of Israeli occupation, the infrastructure and superstructure of apartheid have been put in place. Outside the never-never land of mainstream American Jewry and U.S. media[,] this reality is barely disputed."[198]

Adrian Guelke, Professor of Comparative Politics at Queen's University Belfast and Director of the Centre for the Study of Ethnic Conflict wrote, "Comparison of Israel's policies with the South African policy of apartheid has become a very common theme of Palestinian discourse at both an analytical and polemical level and, it should be noted, use of the analogy is by no means confined to Palestinians." Since the breakdown of the peace process in 2000, he observed, "the use of this analogy has mushroomed."[199]

An early example of the use of the word is a full-page advertisement placed in The New York Times in March 1988 by hundreds of intellectuals, academics, and activists declaring Israel to be "an apartheid state, founded on pillage and predicated on exclusivity".[200]

On 17 October 2010, Lebanese Prime Minister Sa'ad Hariri, compared the Israeli loyalty oath bill to practices in apartheid-era South Africa.[201]

In 2010 Dr Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales, compared circumstances in the Gaza strip to Israel and concluded that the situation resembled South African apartheid since infrastructure and educational opportunities in Gaza were substantially inferior to those in Israel.[202]

The Ontario wing of Canadian Union of Public Employees unanimously passed a decision to "support the international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel" citing "the apartheid nature of the Israeli state" as the reason for the decision.[203] The Congress of South African Trade Unions joined this boycott, calling Israel an apartheid state and saying that boycotts by workers against apartheid-era South Africa had "hastened our march to democracy".[204]

In November 2010 a group of 100 Norwegian artists and cultural figures published a petition accusing Israel of apartheid, and calling for an artistic and cultural boycott of Israel.[205]

Irish peace activist and Nobel peace laureate Máiread Maguire has criticized Israel for "racist and apartheid policies of siege, occupation and militarization of both Israel and Palestinian villages and towns". She has called on the US to stop supporting Israel with military aid and to urge Israel to change its policies regarding the Palestinians.[206]

African-American author Alice Walker forbade in 2012 an Israeli edition of her prize-winning novel The Color Purple, citing Israel's "apartheid and persecution of the Palestinian people". In refusing to authorize the book, Walker made reference to the Russell Tribunal on Palestine and said that Israel's treatment of Palestinians was "far worse" than the racial segregation she grew up under in the United States.[207]

In August 2013, introducing a BBC Proms concert in which he played Vivaldi's Four Seasons with the Palestine Strings players, violinist Nigel Kennedy remarked, "giving equality and getting rid of apartheid gives a beautiful chance for things to happen." The BBC edited the comment out of the subsequent television broadcast of the concert.[208]

By South Africans

By the government of South Africa

Jacobus Johannes Fouché, South African Minister of Defence during the apartheid era, compared the two states and said that Israel also practiced apartheid.[3]

Former deputy mayor of Jerusalem Meron Benvenisti relates in his 1986 book Conflicts and Contradictions that during the 1970s, an official of the South African apartheid government compared Israeli–Palestinian relations to South African policy for the Transkei in a meeting. The Israeli officials present expressed shock at the comparison, and the South African official said "I understand your reaction. But aren't we actually doing the same thing? We are faced with the same existential problem, therefore we arrive at the same solution. The only difference is that yours is pragmatic and ours is ideological."[209]

On 24 November 2009, the South African government responded to Israeli plans to expand the settlement of Gilo in East Jerusalem by condemning it harshly, stating, "We condemn the fact that Israeli settlement expansion in East Jerusalem is coupled with Israel's campaign to evict and displace the original Palestinian residents from the City." The South African government drew a parallel between Israel's actions in Jerusalem and forced removals of persons effected as part of the South African apartheid regime.[210][211]

On 21 April 2010, the South African government expressed "the greatest concern" over Israeli Infiltration Order 1650, saying that the order has a broad definition of "infiltrator" and unclear terms as to which permits would allow a person to reside in the West Bank, as well as how valid residency might be proven. The South African government said the terms of the order are "reminiscent of pass laws under apartheid South Africa".[212]

By South African individuals or organizations

In 2002 Anglican Archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu wrote a series of articles in major newspapers,[213] comparing the Israeli occupation of the West Bank to apartheid South Africa, and calling for the international community to divest support from Israel until the territories were no longer occupied.[213] In an April 2010 open letter to the University of Berkeley, Tutu wrote "I have been to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and I have witnessed the racially segregated roads and housing that reminded me so much of the conditions we experienced in South Africa under the racist system of Apartheid. I have witnessed the humiliation of Palestinian men, women, and children made to wait hours at Israeli military checkpoints routinely when trying to make the most basic of trips to visit relatives or attend school or college, and this humiliation is familiar to me and the many black South Africans who were corralled and regularly insulted by the security forces of the Apartheid government."[214] In 2011, Tutu wrote an article for the Tampa Bay Times, arguing that Israeli apartheid is now so bad that only an international boycott can force Israel to change its policies.[215] In 2014, Tutu complained about the "systemic humiliation" of the Palestinian people by the "Israeli security forces".[216]

Following Tutu's original comparison, the Chief Rabbi of South Africa, Warren Goldstein, in an open letter to Tutu, deplored the "outrageous falsehood" of the apartheid accusation, and listed the key laws and practices that were characteristic of South African apartheid, none of which are found in Israel: "In the State of Israel all citizens—Jew and Arab—are equal before the law. Israel has no Population Registration Act, no Group Areas Act, no Mixed Marriages and Immorality Act, no Separate Representation of Voters Act, no Separate Amenities Act, no pass laws or any of the myriad apartheid laws. Israel is a vibrant liberal democracy with a free press and independent judiciary, and accords full political, religious and other human rights to all its people, including its more than 1 million Arab citizens, many of whom hold positions of authority including that of cabinet minister, member of parliament and judge at every level – including that of the Supreme Court. All citizens vote on the same roll in regular, multiparty elections; there are Arab parties and Arab members of other parties in Israel's parliament. Arabs and Jews share all public facilities, including hospitals and malls, buses, cinemas and parks. And, archbishop, that includes universities and opera houses."[217]

Sudanese human rights activist Simon Deng, writing for the Gatestone Institute, has also criticized Tutu for referring to Israel as an apartheid state, stating that Arabs in Israel enjoy a variety of rights that blacks in apartheid-era South Africa did not, including the right to vote, and that Palestinians are only stopped at checkpoints to prevent attacks. Deng asks why Tutu criticizes Israel for apartheid policies it does not have, but ignores what Deng believes to be actual apartheid practices in other countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, and especially his own country Sudan.[218]

In December 2006, Maurice Ostroff of The Jerusalem Post criticized Tutu for being well-intentioned, but ultimately misguided: "If he took the opportunity during his forthcoming visit to impartially examine all the facts, he would discover—to his pleasant surprise—that accusations of Israeli apartheid are mean-spirited and wrong-headed.... He would find that whereas the apartheid of the old South Africa was entrenched in law, Israel's Declaration of Independence absolutely ensures complete equality of social and political rights to all inhabitants, irrespective of religion, race, or gender.[219]

Other prominent South African anti-apartheid activists have used apartheid comparisons to criticize the occupation of the West Bank, and particularly the construction of the separation barrier. These include Farid Esack, a writer who is currently William Henry Bloomberg Visiting Professor at Harvard Divinity School,[220] Ronnie Kasrils,[221] Winnie Madikizela-Mandela,[222] Dennis Goldberg,[223] and Arun Ghandhi,[224]

As someone who lived in apartheid South Africa and who has visited Palestine I say with confidence that Israel is an apartheid state. In fact, I believe that some of the atrocities committed against the South Africans by the erstwhile apartheid regime in South Africa pale in comparison to those committed against the Palestinians."
  Willie Madisha, President of COSATU, letter to the President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Ontario[225]

On 15 May 2008, 34 leading South African activists published an open letter in The Citizen, under the heading "We fought apartheid; we see no reason to celebrate it in Israel now!". The signatories, who included Kasrils and several other government ministers, COSATU general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, Ahmed Kathrada, Sam Ramsamy and Blade Nzimande, wrote "Apartheid is a crime against humanity. It was when it was done against South Africans; it is so when it is done against Palestinians!"[226]

