Israel – Whose Bantustan?

ONE of the claims made by apartheid revisionists, aside from their strange assertion that apartheid is somehow a Jewish conspiracy against the world, is that the Palestinian entities in the West bank and Gaza are similar to the apartheid-era bantustans, and thus the Jews, or at least Israelis, are somehow guilty of the crime of apartheid.

In an opinion piece published by Business Day, revisionist Allister Sparks complains about “the herding of the Palestinian majority (sic) into the equivalent of noncontiguous Bantustans that can never be viable, independent states and are in effect under Israeli military control.” Aside from the fact that Non-Jews are, for all intents and purposes, a minority in Israel, the country is in itself, the result of a UN Bantustan plan in which British Mandate Palestine was divided up several times. First into two halves resulting in the creation of the Palestinian majority state of Jordan and the proposed new Jewish Homeland, then again and again, until you have the three parts which we see today which include the satellites of West Bank and Gaza.

Jordan or Palestine? Can you tell the difference by looking at their flags?

Revisionists on the whole ignore the ongoing Jewish refugee problem created as a result of successive expulsions from the Holy land and places like Spain during the Inquisition and modern day Syria — demanding that we focus on the exclusive problems of only one group of more valued, displaced persons, and ignoring the subsequent Jewish refugee question following the two European world wars. South Africa’s own history bares testimony to the manner in which apartheid policies created by race supremacists and fascists were responsible for this refugee crisis.

On 1 May 1930. the parliament of the Union of South Africa passed an Immigration Quota Act, a law which was introduced into the house by the then Minister of the Interior, D F. Malan. The law effectively curtailed Jewish immigration to South Africa from Eastern Europe.

While boatloads of German Jews fleeing the Nazis were being turned back and Malan (still leader of the opposition) was openly supporting Adolf Hitler’s brown shirts, South Africa entered World War II on the side of the colonial powers which were responsible for the failed UN-sponsored Middle East partition plan. The tragic story of the voyage of the St. Louis. a German ocean liner most notable for an ill-fated journey in 1939, in which her captain, Gustav Schröder, tried to find homes for 937 German Jewish refugees is the subject of a well-known 1974 book called Voyage of the Damned.

Denied entry to Cuba, the United States as well as Canada, these refugees were finally accepted to various countries of Europe. Historians have estimated that, after their return to Europe, approximately a quarter of the ship’s passengers died in concentration camps.

After the war, South Africa embarked on its own tragic journey to D F Malan’s apartheid government. It is not insignificant that apartheid was introduced in the same year that Israel like the later Transkei, gained its independence from the Western powers. Several conferences on the Jewish refugee problem, most notably the Bermuda Conference and Evian Conference failed to resolve the problem of Jewish refugees, a fact widely used in Nazi propaganda.

Following the UN partition plan Jews were forcibly expelled from the Arab States and North Africa. Some 850 000 Jews lost their homes and property and were forced to flee to the new state of Israel, while some 472 000 Arabs*  were forced into the neighbouring Arab states and Jordan. The refugee problem remains with us today, along with the land question, as these states still refuse to return 100 000 square km of deeded property, land once owned by Arab Jews, and ancient Aramaic communities in Syria face renewed bombardment by missiles.

NOTE:  Arabs claim that 800,000 to 1,000,000 Palestinians became refugees in 1947-49. The last census was taken in 1945. It found only 756,000 permanent Arab residents in Israel. On November 30, 1947, the date the UN voted for partition, the total was 809,100. A 1949 Government of Israel census counted 160,000 Arabs living in the country after the war. This meant that no more than 650,000 Palestinian Arabs could have become refugees. A report by the UN Mediator on Palestine arrived at an even lower figure – 472,000.

