Mr. Goldstone: It’s Not Quite Apartheid— And Sometimes It’s Worse

Tikkun, November 17th, 2011


A Palestinian child in Gaza City sits beside the wreckage of a building destroyed in Israel's 2008/2009 assault on Gaza. / Photo Courtesy of Andreas Lunde


The situation in Israel/Palestine is not Apartheid. It is not a racist regime. It is precisely because Israel has not established a blatantly rigid regime that discriminates against all Palestinians equally, and because some of them have certain rights, that Israel has managed to present itself as a democracy and to justify the military occupation as legitimate defense. Politically speaking this is worse than Apartheid. It is worse because it is more sophisticated and flexible, much more easily adaptable to change. It is worse because it manages to divide and rule the Palestinians in a much more effective way. It is worse because the Palestinians cannot develop an effective and legitimate struggle: when they use violence, it is illegitimate, and when they use diplomacy, it is ineffective. And it is worse because it is impossible to even imagine a peaceful future based on justice and equality.

Israel’s incredible success in not establishing an Apartheid regime is the real problem. If we had an Apartheid regime, then both Israelis and Palestinians could at least imagine a possible future solution. And that is the real motivation of those who insist on comparing Israel to Apartheid: to promote the South African solution of “one man-one vote.” I do not believe that this is a viable solution, but the two-state solution is a false slogan designed for foreign consumption, completely detached from the facts created by forty-four years of occupation.

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