On 6 June 2008, Mr. Kgalema Motlanthe, the Deputy President of South Africa and of the African National Congress, who had recently visited the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, told a delegation of Arab Knesset members visiting South Africa to study its democratic constitution that conditions for Palestinians under occupation were "worse than conditions were for Blacks under the Apartheid regime".[227]

In 2008 a delegation of ANC veterans visited Israel and the Occupied Territories, and said that in some respects it was worse than apartheid.[228][229] One member said "The daily indignity to which the Palestinian population is subjected far outstrips the apartheid regime." Another member, human rights lawyer Fatima Hassan, cited the separate roads, different registration of cars, the indignity of having to produce a permit, and long queues at checkpoints as worse than what they had experienced during apartheid. But she also thought the apartheid comparison was a potential "red herring".[230] Andrew Feinstein, a former ANC parliament member, was shocked to see footage of teenagers heaping abuse on and throwing stones at Palestinian children, especially done in the name of Judaism. The delegation's final formal statement made no mention of comparisons with apartheid and Dennis Davis, a high court judge, said he thought the use of the term in the Middle East context was "very unhelpful".[228] Davis also noted, "There's no racial superiority here. There's no pervading ideology that confirms the inferiority of Palestinians." and concluded "But I think it's incredibly unhelpful to say you can simply take this to be apartheid and therefore the South African struggle is the same and the South African solution is the same. That's a very lazy form of reasoning."[231] One of the Jewish members of the delegation said that the comparison with apartheid is very relevant and that the Israelis are even more efficient in implementing the separation-of-races regime than the South Africans were, and that if he were to say this publicly, he would be attacked by the members of the Jewish community.[229]

In May 2009, The Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa released a legal study, subsequently published in 2012, finding that Israel is practicing both colonialism and apartheid in the occupied Palestinian territories, according to the definition of apartheid provided by the International Convention for the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid. (See under section, Analysis by International Legal Team, above.)

In July 2011 South Africa's media watchdog the 'Advertising Standards Agency' (ASA), dismissed complaints relating to an advert on 5fm radio that called for a boycott of Israel while comparing Israel to Apartheid South Africa. The advert aired in February 2011, when Dave Randall, lead guitarist of the band Faithless, stated: "Twenty years ago I would not have played in apartheid South Africa; today I refuse to play in Israel. Be on the right side of history. Don't entertain apartheid. Join the international boycott of Israel." As a result, an official complaint was filed to ASA by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD), stating that the adverts claim that Israel was an Apartheid State was "untrue, not supported by any evidence ... and contains a lie which amounts to false propaganda." The ASA dismissed every complaint made by SAJBD against the advert.[232]

In a November 2011 interview Reverend Allan Boesak called Israeli apartheid "more terrifying" than South Africa ever was. Boesak commented on many pernicious aspects of Israeli apartheid and said that two separate justice systems exist, one for Palestinians [who are tried in Israeli military courts] and Israelis [who are tried in civil, not military courts]. Boesak stated: "So in many ways the Israeli system is worse."[233]

In October 2012, Baleka Mbete, chairman of the ANC, described the situation as "far worse than apartheid South Africa".[234] The president of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies responded by calling Mbete's statement "disappointing for Jewish people in SA as this adds no value but to incite a level of anti-Israel feeling" and that Mbete was trying "as usual, to bash and demonise Israel".[235]

By Israelis

According to former Italian Prime Minister Massimo d'Alema, former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had described to him "at length" that he felt the "bantustan model" was the most appropriate solution to the conflict in the West Bank.[236] The term "Bantustan" historically refers to the separate territorial areas designated as homelands under the South African apartheid State. Adam and Moodley argue that Israeli officials such as Sharon and Ehud Barak had used the analogy "self-servingly in their exhortations and rationalizations" and yet that, while they repeatedly deplored the occupation and seeming 'South Africanization', yet "have done everything to entrench it".[7]

Shulamit Aloni, who served as Minister for Education under Yitzhak Rabin, discussed Israeli practices in the West Bank in an article published in the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth. Aloni wrote, "Jewish self-righteousness is taken for granted among ourselves to such an extent that we fail to see what's right in front of our eyes. It's simply inconceivable that the ultimate victims, the Jews, can carry out evil deeds. Nevertheless, the state of Israel practises its own, quite violent, form of Apartheid with the native Palestinian population. The US Jewish Establishment's onslaught on former President Jimmy Carter is based on him daring to tell the truth which is known to all: through its army, the government of Israel practises a brutal form of Apartheid in the territory it occupies."[237]

In November 2014, former Israeli Attorney-General (1993–1996) Michael Ben-Yair, who had referred already in 2002 to Israel having establishing "an apartheid regime in the occupied territories" in an essay published in Haaretz.,[238] urged the European Economic Union to endorse the creation of a Palestinian state, arguing that Israel had imposed an apartheid regime on the West Bank.[239] Specifically he wrote that:

With the excuse that we need the West Bank for security reasons, we have turned it into a colonial state. The West Bank has remained an occupied territory for over 47 years. During this period we have ignored international treaties; expropriated land; moved Israeli settlers from Israel to the occupied territories; engaged in acts of disinheritance and theft. We have justified all these actions in the name of security.[240]

Yossi Sarid, who served as environment minister under Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, writing in Haaretz stated, "the white Afrikaners, too, had reasons for their segregation policy; they, too, felt threatened – a great evil was at their door, and they were frightened, out to defend themselves. Unfortunately, however, all good reasons for apartheid are bad reasons; apartheid always has a reason, and it never has a justification. And what acts like apartheid, is run like apartheid and harasses like apartheid, is not a duck—it is apartheid."[10]

Jamal Zahalka, an Israeli-Arab member of the Knesset argued that an apartheid system has already taken shape in that the West Bank and Gaza Strip are separated into "cantons" and Palestinians are required to carry permits to travel between them.[241] Azmi Bishara, a former Knesset member, argued that the Palestinian situation had been caused by "colonialist apartheid".[242]

Some Israelis have compared the separation plan to apartheid, such as political scientist, Meron Benvenisti,[172] and journalist, Amira Hass.[243] Ami Ayalon, a former admiral, claiming it "ha[d] some apartheid characteristics".[244]

A major 2002 study of Israeli settlement practices by the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem concluded: "Israel has created in the Occupied Territories a regime of separation based on discrimination, applying two separate systems of law in the same area and basing the rights of individuals on their nationality. This regime is the only one of its kind in the world, and is reminiscent of distasteful regimes from the past, such as the apartheid regime in South Africa." A more recent B'Tselem publication on the road system Israel has established in the West Bank concluded that it "bears striking similarities to the racist Apartheid regime", and even "entails a greater degree of arbitrariness than was the case with the regime that existed in South Africa".[245]

Academic and political activist Uri Davis, an Israeli citizen who describes himself as "a Palestinian Hebrew national of Jewish origin, anti-Zionist, registered as Muslim and a citizen of an apartheid state – the State of Israel"[246] has written several books on the subject, including Israel: An Apartheid State in 1987.[247]

Daphna Golan-Agnon, co-founder of B'Tselem and founding director of Bat Shalom writes in her 2002 book Next Year in Jerusalem, "I'm not sure if the use of the term apartheid helps us to understand the discrimination against Palestinians in Israel or the oppression against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. I'm not sure the discussion about how we are like or unlike South Africa helps move us forward to a solution. But the comparison reminds us that hundreds of laws do not make discrimination just and that the international community, the same international community we want to belong to, did not permit the perpetuation of apartheid. And it doesn't matter how we explain it and how many articles are written by Israeli scholars and lawyers—there are two groups living in this small piece of land, and one enjoys rights and liberty while the other does not."[248]

In October 2000, a group of Israeli Jews living in London signed a statement, initiated by Moshé Machover, describing Israel's policies in the occupied territories as apartheid.[249] In a later essay, Machover, co-founder of Matzpen, the Israeli Socialist Organization and professor of philosophy in London, warned against "an unthinking use of this misleading analogy between Israeli policy and that of the defunct apartheid regime in South Africa". Accepting that "the two have many features in common", Machover concluded that Zionism, which aimed to "eliminate, exterminate or expel" Palestinians, rather than to exploit them, "is far worse than apartheid. Apartheid can be reversed. Ethnic cleansing is immeasurably harder to reverse; at least not in the short or medium term."[250]

Retired Israeli judge and legal commentator for the daily Yedioth Ahronoth Boaz Okon wrote in June 2010 that events in Israel, when taken together, constituted apartheid and fascism. Okon used as examples segregated schools and streets, a "minute" proportion of Israeli Arabs employed in the civil service, censorship, limits on foreign workers having children in Israel and the monitoring of cell phones, email and Internet usage.[251]

Poster for the 2009 Israeli Apartheid Week, designed by Carlos Latuff.