  1. Significant departures from the political “truth” associated with the Jerusalem conflict1. East Jerusalem is the Capital of Palestine Under International Law, and the Corpus Separatum, the City of Jerusalem was to be an independent enclave. It was Jordan which occupied East Jerusalem 1946-1967, forceably removing Jewish communities which had been there for 1000 years. Subsequently Israel occupied Jerusalem 1967-current. See this twitter thread on Jewish East Jerusalem. The Jewish quarter was destroyed during the Jordanian occupation, including the Hurva synagogue and the adjacent Nachmanides synagogue, built in 1267 and also the Jewish cemetery. The Tifereth Israel synagogue was also destroyed. The tomb of Simeon the Righteous dating back to 2nd Century CE is right in the middle of what is now Sheik Jarrah. Batn Al-Hawa حي بطن الهوى the largest part of Silwan Jerusalem was established by Yemeni Jews in 1881. Jordan also destroyed the ancient Beth El Yeshiva in the Old City of Jerusalem, established in 1737. Beth El was the most influential of the mystical yehivas, led by Yemeni sage Rabbi Shalom Shar’abi zt”lMore importantly Jordan destroyed the ancient Sephardic Porath Yosef Yeshiva adjacent to the Western Wall, deliberately using explosives to remove all Jewish learning from the old City, exiling hundreds of students. This was not an attack on “Zionism”, but rather on the core of Judaism. Jews were not allowed to pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem between 1948-1967.2. There is a map showing how Israel has displaced PalestiniansMaps of Palestine provided by the Ottoman Railroad Company in the 1920s shows both banks of the Jordan, as do Arabic maps produced prior to WW1. While both the Ottomans and the British carved up territory in the Levant according to arbitrary districts, all related to centralisation of colonial power and rule, the area which is currently disputed is better described as “Western Palestine”, and forms some 25 585 km² to 28,000 km² under the British Mandate.Under Ottoman rule, the Palestinian territory was organized into three states, Jerusalem, Gaza and Nablus, all linked to the Damascus Province. Palestine, in the last period of the Ottoman Empire, was first linked to the state of Sidon, later to Syria and then to Beirut, which was founded in the last period. In 1220 Jacques de Vitry wrote in his History of Jerusalem: “And there are three Palestines, which are parts of Greater Syria.”The BDS map ignores the 1920 San Remo Conference which partitioned a former empire, and the later division of British Mandate Palestine and French Mandate Syria, which created TransJordan aka Hashemite Palestine and Syria (arguably, Syrian Palestine) with parcels of land going to Syria, Southern Lebanon and Jordan. It must be remembered that the Ottomans, supported Hitler and the Kaiser, and thus Germany in both world wars. Both Saudi Arabia’s Khalid Al Hud Al Gargani and Palestine’s Amin al-Husseini met and canvassed Hitler to deal with the “Jewish Problem”At 22 145 km², Israel occupies less than 18.45% of the area commonly referred to as The Levant, which covers the eastern shore-land of the Mediterranean, a stretch of land approximately 800 km long and approximately 150 km wide, with total mass of 120 000 km². In contrast the Arab World occupies some 13,132,327 km2The BDS map cynically ignores the 1949 Armistice line and the displacement of Arab Jews from Arab countries and their loss of land, some 100 000 square km of deeded property confiscated by Arab states. The map thus ignores the reality that part of British Mandate occupied by Jordan and Egypt was ethnically cleansed with no Jewish population left. Jewish inhabitants of communities like Gush Etzion, Hebron and Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem were absorbed by the new State of Israel.People who bandy around the BDS map invariably fail to compare Greece and Turkey and India/Pakistan, two examples where populations have been separated according to religion and ethnicity and involving population swaps. Sudan was recently partitioned between the north Arab half and the south African half. Ireland remains separated between the Protestant north and Catholic south.

