Israel Apartheid Week: Blaming the Jews

BLAMING the Jews has become a national sport in South Africa. Instead of taking the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to the next level and prosecuting perpetrators of crimes against humanity it has become convenient to simply blame the Jews for apartheid. The latest incident in which ANC Western Cape leader, Marius Fransman blamed Jews for taking business away from Muslims,  in a racist slur  where he justified sectarian slander by pointing to war crimes in Israel is but one example.  The unintended consequence of Israel-Apartheid week is that now apartheid never happened the way it did in South Africa, and its all the fault of the Jews.

This is not surprising since South Africa’s myopic judicial system insists that all Jews must be Orthodox and therefore Zionists. The Labour Court of South Africa’s steadfast refusal to admit expert evidence from a progressive female Rabbi is a case in point. My ongoing litigation following a complaint against an apartheid media company which refused to participate in the TRC is ample proof. It is thus interesting to witness the following incident in which 400 rabbis from around the world penned a letter asking Jerusalem police to protect women at the Western Wall who want to pray and read the Torah together. The issue of women’s rights in a largely Orthodox world has increasingly become a heated topic of debate in Israel, in which ultra-Orthodox communities still practice religious segregation where the women are separated from the men.

Islam also practices religious segregation, invoking apartheid according to the widely used second definition given by dictionaries. In Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to drive cars, however one does not see Muslims in South Africa battling to get into Jewish Day Schools and calling this apartheid. The idea of separating people according to gender and religion is not a new one. What is new, is the strange demand by Palestinians to Ur-like exclusive rights to the entire land formerly known as the British Mandate of Palestine, as if Palestinians are now the Chosen People of the Bible. Nevertheless, and in spite of this, I continue to support the rights of Palestinians to self-determination, but this solidarity comes at a price. A leading UK physicist,  professor Lawrence Krauss walked out of a debate earlier this week, one held by an Islamic group at the University Collage of London, in protest against gender segregation — a controversial move supported by well-known athiest, Richard Dawkins.

Israel has become a mirror image of apartheid South Africa. An inversion of the race segregation we experienced under the National Party. Like any mirror image, ones perception can be deceptive. The left ear is the right ear in the mirror. Your eyes are transposed, one half of the face, is now on the left and the other on the right.

So in Israel, and unlike South Africa, one sees ethnic-based “race segregation” the result of an armed struggle.  The partition barrier in the West Bank has been built subsequent to the uprising. The separation of Palestinians following their refusal to accept Israeli citizenship has all happened post-Intifada. A recent incident involving bus segregation in Haradi communities is revealing. It started out as a segregation issue involving women, and quickly escalated into a segregation issue involving Arabs and Jews. We thus have the strange reversal of the civil rights movement in which activism by people such as Rosa Parks is seen as the cause of the problem, not the solution.

In a recent address, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu said  the public domain must be kept “open and safe” for all Israeli citizens. In his view, Israel is a “mosaic” of Jews and Arabs – secular, religious and haredi.”

“Until now there was peaceful coexistence and mutual respect, recently there have been attempts to unravel that coexistence.”

The Israeli prime minister claims to be “strongly opposed” to separate seating for males and females on buses, and says that “marginal groups cannot be allowed to dismantle our common denominator.”

However in order to protect the rights of Haradi communities to observe religion in an antiquated, often repugnant way, at least to modern civilisation, Palestinian children are dying in the West Bank.

The IDF continues to occupy the territory in defiance of UN resolution 242. The dominant Likud party persists in offering war instead of peace, refusing to explain to the world why it is that Jews should be allowed to settle in the area once known as the Kingdom of Israel & Judah, in which Jewish artifacts are everywhere, including Rachel’s Tomb, a site holy to all three-monotheistic religions . The atrocities are mounting, so too the fall-out, as Jews become collectively responsible for apartheid.