Danny Rubinstein, a columnist at Haaretz reportedly likened Israel to apartheid South Africa during a United Nations conference at the European Parliament in Brussels on 30 August 2007, stating: "Israel today was an apartheid State with four different Palestinian groups: those in Gaza, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Israeli Palestinians, each of which had a different status."[252]

In an article in Haaretz in October 2010, Israeli journalist and academic Zvi Bar'el wrote "Israel's apartheid movement is coming out of the woodwork and is taking on a formal, legal shape. It is moving from voluntary apartheid, which hides its ugliness through justifications of 'cultural differences' and 'historic neglect' which only requires a little funding and a couple of more sewage pipes to make everything right – to a purposeful, open, obligatory apartheid, which no longer requires any justification."[253]

Israeli poet, author and journalist Yitzhak Laor wrote in 2009 that Israel had a form of apartheid with a supporting system "more ruthless" than that seen in South Africa. He argued that the "lie" of the system being temporary makes it harder to oppose, and that because the existing situation has the political support of Israeli voters the US government will not oppose it with conviction.[254]

Professor Daniel Blatman[255] of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has said that the aim legislation passed in the Knesset around 2009–2011 was a gradual establishment of an apartheid state in Israel, and future separation of Jews and non-Jews "on a racial basis". He drew parallels to the establishment of the apartheid regime in South Africa, and also racial separation laws passed by the Nazis. According to Blatman in all cases, individual laws were argued for using reasoned arguments but the overall effect of the legislation was racist.[256] In 2011 Alon Liel, former director general of the ministry of foreign affairs of Israel, compared legislation under consideration in the Knesset to laws of apartheid-era South Africa. The legislation under consideration would, if passed, place limits on NGOs operating in Israel, in effect restricting funding from foreign sources to Israeli human rights groups. According to Liel, this legislation was reminiscent of the South African "Affected Organisations Act", and was aimed at organizations "fighting to preserve what remains of Israeli democracy".[257] In June 2012, Liel expressed his support for a cultural boycott of Israel, as a means of pressure to bring about "Palestinian independence, not an Israeli apartheid state".[258]

In August 2010, Israeli-born academic Ran Greenstein, based at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, argued that Israel (referring to the single differentiated regime governing both pre-1967 and post-1967 territories) is a form of 'apartheid of a special type', displaying systematic exclusion of Palestinians on an ethnic—not racial—basis, and yet is different in some respects from the original South African model of apartheid. The differences have to do with the use of indigenous labor power by settlers (much more common in South Africa than in Israel), and the more rigid identity boundaries between groups in Israel. Consequently, this type of apartheid displays greater tendency towards physical exclusion of indigenous people (affecting to varying degrees Palestinian citizens, residents under occupation and refugees) than was the case for indigenous people under South African apartheid.[259]

Israeli writer Uri Avnery said in a 2012 interview that in his view, Israel was an apartheid state. He said apartheid was "full" in the occupied territories and "growing" inside Israel's borders. According to Avnery, if it goes on, it will be "incontestably" full apartheid throughout Israel.[260] The point was made also by Oren Yiftachel, who distinguished a full apartheid regime in Gaza and the West Bank. to the "creeping apartheid" he believed to be taking place in Israel proper.[261]

In 2014, Amos Schocken, publisher of Haaretz, wrote: "Israel’s citizens ostensibly live in a democratic situation, with the right to vote and to be elected – but here, regrettably, I must resort to a comparison with South Africa. The whites there also had the right to vote and to be elected, but South Africa was not a democracy. The regime there ruled millions of disenfranchised blacks. The Israeli occupation and Israel’s control of broad aspects of the life of the Palestinians – who do not have the right to influence their lives by democratic means – is an undemocratic, South Africa-type situation which conflicts with the democratic Zionist vision."[262] Earlier in 2011, Schocken had written: "The term 'apartheid' refers to the undemocratic system of discriminating between the rights of the whites and the blacks, which once existed in South Africa. Even though there is a difference between the apartheid that was practiced there and what is happening in the territories, there are also some points of resemblance. There are two population groups in one region, one of which possesses all the rights and protections, while the other is deprived of rights and is ruled by the first group. This is a flagrantly undemocratic situation."[263]

In an article in Haaretz in October 2014, Israeli journalist Gideon Levy wrote that "The binational state is already here, and has been for a long time.... The only question still open is what kind of state it will be: a binational democracy, or binational with an apartheid regime".[264]

Also in October 2014, following the ruling by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon barring Palestinian labourers from using Israeli public transport, Haaretz wrote in an editorial "The minister's decision reeks of apartheid, typical of the Israeli occupation regime in the territories. One of the most blatant symbols of the regime of racial separation in South Africa was the separate bus lines for whites and blacks. Now, Ya'alon has implemented the same policy in the occupied territories. In so doing, he justifies the claims of those who brand Israel internationally as an apartheid state."[265]

In August 2015, Bradley Burston, an Israeli journalist who had long opposed the characterisation of Israel as apartheid, wrote in his regular Haaretz op-ed "I used to be one of those people who took issue with the label of apartheid as applied to Israel... I'm not one of those people any more. Not after the last few weeks... Our Israel is what it has become: Apartheid."[266]

The September 2012 poll by Dialog pollsters

In October 2012, a poll surveying the attitudes of Israelis toward their Arab neighbors was commissioned by a group of peace activists, and paid by a family fund ("Yisraela Fund") of Amiram Goldblum and others, and conducted by the polling agency Dialog.[267] According to the poll, 39% said there is apartheid in Israel "in some ways" and 19% "in many ways". The survey conductors say perhaps the term "apartheid" was not clear enough to some interviewees.[268][269]

Critics argued that respondents might not have understood precisely what "apartheid" meant and that the wording in the survey's questionnaire was potentially misleading.[267][270] Levy also reported that the majority of Jewish Israelis supported apartheid policies in the West Bank in denying the vote to Palestinian Arabs if the West Bank was annexed. He later retracted this interpretation but stood by the substance of his article, stating in an article titled "Errors and omissions excepted" that 'Most Israelis do support apartheid, but only if the occupied territories are annexed; and most Israelis oppose such annexation.'[271] Following the retraction, the paper changed its headline on the story, and published a clarification.[267]

Among other findings of the poll, are that 47% of respondents want part of Israel's Arab population to be transferred to the Palestinian Authority, and that a third of respondents supported denying the vote to Israel's Arab citizens.[268]

By activists

David Haslam has noted seven similarities between the struggle against apartheid and the current Israeli situation.[272]

An Israeli Apartheid Week has been established to draw attention to the analogy and build support for an international boycott movement against Israel.[273] The annual event began in 2005 in Toronto and as of 2011 involved a series of talks, film screenings, parties and protests in 55 cities and several countries. Israel's supporters stage counter-protests.[274]

Criticism of the apartheid analogy

Those who criticize the analogy argue that Israeli policies have little or no resemblance to apartheid South Africa, and that the motivation and historical context of Israel's policies are different. It is argued that Israel itself is a democratic and pluralist state, while the West Bank and Gaza are not part of sovereign Israel and cannot be compared to the internal policies of apartheid South Africa. Other critics of the analogy argue that there are significant differences between the policy of the Israeli government and the apartheid model, and that the analogy is theoretically false and politically harmful.[250]

Differences between Israeli and South African policies

the equivalence simply isn't true. Israel is not an apartheid state. Israel's human rights record in the occupied territories, its settlement policy, and its firm responses to terror may sometimes warrant criticism. And Prime Minister Ehud Olmert himself recently warned that Israel could face an apartheid-style struggle if it did not reach a deal with the Palestinians and end the occupation in the West Bank. But racism and discrimination do not form the rationale for Israel's policies and actions. Arab citizens of Israel can vote and serve in the Knesset; black South Africans could not vote until 1994. There are no laws in Israel that discriminate against Arab citizens or separate them from Jews. Unlike the United Kingdom, Greece, and Norway, Israel has no state religion, and it recognizes Arabic as one of its official languages."
 Kadalie, Rhoda and Julia Bertelsmann, black South Africans whose families fought against apartheid[275][276]