    Pre WW1 Arabic Map3. Palestinians and Jews, each form a distinct race and the conflict is thus like apartheid. Nations are not races. While ethnicity plays a part, there is no science to back up either claim. Attributing race to Jews in order to make a false comparison with apartheid is racism and anti-Semitism. A 2020 academic paper on the question Is Replacement Theology Anti-Semitic? begins by defining anti-Semitism as’ normally understood as prejudice or hatred against Jewish people as a race’ before concluding that since Christianity doesn’t perceive the Jews as a race, Christian theology cannot, by definition be anti-Semitic. The infamous 1975 UN resolution 3379 ‘equating zionism with racism‘ was overturned by an overwhelming majority of nations in 1991. The same assertion was voted out of the final text of the controversial 2001 Durban Conference on Racism and the text reaffirmed at Durban II. A highly flawed 2017 UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) report examining the policies of Israel within the context of a UN definition of apartheid, admits the error of race, proceeds to supply ​”reasons for the error of comparison” ​and states, there is ‘no single, authoritative, global definition of any race’ at the same time that it attributes race characteristics to Jews for the purposes of analysis. The same category error appears in an equally flawed 2009 local HSRC report written around the time of Durban II. While the policies of Israel may be reprehensible and morally indefensible (see Goldstone Report withdrawn in part), their root cause is not race, (a loaded term) but rather the confluence of ​religion and nationality and in particular, religious schism which results in nationality on the basis of religion​, a fact common to many Middle Eastern countries. See: Human Rights Watch founder Robert Bernstein statement slamming the organisation’s handling of Israel 4. Arab Israelis do not possess the vote.They are allowed to vote in the Knesset, however Arabs living in the area controlled by the Palestinian Authority do not. This is a major and significant human rights issue. No physical wall was ever built by the apartheid state. Bantustan leaders were puppets of Pretoria at best. None of the bantustans ever waged war against the central government. If the PA is not an apartheid bantustan except in metaphor, what is it? Like South Africa’s North West province, it may be seen as a de facto internal province caught up in armed insurrection against the central government, the Israeli state. A position of statelessness, pacification and occupation. The same goes for Gaza, arguably, a subsidiary or satellite of both Egypt, Israel and Iran. How can this be solved? A plurinational, overlapping state solution, and involving neighbours Egypt and Jordan, would do a lot to resolve friction while ensuring independence and the maintenance of human rights. Reasonable accommodation of differences in faith and religious outlook is a prerequisite. Keep an open mind.5. The conflict has nothing to do with religion.The conflict surrounding the final status of Jerusalem has been ongoing for centuries, involves different versions of monotheism dating back to the crusades, and predates the creation of the modern state of Israel. The worst part of it. We must not allow it to become a binary conflict and permanent war around race, ethnicity and religion.6. The majority Arab Palestinians were displaced in 1948 by a white minority, and the result is the Nakba or catastrophe.Focusing on the 700 000 displaced persons, removed from the Jewish side of Palestine under UN mandate, adding them to some 250 000 Arabs who had chosen to move to the Arab Palestine half, and forgetting that some 850,000 Arab Jews were displaced and dispossessed from Arab countries such as Iraq and Yemen at the same time, results in Nakba inflation. An inflation which also ignores the return of hundreds of thousands of black Ethiopian Jews. Forcible transfer of populations was a factor of the Ottoman and Persian Empires. Palestine 1920, an Al-Jazeera documentary unwittingly shows how the creation of a railroad in the 1920s allowed thousands of immigrants from all over the Ottoman Empire to migrate to what was then, a sparsely populated territory. Focusing on the Nakba also renders earlier pogroms against Jews such as the successive Safed pogroms and Hebron Massacre, invisible. See Farhud Day, a commemoration of the dispossession of Baghdad Jews.7. Israel is the result of the Balfour Declaration, a colonial enterprise at best. The country unilaterally declared its independence during the war of 1948, and the situation under Benjamin Netanyahu may be likened to UDI in Rhodesia. However unlike Rhodesia, it is only certain Arab states which refuse to accept the existence of Israel. Likewise the internal friction between black Mizrahi and white Ashkenazi and Separdhi Jews bares no similarity to the conflict between the majority Shona and the white regime of Ian Smith. The Belfour view also ignores the earlier Sykes–Picot Agreement and the later Weizmann Faisal Agreement and San Remo Conference, and is used to argue the disaster of colonialism, while ignoring the tragedy of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Significantly, it was King Abdullah of Jordan who proposed that he become ‘King of Palestine’ at the 1948 Jericho conference, a move opposed by Nazi-collaborator, Amin al-Husseini’s All-Palestine government. Fatah later attempted a coup in Jordan, in an event known as Black September (1970) and were thrown out of Jordan, resulting in the fraudulent “Palestine within Palestine” narrative we see today. A narrative which ignores the reality of territory apportioned under Mandate Palestine. It was Jewish Palestine (Western Palestine) which became independent in 1948, (hence an early Palestinian flag bares the Magen David) whilst it is the Pan-Arab flag, a flag common to Jordan,Western Sahara and Syria’s Ba’ath Party not the “Palestinian flag” which is carried around at BDS rallies.
