Monday, January 22, 2007

Israelis, Jimmy Carter and Apartheid

Hebron settlers attack a Palestinian passerby

By Tony Karon

"Jimmy Carter has been branded as everything from an agent of Saudi Arabia to a cyrpto anti-Semite in a campaign of unprecedented hysteria by a Zionist establishment desperate to squelch any discussion in America of the moral implications of Israel’s apartheid policies in the West Bank and Gaza. So what, one imagines, would the same apparatus of Orwellian obfuscation, denial and diversion make of Tommy Lapid. Never mind apartheid, Lapid last week compared the actions of the Hebron settlers who regularly and viciously abuse the town’s Palestinian majority to the behavior of European anti-Semites in the early Nazi era. It’s entirely appropriate that someone draw attention to the vicious racism of the Hebron settlers, but you’d imagine the Alan Dershowitz-Marty Peretz crowd would turn its talk show artillery on anyone comparing Israelis to Nazis and their ilk. Except that Tommy Lapid was a member of Ariel Sharon’s cabinet, and is currently the chairman of the council of Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum.

Like I always said, the U.S. public debate over Israel is so heavily policed by berserk denialists (not of the Holocaust, but of the idea that Israel is capable of oppression) like Dershowitz that it would brand the views of much of the Israeli political spectrum as unacceptable, even “anti-Semitic.” To be sure, if Haaretz was an American paper, the Carter-bashing crowd would have probably tried to shut it down.

Indeed, while most of the mainstream media in the U.S. typically steered clear of any serious discussion of the issues raised by Carter’s title — preferring to cover the events engineered by the Carter bashers such as the resignation of 14 of the 200 members of Carter’s advisory board — there were plenty of Israelis willing to step up to the plate in their own media and confirm, as Yitzhak Rabin’s education minister Shulamit Aloni bluntly stated, that Israel maintains an apartheid regime over the Palestinian territories. And, I think, Aloni nails the reason why the Peretz-Dershowitz crowd, as well as liberal commentators like Michael Kinsley who really ought to know better, went into paroxysms of denial when Carter stated the obvious. She writes:

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. Its army has turned every Palestinian village and town into a fenced-in, or blocked-in, detention camp. All this is done in order to keep an eye on the population’s movements and to make its life difficult. Israel even imposes a total curfew whenever
the settlers, who have illegally usurped the Palestinians’ land, celebrate their holidays or conduct their parades.

If that were not enough, the generals commanding the region frequently issue further orders, regulations, instructions and rules (let us not forget: they are the lords of the land). By now they have requisitioned further lands for the purpose of constructing “Jewish only” roads. Wonderful roads, wide roads, well-paved roads, brightly lit at night - all that on stolen land. When a Palestinian drives on such a road, his vehicle is confiscated and he is sent on his way.

On one occasion I witnessed such an encounter between a driver and a soldier who was taking down the details before confiscating the vehicle and sending its owner away. “Why?” I asked the soldier. “It’s an order - this is a Jews-only road”, he replied. I inquired as to where was the sign indicating this fact and instructing [other] drivers not to use it. His answer was nothing short of amazing. “It is his responsibility to know it, and besides, what do you want us to do, put up a sign here and
let some antisemitic reporter or journalist take a photo so he that can show the world that Apartheid exists here?”........."


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