Academic Susie Jacobs states that the apartheid analogy is "inadequate", and that it is a rhetoric that skims over substantive differences. She points out that Apartheid was a great deal more than segregation, instead it was a society almost wholly based on racial criteria.[277] Close to that statement, the criticism of the analogy made by Prof. Giraut, head of the geography department, University of Geneva and specialist of the apartheid policies, is based on the ontological difference of nature between the two historical experiences. According to Giraut, the logic of the Israeli land grabbing in the occupied West bank is colonial and nationalist, while the Grand apartheid logic with the bantustans policy was post colonial and racialist.[278]

StandWithUs, a pro-Israel advocacy organization, argues that apartheid in South Africa was an official policy of discrimination against blacks enforced through police violence, based on minority control over a majority population who could not vote. They point out that in contrast, Israel is a majority-rule democracy with equal rights for all citizens including Arab citizens of Israel who vote freely. Israel contends with prejudice in its population as all societies do, but such prejudices are opposed by law. They also point out that Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are not governed by Israel but by the Palestinian Authority.[18]

HonestReporting, another pro-Israel advocacy organization, argues that today, within Israel, Jews are a majority, but the Arab minority are full citizens who enjoy equal rights. Arabs are represented in the Knesset, and have served in the Cabinet, high-level foreign ministry posts and on the Supreme Court. Under apartheid, black South Africans could not vote and were not citizens of the country in which they formed the overwhelming majority of the population; laws dictated where they could live, work and travel. And in South Africa, the government killed blacks who protested against its policies. By contrast, Israel allows freedom of movement, assembly and speech. Some of the government's harshest critics are Israeli Arabs who are members of the Knesset.[279] In addition, most of the West Bank and all of Gaza are not expected to be controlled by Israel after a final settlement.[19][280]

Benjamin Pogrund, author and member of the Israeli delegation to the United Nations World Conference against Racism, has argued that the petty apartheid that characterized apartheid-era South Africa does not exist within Israel:

The difference between the current Israeli situation and apartheid South Africa is emphasized at a very human level: Jewish and Arab babies are born in the same delivery room, with the same facilities, attended by the same doctors and nurses, with the mothers recovering in adjoining beds in a ward. Two years ago I had major surgery in a Jerusalem hospital: the surgeon was Jewish, the anaesthetist was Arab, the doctors and nurses who looked after me were Jews and Arabs. Jews and Arabs share meals in restaurants and travel on the same trains, buses and taxis, and visit each other's homes. Could any of this possibly have happened under apartheid? Of course not.[281]

In response to increasing inequality between the Jewish and Arab populations, the Israeli government established a committee to consider, among other issues, policies of affirmative action for housing Arab citizens.[282] According to Israel advocacy group, Stand With Us, the city of Jerusalem gives Arab residents free professional advice to assist with the housing permit process and structural regulations, advice not available to Jewish residents on the same terms.[283][284][285]

Differences between Israeli and South African motivations

Criticism of the "Israeli apartheid" usage for its inherent implication of racism has been widespread. In 2003, South Africa's minister for home affairs Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi said, "The Israeli regime is not apartheid. It is a unique case of democracy."[286] According to Fred Taub, the President of Boycott Watch, "[t]he assertion ... that Israel is practicing apartheid is not only false, but may be considered libelous.... The fact is that it is the Arabs who are discriminating against non-Muslims, especially Jews."[287] Similarly, in 2004, Jean-Christophe Rufin, former vice-president of Médecins Sans Frontières and president of Action Against Hunger, recommended in a report about anti-Semitism commissioned by French Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin[288] that charges of apartheid and racism against Israel be criminalized in France, to the extent they're unjustified.[289][290][291] He wrote that the "perverse" and "defamatory" use of the charge of racism against the very people who were victims of racism "to an unparalleled degree" should be penalized. In his view, the accusations of racism, of apartheid, of Nazism carry grave moral implications and can put in danger the lives of French Jewish citizens. He advocated punishment of those who make accusations of racism against groups, utilizing unjustified comparisons with apartheid or Nazism. He maintained that political opinions that are critical of any government are perfectly legitimate.[289]

In any event, what is racism? Under apartheid it was skin colour. Applied to Israel that's a joke: for proof of that, just look at a crowd of Israeli Jews and their gradations in skin-colour from the "blackest" to the "whitest".... Occupation is brutalising and corrupting both Palestinians and Israelis ... [b]ut it is not apartheid. Palestinians are not oppressed on racial grounds as Arabs, but, rather, as competitors – until now, at the losing end – in a national/religious conflict for land.
 Benjamin Pogrund[281]
Israel ... lacks the features of an apartheid state. The Palestinian, Druze and other minorities in Israel are guaranteed equal rights under the Basic Laws. All citizens of Israel vote in elections on an equal basis. There are no legal restrictions on movement, employment or sexual or marital relations. The universities are integrated. Opponents of Zionism have free speech and assembly and may form political organizations.
 John Strawson, professor of international law at the University of East London[292]

Michael Kinsley's article "It's Not Apartheid", published in Slate and The Washington Post, states that Carter "makes no attempt to explain [the use of the word 'apartheid']" and refers to Carter's usage of the term as "a foolish and unfair comparison, unworthy of the man who won—and deserved—the Nobel Peace Prize...".[22]

Israel has always had Arab citizens.... No doubt many Israelis have racist attitudes toward Arabs, but the official philosophy of the government is quite the opposite, and sincere efforts are made to, for example, instill humanitarian and egalitarian attitudes in children.
 Michael Kinsley,"It's Not Apartheid"[293][294]
Calling Israel an 'apartheid state' is absolute nonsense. You might have structures that look like apartheid, but they're not. The barrier fence has nothing to do with apartheid and everything to do with Israel's self-defense. There was no such barrier until the second intifada, when people were being murdered on the highways. And the country does not dehumanize its minority in the sense of apartheid. The issues are totally different.
 Malcolm Hedding, a South African minister and fighter against South African apartheid[156]
Do Israel's Arab citizens suffer from disadvantage? You better believe it. Do African Americans 10 minutes from the Berkeley campus suffer from disadvantage—you better believe it, too. So should we launch a Berkeley Apartheid Week, or should we seek real ways to better our societies and make opportunity more available.... Vilification and false labeling is a blind alley that is unjust and takes us nowhere.... You deny Israel the fundamental right of every society to defend itself.... Your criticism is willfully hypocritical.... You are betraying the moderate Muslims and Jews who are working to achieve peace.... To the organizers of Israel Apartheid Week I would like to say: If Israel were an apartheid state, I would not have been appointed here, nor would I have chosen to take upon myself this duty.
 Ishmael Khaldi, US Pacific Northwest deputy consul of Israel, and Bedouin Muslim, in response to Israel Apartheid Week[295]

The idea that "Israeli apartheid" implies a policy of racial or other discrimination against Arabs or Muslims has been rejected by other figures. In 2004's The Trouble with Islam Today, Irshad Manji argues that the allegation of apartheid in Israel is deeply misleading, noting that there are in Israel several Arab political parties; that Arab-Muslim legislators have veto powers; and that Arab parties have overturned disqualifications. She also points to Arabs like Emile Habibi, who have been awarded prestigious prizes. She also observes that Israel has a free Arab press; that road signs bear Arabic translations; and that Arabs live and study alongside Jews. She also claims that Palestinians commuting from the West Bank are entitled to state benefits and legal protections.[296]

Former US Ambassador to the United Nations (June 1975 – February 1976), Daniel Patrick Moynihan[297] voiced the strong disagreement of the United States with the General Assembly's resolution declaring that "Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination" in 1975 stated that unlike apartheid, Zionism is clearly is not a racist ideology. He said that racist ideologies such as apartheid favor discrimination on the grounds of alleged biological differences, yet few people are as biologically heterogeneous as the Jews.[298]