    1924 Palestinian Flag
    8. Hamas and Fatah are the equivalent of the ANC and PAC during the struggle.“Support for Yasser Arafat and his struggle does not mean that the ANC has ever doubted the right of Israel to exist as a state, legally.” Nelson Mandela, Ted Koppel Show 1990.While all these parties are for the most part, nationalistic, the ANC is the only secular party which has until now, consistently supported civil rights for all persons in the region. The other parties raising the Pan Arab flag waved around at Pro-Palestine rallies, are mostly theocratic nationalist movements, and only resemble other movements insomuch as Arab autonomy in the region is concerned. Fatah is nominally secular insofar as divergence within Islam is concerned and thus tolerates other groups, (see Dhimmitude). Embarrassingly, Hamas was forced in 2017 to amend its charter advocating death for all Jews, to death for only Zionist Jews, to bring its objectives more in line with the Fatah Movement which supports the borders of 1967. More importantly, the ANC had an end-game strategy involving compromises, no such strategy is evident amongst the Palestinians. It was the National Party which opposed LGBTIQ+ rights, and supported the death penalty, not the ANC. No Gay Pride for Gaza, ditto Palestinian feminist group Aswat, based only in Haifa. There is thus a qualitative difference between these two struggles, one backed by the Freedom Charter, the other by religious texts and history books associated with previous Empires. The result is Injustice v Injustice.9. Israel supported the apartheid regime until the bitter end.While Israel was slow to act on sanctions against South Africa, and collaborated with the regime on nuclear weapons, it severed such ties in 1987. “There is no room for discrimination, whether it’s called apartheid or any other name”, then foreign minister Shimon Peres said in the New York Times. “We repeat that we express our denunciation of the system of apartheid. The Jewish outlook is that every man was born in the image of God and created equal.” The assertion ignores the role played by Western countries such as Thatcher’s Britain in supporting apartheid, or the fact that Zionists stood trial in South Africa for opposing apartheid, it also avoids the actual commonality, pariah status, in many ways similar to the position of Taiwan today. In many respects the Palestinian cause shares common ground, not with the South African struggle but rather with the Anglo Boer War, “one of the great liberal and left-wing causes of the late 19th century.” Ignoring obvious chauvinism, Afrikaners were seen “as stout peasant farmers, standing up to the might of British imperialism. Across the world, funds were raised for the Boer cause.”10. Police brutality proves apartheidAnother vector of comparison involves simple illustration of similarities in military hardware and tactics deployed by the apartheid state. Thus crude police brutality in the face of widespread civilian unrest is used as evidence alone to prove a point by way of analogy and resemblance. The same measures may be seen during the Egyptian uprising and other states such as Syria where revolts have occurred and do not in themselves prove apartheid. PA citizens are not fighting to become Israelis but perversely fomenting insurrection based upon what may be termed ‘replacement theology’. The Swiss cheese problem of the West Bank is thus a result of counter-measures to deal with a supersessionist uprising (one which seeks to replace Israel with an Arab State), all in the face of population pressure and a general failure to deal with mutual land issues, resulting in polarisation on either side.11. We must choose sides, since standing on the fence is tantamount to support for apartheidDuring the anti-apartheid struggle where the issues were black and white, standing on the fence was inappropriate. The opposite is true in the Middle East. Declining to support religious conflict, withdrawing from waging war in the name of religion, supporting freedom for all people, defending secularism and seeking to uphold civil rights in our own country, alongside the victories of the non-aligned movement when it comes to the current East-West brinkmanship and Super-power hegemony, is the only peaceful path forward. Nelson Mandela was perhaps the best spokesperson for this position.We are all hostages to this ongoing conflict. The time to stand up for secular rights and freedoms, non-alignment and world peace, is now.[page updated 3/1/23][youtube this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading…Related
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  2. […] controlled by the Palestinian Authority do not. This is a major human rights issue. If the PA is not an apartheid bantustan what is it? Like South Africa’s North West province, it may be seen as a de facto internal […]

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