In an op-ed for The Jerusalem Post, Gerald Steinberg, Professor of Political Studies at Bar Ilan University, argued, "Ethno-national disputes, occupation, and charges of discrimination against minorities are also part of the conflicts in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Kosovo and Bosnia, Sri Lanka, India/Pakistan, etc., but the demonization campaign is unique to Israel.... Indeed, the racism and denial of legitimacy characteristic of apartheid are actually applicable to Arab and Islamic rejection of Jewish rights." Among those rights is the right to self-defense, including passive methods such as the security fence. "The 'Zionism is apartheid' propaganda is also used to justify Palestinian terrorist attacks and the efforts to deny Israelis the basic human right of self-defense against being ripped apart in bus and café bombings.... By screaming 'apartheid' at every opportunity, the leaders of this campaign have succeeded in burying data showing that [the security] barrier has saved the lives of many Israelis. In today's immoral political doublespeak, protecting Israelis from terror has become 'apartheid."[299]

Gideon Shimoni, professor emeritus of Hebrew University, has said that while apartheid was characterized by racially based legal inequality and exploitation of Black Africans by the dominant Whites within a common society, the Israel–Palestinian conflict reflects "separate nationalisms," in which Israel refuses exploitation of Palestinians and on the contrary seeks separation and "divorce" from Palestinians for legitimate self-defense reasons.[300] Alon Liel, former Israeli Ambassador to South Africa and former Director General of the Israel Foreign Ministry, argues that Israel is presently both Jewish and democratic but that ongoing demographic trends, if occurring within a single state embracing both peoples, would create a future situation in which a Jewish minority would rule over a Palestinian majority, as in political apartheid, so this explains and justifies the security fence separating the two peoples physically, and the desire by Israel for two separate states with firm borders.[301]

Delegitimization of Israel as a motivation for the apartheid analogy

Some critics of the apartheid analogy state that it is intended to delegitimize Israel and Zionism, applying a higher standard of behaviour to Israel than to other nations or to the Palestinian Authority in order to justify the boycotting, ostracism, or elimination of the State of Israel.[15][16][17][279][302][303] Critics say that much more obviously "apartheid"-like treatment of Palestinian refugees in the Palestinian Authority territory, Jordan and Lebanon, are ignored and are not the subject of delegitimization campaigns, exemplifying double standards.[304][305][306][307]

Irwin Cotler, a Jewish Canadian MP and anti-apartheid activist who was once a lawyer for Nelson Mandela said "The second manifestation [of anti-semitism] is the indictment of Israel as an apartheid state [which involves] more than the simple indictment of Israel as an apartheid state. It involves a call for dismantling Israel" He links this to other forms of delegitimization of the Jewish state by Palestinians, such as their attempt to deny any Jewish historical or religious links to the Holy Land as such, and especially to Jerusalem itself.[308]

Benny Morris, an Israeli historian of the Arab–Israeli conflict, has said that those that equate Israeli efforts to separate the two populations to apartheid are effectively trying to undermine the legitimacy of any peace agreement based on a two-state solution.[309]

Canadian political scientist Anne Bayefsky has written that the apartheid label was used by Arab states at the Durban World Conference on Racism in 2001 as part of a campaign to delegitimize Israel and to legitimize violence against Israeli citizens.[310]

Alleged double standard

Some critics consider the analogy defamatory and say it reflects a double standard when applied to Israel and not to neighboring Arab countries, whose policies towards their own Palestinian minorities have been described as discriminatory.[311]

Criticism by South Africans

South African Judge Richard Goldstone, writing in The New York Times in October 2011, said that while there exists a degree of separation between Israeli Jews and Arabs, "in Israel, there is no apartheid. Nothing there comes close to the definition of apartheid under the 1998 Rome Statute". Concerning the West Bank, Goldstone wrote that the situation "is more complex. But here too there is no intent to maintain 'an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group'."[72][318] Goldstone also wrote in The New York Times, "the charge that Israel is an apartheid state is a false and malicious one that precludes, rather than promotes, peace and harmony."[319]

South African academics Julia I. Bertelsmann and Rhoda Kadalie disagree with the analogy, and believe it is motivated by politics. They say that Israel has been ranked "free" consistently in Freedom House's Freedom in the World rankings, unlike South Africa was during apartheid.[276][320]

Former President of apartheid-era South Africa F.W. de Klerk, who with Nelson Mandela, helped end apartheid, when asked in an interview with France24 about apartheid South Africa being compared to Israel and the Palestinian territories, answered "I think comparisons are odious. I think it's dangerous. It's not a direct parallel, but there are some parallels to be drawn. Why did the old vision of so many separate states in South Africa fail? Because the whites wanted to keep too much land for themselves. Why will it fail, if it fails in Israel and Palestine? Because Palestine is maybe not offered an attractive enough geographical area to say 'this is the country of Palestine'".[321]

David Saks, the director of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, claims the Apartheid analogy is "a cynical ploy" designed for propaganda purposes. In 2010. he wrote that in stark contrast with the racist, color-based apartheid regime, Israel is one of the most multi-racial societies in the world, which goes to great lengths to ensure tolerance and equality before the law. He points to the fact that Israel's Declaration of Independence specifically mandates complete equality of social and political rights to all inhabitants irrespective of religion, race, or gender, and that Jews and non-Jews in Israel vote and stand for election together, live side by side in the same residential areas, and make use in equal measure of public amenities such as beaches and parks. While acknowledging that inequality still exists in certain areas, he says this is in no way comparable to the legalized race-based repression and discrimination that was experienced by non-whites in South Africa, and those cases of discrimination are continuously confronted and eroded through the Israeli courts and legislation.[115]

Josh Benjamin, chairman of the South African Union of Jewish Students, stated that comparing the current status quo in Israel to apartheid is a "viciously false analogy". Benjamin wrote that the Palestinian people must have their dream of self-determination actualized, however, he believes this cannot be achieved through "virulently false" analogies that promote polarization and prohibit dialogue.[322]

The pitfalls of a focus exclusively on what happens "in Israel" and avoiding analysis of Israeli policies in the Occupied Territories, were highlighted in the Human Sciences Research Council (South Africa) report discussed above.[323] pointing out that one of the most 'notorious' aspects of the Apartheid policy was the 'racial enclave policy' manifested in the Black Homelands (Bantustans). The corollaries of population transfer, military occupation, nominal self-governance, travel restrictions, residency revoking, and prevention of family unification are all cited as being mirrors of what Israel imposes on the Occupied Territories. "As did the apartheid regime in South Africa, Israel justifies these measures under the pretext of 'security'. Contrary to such claims, they are in fact part of an overall regime aimed at preserving demographic superiority of one racial group over the other in certain areas".[324]

Kenneth Meshoe, President of the African Christian Democratic Party, has argued against claims that Israel is an apartheid state, calling such accusations slanderous and deceptive. According to Meshoe, these claims trivialize the word apartheid, and belittles the magnitude of the racism and suffering endured by South Africans of color during apartheid era.[325][326]

Criticism by Arab citizens of Israel

In the Durban Review Conference of 2009, the Israeli-Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh, writing for the Gatestone Institute, criticized Arab Knesset members for supporting extremism and calling Israel a "state of apartheid" rather than fighting for the rights of Arab citizens of Israel.

And then they come here to tell us that Israel is a state of apartheid?

Excuse me. What kind of hypocrisy is this? What then are you doing in the Knesset? If you are living in an apartheid system, why were you allowed, as an Arab, to run in the election? What are you talking about?

We do have problems as Arabs with the establishment here. But to come and say that Israel is an apartheid state is a big exaggeration. I am not here to defend Israel, but I think that Knesset members like this gentleman are doing huge damage to the cause of Israeli Arabs. I want to see the Knesset member sitting in the Knesset, in Jerusalem, and fighting for the rights of Arabs over there.[327]

He continued by stating, "Israel is a wonderful place to live and we are happy to be there. Israel is a free and open country. If I were given the choice, I would rather live in Israel as a second class citizen than as a first class citizen in Cairo, Gaza, Amman or Ramallah."[327][328][329]

Dr. Mohammed Wattad, an Arab citizen of Israel and a member of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, criticized the analogy in a 2010 interview, saying:

As an Israeli citizen, I belong to a political entity.... I have no other home than the State of Israel. I am a proud Israeli citizen but that doesn't mean I can't criticize it ... At the same time I am a proud Arab national ...
Is there discrimination in Israel? Yes — there is discrimination against women, elderly, Arabs, Russian Jews, Christians.... But the same goes for Canada. Is it good — No? But it means we have to deal with the problem from within.... The existence of discrimination in a state does not mean it is an apartheid state.... There is a big difference between apartheid and discrimination,
In an apartheid regime, there is no possibility of judicial review, because the judges are appointed by the regime and all serve one ideology. This is not the case in Israel ... There is a very strong, independent Supreme Court in Israel. In an apartheid regime [unlike in Israel] there is no place to go to argue against the government,[330]

According to Khaled Abu Toameh, Israel's Arab citizens are also free to participate in elections, become government ministers, supreme court justices, or Knesset members; examples of Israeli-Arabs in senior government positions include Nawaf Massalha, Salah Tarif, Salim Joubran, Ali Yahya, and Yosef Mishlav.[331]

Criticism by African American students

The African-American student organization Vanguard Leadership Group, a group that has developed ties to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee,[332][333][334] published an ad in April 2011 requesting that the Students for Justice in Palestine group "immediately stop referring to Israel as an apartheid society and to acknowledge that the Arab minority in Israel enjoys full citizenship with voting rights and representation in the government", and that "It is highly objectionable to those who know the truth about the Israelis' record on human rights and how it so clearly contrasts with South Africa's." Vanguard Leadership maintains that Students for Justice in Palestine "has chosen to manipulate rather than inform with this illegitimate analogy", and that "Decency, justice, and the hope of peace and reconciliation in the Middle East compel us to demand an immediate cessation to the deliberate mischaracterizations of Israel."[335]

In October 2011, Jarrod Jordan, executive director of the Vanguard Leadership Group, said that SJP's holding a conference about Israel and apartheid is like "the Ku Klux Klan holding a conference at Morehouse College in Atlanta, a total affront to Jewish culture and identity". In addition, Jordan said that the use of the word 'apartheid' in referring to Israel is "patently false and deeply offensive to all who feel a connection to the State of Israel". The Columbia Spectator refused to publish a full-page ad paid for by VLG because it was "judged it to be political".[336]

By notable academic, political and media figures

Ian Buruma has argued that even though there is social discrimination against Arabs in Israel and that "the ideal of a Jewish state smacks of racism", the analogy is "intellectually lazy, morally questionable and possibly even mendacious", as "[n]on-Jews, mostly Arab Muslims, make up 20% of the Israeli population, and they enjoy full citizen's rights" and "[i]nside the state of Israel, there is no apartheid".[337]

In his review of Carter's book Joseph Lelyveld notes that South Africa's Apartheid policy was also about land as much as racism, and comments that the use of "apartheid" by Carter is "basically a slogan, not reasoned argument".[338][339] Law professor Alan Dershowitz has also criticised Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, stating that Carter fails to define apartheid or to offer evidence that Israel practices apartheid. Dershowitz also accuses Carter of using fraudulent sources, and of having a "hard left" political bias that leads him to accuse Israel of apartheid while "refusing to apply such labels to countries that actually deserve it".[16] Abe Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League, argues that the apartheid analogy presented in the book is incompatible with Carter's later statements that Israeli policy toward the Palestinians is not motivated by racial hatred.[340]

Fifty-three faculty members from Stanford University signed a letter expressing the view that "Israel is not an Apartheid State" and that "the State of Israel has nothing in common with apartheid"; that within its national territory Israel is a liberal democracy in which Arab citizens of Israel enjoy civil, religious, social, and political equality. They alleged that likening Israel to apartheid South Africa was a "smear", part of a campaign of "malicious propaganda".[341]

In March 2011, professor Denis MacEoin, a senior editor of the Middle East Forum's Middle East Quarterly, wrote an open letter to the Edinburgh University Students' Association. It was prompted by 270 students at Edinburgh University voting in favour of a motion that described Israel as an apartheid state and called for a boycott of goods. In part he expressed the opinion that a "University is supposed to be about learning to use your brain, to think rationally, to examine evidence, to reach conclusions based on solid evidence, to compare sources, to weigh up one view against one or more others. If the best Edinburgh can now produce are students who have no idea how to do any of these things, then the future is bleak."[342] Subsequently, the Edinburgh University Students' Association has confirmed a proposed boycott of Israeli products will not be enforced.[343]

By Canadian officials

In March 2011, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has said that he will not allow city funding for the 2011 Toronto Pride Parade if organizers allow the group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) march again this year. "Taxpayers dollars should not go toward funding hate speech," Ford said.[344] However, in April 2011, the city manager reported to the city's executive committee that the use of the phrase 'Israeli apartheid' does not violate the City's Anti-discrimination policy, nor does it constitute discrimination under the Canadian Criminal Code or the Ontario Human Rights Code[345]

In June 2012, the Toronto city council voted to condemn the phrase "Israeli apartheid", as part of a resolution recognizing the gay Pride Toronto parade as a "significant cultural event that strongly promotes the ideals of tolerance and diversity". The resolution said it slams the term Israel Apartheid for undermining the values of Pride and diminishing "the suffering experienced by individuals during the apartheid regime in South Africa".[346]

By British officials

In September 2012, British Member of Parliament Denis MacShane said that the motivation for the allegations that Israel is an apartheid state is in order to destroy Israel as a country, and that these allegations constitute an anti-Semitic canard. MacShane said that while criticizing Israel is legitimate, "We have to be clear that the new antisemitic trope is beyond the pale of legitimate criticism. The notion of Israel as an apartheid state is deliberately promoted because an apartheid state cannot exist.... Arabs and Jews in Israel are enjoying the same sea. An Arab Supreme Court judge presided in the case against the Israeli president."[347]

By others

American rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein has written of a "multifaceted campaign demonizing Israel by rebranding her as an evil apartheid regime". He describes this as "the big lie", stating that Israeli Arabs enjoy political freedoms that are unknown in the Arab world.[348]

Benjamin Pogrund, was born in South Africa and spent 26 years as a journalist specialising in reporting apartheid. He is also familiar with Israel. He has lived in Jerusalem since 1997. In an article published in The Guardian he wrote: "Whatever attitudes might be claimed for Israel's Jewish public the situation on the ground does not support accusations of apartheid. The Arab population, some 20%, certainly suffers discrimination but to liken their lot to apartheid South Africa is baseless, indeed ridiculous. Arabs have the vote, which in itself makes them fundamentally different from South Africa's black population under apartheid. And even the current rightwing government says that it wants to overcome Arab disadvantage and promises action to upgrade education and housing and increase job opportunities. Of course time will show how genuine it is.

The West Bank is a linked but separate issue: it's a military occupation which, in its nature, is violent and discriminatory. Trying to put an erroneous apartheid label on it confuses and distorts and is propagandistic."[349]

Warnings that Israel might become an apartheid state in the future

Ehud Olmert, then Deputy Prime Minister of Israel, commented in April 2004 that; "More and more Palestinians are uninterested in a negotiated, two-state solution, because they want to change the essence of the conflict from an Algerian paradigm to a South African one. From a struggle against 'occupation,' in their parlance, to a struggle for one man, one vote. That is, of course, a much cleaner struggle, a much more popular struggle—and ultimately a much more powerful one. For us, it would mean the end of the Jewish state."[350] Olmert made a similar remark in November 2007 as Prime Minister: "If the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights, then the State of Israel is finished."[351][352]

When speaking in a national security conference in Israel, Ehud Barak warned that unless Israel makes peace with the Palestinians it will be faced with either a state with no Jewish -majority or an "apartheid" regime. "As long as in this territory west of the Jordan river there is only one political entity called Israel it is going to be either non-Jewish, or non-democratic," Barak said. "If this bloc of millions of Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state."[353]

According to Jeffrey Goldberg, US president Barack Obama has consistently expressed a view that unless Israel extricates itself from the lives of West Bank Palestinians, it will eventually be seen internationally as an apartheid state.[354] John Kerry, secretary of state of the Obama administration, expressed similar views in 2014.[355] This sparked criticism from Americans and Israelis.[356][357] Later Kerry made it clear that he didn't call Israel an apartheid state, but if he did he should have chosen different words.[358]

In 2010, Mick Davis, chairman of the UK Jewish community and executive of the Jewish Leadership Council stated that Israel could in the future become an apartheid state unless there was a two-state solution with the Palestinians, "because we then have the majority going to be governed by the minority".[359] However, at the same meeting he also said explicitly "Israel is not today an apartheid state.... Even though we have things that are entirely offensive to us passed in the Knesset, those things come from tactical issues ... and do not represent the mainstream of Israeli society."[360]

The Economist warned in 2005 that if Israel did not withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, it would be forced in the future an "impossible choice" of becoming either an apartheid state, or a binational state with Jews as a minority.[361]

Zbigniew Brzezinski, former United States National Security Advisor to President Carter, commented that the absence of a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is "likely to produce a situation which de facto will resemble apartheid".[362]

According to Hirsh Goodman, David Ben-Gurion said on Israeli radio after the 1967 Arab–Israeli War that Israel would become an apartheid state if it did not rid itself of the Palestinian territories and their Arab population as soon as possible.[363]

In 2015 Meir Dagan, a former head of Israel's intelligence agency Mossad, said a continuation of prime minister Netanyahu's policies would result in an Israel that is either a bi-national state or an apartheid state.[364]

In 2015, an off record recording from 1976 was revealed, in which than prime minister Yitzhak Rabin says: "Because of the population [the Palestinians] it can't last for long. If we don't want to reach apartheid, with having a million and a half Palestinians inside the Jewish state"[365]

In 2016, Jay Michaelson writing for The Forward, in response to polls that indicate a rising Israeli belief the 2 State solution is not possible, and signs of a consolidation in power of a revisionist vision of a Greater Israel which, he argued, was intent on grinding down into surrender Palestinian nationalist aspirations, stated that, '(a)s a temporary policy, the occupation is unjust. As a permanent one, it is apartheid.' [366]

Other comments on the apartheid analogy

Sasha Polakow-Suransky addresses the Israeli apartheid analogy in the epilogue of his book, The Unspoken Alliance: Israel's Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa (2010). Polakow-Suransky argues that some aspects of apartheid in South Africa are "ominously similar" to developments in contemporary Israel but that the analogy is nonetheless an imperfect one. He notes that Israel's labour policies are very different from those of apartheid-era South Africa, that Israel has never enacted miscegenation laws, and that liberation movements in South Africa and Palestine have had different "aspirations and tactics."[367] This notwithstanding, he argues that the apartheid analogy is likely to gain further legitimacy in coming years unless Israel moves to dismantle West Bank settlements and create a viable Palestinian state.[368]

Polakow-Suransky also writes that the response of Israel's defenders to the analogy since 2007 has been "knee-jerk" and based on "vitriol and recycled propaganda" rather than an honest assessment of the situation. He notes that public discourse on the subject has been far more "nuanced and thoughtful" in Israel than in America, drawing particular attention to the reviews of Jimmy Carter's Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid in both countries.[369]

In June 2011, Canadian politician and scholar Irwin Cotler was interviewed by Israeli television on the concept of "new antisemitism". In the course of the interview, he argued that labelling Israel as an apartheid state, while in his view "distasteful", nonetheless falls "within the boundaries of argument" and is not inherently antisemitic. "It's where you say, because it's an apartheid state, it has to be dismantled—then [you've] crossed the line into a racist argument, or an anti-Jewish argument," he said.[370]

Cary Nelson and Ken Stern of the Alliance for Academic Freedom say that regardless of the issue of whether or not it is compelling, the analogy lacks empathy, and therefore, is useless in debates on university campuses. There was no significant pro-Apartheid advocates on campuses in the 1970s, and even if there were, they could not convincingly claim that history and justice was in their favor the way that pro-Israel advocates can in the 2010s. For this reason, instead of hurling slogans and insulting analogies, Nelson and Stern suggest that campus leaders model empathy by asking questions of each other such as, "What would it be like to be a Palestinian in Gaza? An Israeli in Sderot? Can you imagine either, both? Can you construct an argument that is logical, comparative, historically and evidence-based that takes a position opposite to your political beliefs?"[371]

See also

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Israel and the apartheid analogy


  1. 1 2 Clark, Jeanne Ellen. Engaging the Apartheid Analogy in Israel/Palestine. Willamette University. p. 5
  2. Davis, Uri (2003). Apartheid Israel: possibilities for the struggle within. Zed Books. pp. 86–87. ISBN 1-84277-339-9.
  3. 1 2 Shimoni, Gideon (1980). Jews and Zionism: The South African Experience 1910–1967. Cape Town: Oxford UP. pp. 310–336. ISBN 0-19-570179-8.
  4. e.g. Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, John Dugard, A/HRC/4/17, 29 January 2007, pp. 3, 23
  5. Please see references:[6][7][8][9][10][11][12]
  6. Uri Davis, Apartheid Israel: Possibilities for the Struggle Within, Zed Books, London 2004 pp. 51f
  7. 1 2 3 Adam, Heribert & Moodley, Kogila. "Seeking Mandela: Peacemaking Between Israelis and Palestinians" (PDF)., University College London Press, p. 15. ISBN 1-84472-130-2
  8. The A Word: Israel, Apartheid and Jimmy Carter, CounterPunch 19 December 2006
  9. Power and History in the Middle East: A Conversation with Ilan Pappe Logos Journal, vol 3 no 1, Winter 2004
  10. 1 2 3 "Our Apartheid State". Accessed: 4 April 2011. "The third racist decision was the one that banned Arab citizens of Israel from purchasing national land. Well, not all land, but only a part of it — Jewish National Fund land."
  11. Sarid, Yossi. "Yes, it is apartheid". Haaretz. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
  12. "In day-long Security Council meeting, Palestine observer says Israeli security wall involves de facto annexation of occupied land". Retrieved 26 March 2010. "How can these Israeli war crimes be appropriately described?" he asked. "Is this classic colonization? We believe it is worse than that. Is this a new apartheid system? We believe it is worse than that. It is a combination that has drawn upon these two ugly phenomena, amounting to the lowest level thinking of racist colonizers."
  13. 1 2 "A High Holidays Resource Guide" (PDF). The Jewish Federations of North America. Israel Action Network. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  14. "NGO 'Apartheid State' Campaign: Deliberately Immoral or Intellectually Lazy?". NGO Monitor. 22 March 2010. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  15. 1 2 The Apartheid Propaganda Gerald M. Steinberg
  16. 1 2 3 Alan Dershowitz, The Case Against Israel's Enemies: Exposing Jimmy Carter and Others Who Stand in the Way of Peace (New York: John Wiley, 2009), pp. 20–25, 28–29, 36, 44–48
  17. 1 2 E.g., see Sabel, Robbie: "The Campaign to Delegitimize Israel with the False charge of Apartheid" at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2009. Global Law Forum, at:; David Matas, Aftershock: Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism (Toronto: The Dunburn Group, 2005), pp. 53–55
  18. 1 2 "Truth, Lies & Stereotypes" (PDF). StandWithUs. Retrieved 29 December 2006.
  19. 1 2 Bard, Mitchell G. "Myth and Fact: Apartheid?". Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara / Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 8 November 2006.
  20. 1 2 Mitchel G, Bard (2008). "Israel Is Not An Apartheid State". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 5 April 2008.
  21. Please see references:[20][22][23]
  22. 1 2 It's Not Apartheid Michael Kinsley, The Washington Post, 12 December 2006
  23. Israel has its faults, but apartheid isn't one of them The Washington Post Richard Cohen, 2 March 2010
  24. Munayyer, Yousef (23 May 2012). "Not All Israeli Citizens Are Equal". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 April 2014.
  25. Laor, Yitzhak (17 January 2012). "Israeli Arabs have never been equal before the law". Haaretz. Retrieved 11 April 2014.
  26. White, Ben (20 December 2011). Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy. Pluto Press.
  27. 1 2 3 The Empire's New Walls: Sovereignty, Neo-liberalism, and the Production of Space in Post-apartheid South Africa and Post-Oslo Palestine/Israel. Andrew James Clarno. 2009. p. 66–67
  28. Shourideh C. Molavi,Stateless Citizenship: The Palestinian-Arab Citizens of Israel,BRILL 2013 p. 99, n. 118.
  29. Elia Zureik,The Palestinians in Israel: A Study in Internal Colonialism, Routledge & K. Paul, 1979 p. 16:'While official de jure apartheid of the African variety does not exist in Israel, national apartheid on the latent and informal levels ... is a characteristic feature of Israeli society.' cited by David Lyon 'Identification, colonialism, and control: surveillant sorting in Israel/Palestine', in Elia Zureik, David Lyon, Yasmeen Abu-Laban (eds.), Surveillance and Control in Israel/Palestine: Population, Territory and Power, Routledge 2011 pp. 49–65, p. 58
  30. Shourideh C. Molavi, Stateless Citizenship: The Palestinian-Arab Citizens of Israel,BRILL 2013 p. 99
  31. Settler policy imperils Israel's foundations, Financial Times, 21 February 2013: "Faced with widely drawn international parallels between the West Bank and the Bantustans of apartheid South Africa, senior figures in Mr Netanyahu's Likud party have begun to admit the danger."
  32. Obama urged: act tough on Israel or risk collapse of two-state solution (The Guardian, 19 March 2013)
  33. Palestinians draw parallels with Mandela's anti-apartheid struggle (The Guardian, 12 December 2013 "Comparisons between the former regime in South Africa and the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories have become relatively commonplace—not just by Palestinians and their supporters, but also among Israelis and the international community."
  34. 1 2 Gideon Levy (4 November 2000). "Republished as an excerpt of the original 28 October 2000 article in the Courrier International, under the title Au fil des jours, Périphéries explore quelques pistes – chroniques, critiques, citations, liens pointus : Israël-Palestine, revue de presse". Périphéries.
  35. According to the Milon and Masada dictionaries, hafrada translates into English as "separation", "segregation", "division", "severance", "disassociation" or "divorce". Milon: English Hebrew DictionaryAlcalai, Reuben (1981). The Complete Hebrew-English Dictionary. Masada.
  36. Undoing and Redoing Corpus Planning, Michael G. Clyne, p.403, "In the Language of "us" and "them" we could have expected an undoing when an integrative policy of the two communities was introduced. Obviously the [Peace] Process moves in the opposite direction: separation. Actually, one of the most popular arguments use by the government to justify its policy is the "danger" (“the demographic bomb”, “the Arab womb") of a “bi-national state" if no separation is made: the Process is thus a measure taken to secure the Jewish majority. The term ‘separation’ ‘’hafrada’’ has become extremely popular during the Process referring to fences built around Palestinian autonomous enclaves, to roads pave in the Territories exclusively for Israelis to the decrease of the number of Palestinians employed in Israel or allowed to enter into it altogether. The stereotypes of the Palestinian society as backward" have not changed either."
  37. Beyond the Two-State Solution: A Jewish Political Essay, Yehouda Shenhav, "Israel's present separation policy – known in Israel as hafrada, a Hebrew Word which can mean both segregation and separation – is a natural continuation of the cultural-political position designed by the new nostalgia and of the demographic project, which constitutes the continuation of the war through other means."
  38. 1 2 Esther Zandberg (28 July 2005). "Surroundings: Separation Seems to Have Spread Everywhere". Ha'aretz. Retrieved 2007-03-20.
  39. 1 2 3 4 5 Eric Rozenman (April & May 2001). "Today's Arab Israelis, Tomorrow's Israel: Why "Separation" Can't Be the Answer for Peace in Policy Review". Hoover Institution. Retrieved 2007-03-17. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  40. 1 2 3 Jeff Halper, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD). "Nishul (Displacement): Israel's form of Apartheid". Retrieved 2007-03-17.
  41. 1 2 3 Alain Epp Weaver (1 January 2007). "Further footnotes on Zionism, Yoder, and Boyarin". Cross Currents. Retrieved 2007-03-18.
  42. Mazin B. Qumsiyeh (28 June 2006). "Discussion on: Searching for Peace in the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict" (PDF). Institute of Strategic and Development Studies, Andreas Papandreou, University of Athens. Retrieved 2007-03-18.
  43. "Transcript from broadcast of The McLaughlin Group". The McLaughlin Group. Taped 24 May 2002 & broadcast 1 to 2 June 2002. Retrieved 2007-03-22. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  44. Ben Shani (19 January 2007). ""The Result of the Hafrada Policy is Quiet in Hebron, But All Await the Storm" (Hebrew)". Magazine (original from Channel 10 News).
  45. Fred Schlomka (28 May 2006). "Toward a Third Intifada". Common Dreams (originally published in The Baltimore Sun).
  46. 1 2 James Bowen (28 September 2006). "Making Israel Take Responsibility". Retrieved 2007-03-22.
  47. Cultural Autonomy in Contemporary Europe, edited by David J. Smith, Karl Cordell, "The Hebrew term Hafrada is the official descriptor of the policy of the Israeli Government to separate the Palestinian population in the territories occupied by Israel from the Israeli population, by means such as the West Bank barrier and the unilateral disengagement from those territories. The barrier is thus sometimes called gader ha'hafrada (separation fence) in Hebrew. The term Hafrada has striking similarities with the term apanheid, as this term mean 'apartness' in Afrikaans and Hafrada is the closest Hebrew equivalent."
  48. , Sunday Herald, 28 May 2006, "Even among Israelis, the term 'Hafrada', 'separation or apartheid in Hebrew' has entered the mainstream lexicon, despite strident denials by the Jewish state that it is engaged in any such process."
  49. 1 2 Neil Sandler (11 March 2002). "Israel: A Saudi Peace Proposal Puts Sharon in a Bind". Business Week Online.
  50. Tanya Reinhart (22 March 2004). "Israeli policy in Gaza: Sharon's Disengagement". Center for Research on Globalization.
  51. Aaron S. Klieman (15 January 2000). Compromising Palestine: A Guide to Final Status Negotiations. Columbia University Press. p. 1. ISBN 0-231-11789-2.
  52. , 13 January 2014, A/HRC/25/67, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967
  53. Times of Israel
  54. Reuters
  55. 1 2 3 4 5 Heriber, Adam & Moodley, Kogila. op cit. p. xiii.
  56. Adam, Heribert & Moodley, Kogila. op. cit. p. xv.
  57. Adam, Heribert & Moodley, Kogila. op. cit. p. 22.
  58. Adam, Heribert & Moodley, Kogila. op. cit. p. 25.
  59. Adam, Heribert & Moodley, Kogila. "Seeking Mandela: Peacemaking Between Israelis and Palestinians (2005) excerpt" (PDF)., University College London Press, p. 20f. ISBN 1-84472-130-2
    Second-class citizenship: "Above all, both Israeli Palestinians and Coloured and Indian South Africans are restricted to second-class citizen status when another ethnic group monopolizes state power, treats the minorities as intrinsically suspect, and legally prohibits their access to land or allocates civil service positions or per capita expenditure on education differently between dominant and minority citizens."
    "Mandela's vision succeeded because it evoked a universal morality. Common ideological and economic bonds existed between the antagonists inside South Africa. An outdated racial hierarchy eventually clashed with economic imperatives when the costs exceeded the benefits of racial minority rule in a global pariah state. In the Israeli case, outside support sustains intransigence. Only when the colonial policies of occupation embarrass and threaten their stronger patrons abroad or can no longer be so easily contained inside (as apartheid racial capitalism did in the Cold War competition) can outside pressure on Israel be expected. This turning of the tables will impact the Israeli public as much as outside perception is affected by visionary local leaders and events. Despite gains in global empathy, Palestinians are still at the mercy of a superior adversary in every respect, which even a Mandela would not have been able to overcome. In this impasse, hope is offered by Israeli progressive moral dissent on the Left as well as opportunistic calculations on the Right that the occupation harms the occupier. Israel has the capacity to reach a meaningful compromise, but has yet to prove its willingness. The Palestinian mainstream has the willingness, but lacks the capacity, to initiate a fair settlement."
  60. Adam, Heribert & Moodley, Kogila. op. cit. p. xvi.
  61. Adam, Heribert & Moodley, Kogila. op. cit. p. x.
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    "Israelis gather for mass anti-Netanyahu rally", Financial Times, 7 March 2015
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Further reading

  • Tilley, Virginia (ed). Beyond Occupation: Apartheid, Colonialism and International Law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. London, UK: Pluto Press, 2012.
  • Adam, Heribert and Kogila Moodley. Seeking Mandela : peacemaking between Israelis and Palestinians. Politics, history, and social change. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2005. ISBN 1-59213-395-9, ISBN 1-59213-396-7.
  • Carter, Jimmy. Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. Simon & Schuster, 2006. ISBN 0-7432-8502-6
  • Davis, Uri. Apartheid Israel: Possibilities for the Struggle Within. Zed Books, 2004. ISBN 1-84277-339-9
  • Greenstein, Ran (2010). "Israel/Palestine: Apartheid of a Special Type?". The Johannesburg Salon. 3. Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism. pp. 9–18. 
  • Lavie, Smadar. 2003. "Lily White Feminism and Academic Apartheid in Israel: Anthropological Perspectives.” Anthropology Newsletter, October:10–11.

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