Skip to comments.The Middle East's real apartheid
Posted on 03/05/2012 2:25:09 PM PST by bayouranger
In light of Israel Apartheid Week, which hit cities and campuses throughout the world recently, supporters of the Jewish state find it difficult to agree on the best response to this hate fest. Some suggest emphasizing Israel's peacemaking efforts, others propose rebranding the country by highlighting its numerous achievements and success stories. Still others advocate reminding the world of "what Zionism is a movement of Jewish national liberation and what it isn't racist." Each of these approaches has its merits yet none will do the trick.
Peace seeking and/or prosperity are no proof of domestic benevolence and equality. The most brutal regimes have peacefully coexisted with their neighbors while repressing their own populations; the most prosperous societies have discriminated against vulnerable minorities. South Africa was hardly impoverished and technologically backward; the United States, probably the most successful and affluent nation in recent times was largely segregated not that long ago.
Nor for that matter is the apartheid libel driven by forgetfulness of Zionism's true nature. It is driven by rejection of Israel's very existence. No sooner had the dust settled on the Nazi extermination camps than the Arabs and their western champions equated the Jewish victims with their tormentors.
"To the Arabs, indeed Zionism seems as hideous as anything the Nazis conceived in the way of racial expansion at the expense of others," read a 1945 pamphlet by the Arab League, the representative body of all Arab states. A pamphlet published by the PLO shortly after its creation in 1964 stated: "The Zionist concept of the 'final solution' to the 'Arab problem' in Palestine, and the Nazi concept of the 'final solution' to the 'Jewish problem' in Germany, consisted essentially of the same basic ingredient: the elimination of the unwanted human element in question."
Indeed, it was the Palestinian terror organization that invented the apartheid canard in the mid-1960s, years before Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.
This charge, of course, is not only completely false but the inverse of the truth. If apartheid is indeed a crime against humanity, Israel actually is the only apartheid-free state in the Middle East a state whose Arab population enjoys full equality before the law and more prerogatives than most ethnic minorities in the free world, from the designation of Arabic as an official language to the recognition of non-Jewish religious holidays as legal days of rest.
By contrast, apartheid has been an integral part of the Middle East for over a millennium, and its Arab and Muslim nations continue to legally, politically and socially enforce this discriminatory practice against their hapless minorities.
Why then should an innocent party be under constant pressure to "come clean" while the real culprits are not only left unscathed but also given a worldwide platform to blame others for their own crimes? Rather than engage in incessant apologetics and protestations of innocence, something Jews have been doing for far too long, Israel should adopt a proactive strategy, call a spade a spade and target the real perpetrators of Middle East apartheid: the region's Arab and Muslim nations.
Arab/Muslim apartheid comes in many forms, and some victims have been subjected to more than one.
Religious intolerance: Muslims historically viewed themselves as distinct from, and superior to, all others living under Muslim rule, known as "dhimmis." They have been loath to give up this privileged status in modern times. Christians, Jews and Baha'is remain second-class citizens throughout the Arab/Muslim world, and even non-ruling Muslim factions have been oppressed by their dominant co-religionists (e.g. Shi'ites in Saudi Arabia, Sunnis in Syria). *
Ethnic inequality: This historic legacy of intolerance extends well beyond the religious sphere. As longtime imperial masters, Arabs, Turks and Iranians continue to treat long-converted populations, notably Kurds and Berbers, that retained their language, culture and social customs, as inferior. *
Racism: The Middle East has become the foremost purveyor of anti-Semitic incitement in the world with the medieval blood libel widely circulated alongside a string of modern canards (notably The Protocols of the Elders of Zion) depicting Jews as the source of all evil.
Likewise, Africans of sub-Saharan descent are held in deep contempt, a vestige of the region's historic role as epicenter of the international slave trade. *
Gender discrimination: Legal and social discrimination against women is pervasive throughout the Arab-Islamic world, accounting for rampant violence (for example domestic violence or spousal rape are not criminalized) and scores of executions every year, both legal and extra-judicial (i.e. honor killings). Discrimination against homosexuals is even worse. *
Denial of citizenship: The withholding of citizenship and attendant rights from a large segment of the native-born population is common. Palestinian communities in the Arab states offer the starkest example of this discrimination (in Lebanon, for example, they cannot own property, be employed in many professions, move freely, etc.). The Beduin (stateless peoples) in the Gulf states, and hundreds of thousands of Kurds in Syria have been subjected to similar discrimination. *
Labor inequality: Mistreatment of foreign workers (especially household servants), ranging from sexual abuse to virtual imprisonment and outright murder, is widely tolerated throughout the Middle East, especially in oil-exporting countries that host large expatriate labor forces. *
Slavery: The Arabic-speaking countries remain the world's foremost refuge of slavery, from child and sex trafficking in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states to actual chattel slavery in Sudan and Mauritania. Indeed, Islamists throughout the Middle East have had no qualms advocating the legalization of slavery. *
Political Oppression: Many Middle Eastern regimes are little more than elaborate repressive systems aimed at perpetuating apartheid-style domination by a small minority: Alawites in Syria; Tikritis in Saddam's Iraq; the Saudi royal family; the Hashemite dynasty in Jordan.
Possibly the world's most arresting anachronism, these endemic abuses have until now escaped scrutiny and condemnation. Western governments have been loath to antagonize their local authoritarian allies, while the educated classes have absolved Middle Easterners of responsibility for their actions in the patronizing tradition of the "white man's burden," dismissing regional players as half-witted creatures, too dim to be accountable for their own fate.
It is time to denounce these discriminatory practices and force Arab/Muslim regimes to abide by universally accepted principles of decency and accountability. This will not only expose the hollowness of the Israel delegitimization campaign but will also help promote regional peace and stability.
History has shown that gross and systemic discrimination is a threat not just to the oppressed minorities, but also to the political health of the societies that oppress them. Only when Arab and Muslim societies treat the "other" as equal will the Middle East, and the rest of the Islamic world, be able to transcend its malaise and look forward to a real political and social spring.
Slavery: The Arabic-speaking countries remain the world's foremost refuge of slavery, from child and sex trafficking in Saudi Arabia (OUR FILTHY FRIENDS) and the Gulf states to actual chattel slavery in Sudan and Mauritania. Indeed, Islamists throughout the Middle East have had no qualms advocating the legalization of slavery.
The following essay was written in 1988 by Rabbi Meir Kahane, only a couple of years before he was murdered by an Arab terrorist, Egyptian-born El Sayyid Nosair, who not only was convicted of his murder but also of conspiracy in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
It appears that you are hard to please. I understand that you are upset over us, here in Israel. Indeed, it appears that you are quite upset, even angry and outraged? Indeed, every few years you seem to become upset over us. Today, it is the brutal repression of the Palestinians; yesterday, it was Lebanon; before that it was the bombing of the nuclear reactor in Baghdad and the Yom Kippur War campaign. It appears that Jews who triumph and who, therefore, live, upset you most extraordinarily.
Of course, dear world, long before there was an Israel, we, the Jewish people - upset you. We upset a German people who elected a Hitler and we upset an Austrian people who cheered his entry into Vienna and we upset a whole slew of Slavic nations - Poles, Slovaks, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Russians, Hungarians, Romanians. And we go back a long, long way in the history of world upset. We upset the Cossacks of Chmielnicki who massacred tens of thousands of us in 1648-49; we upset the Crusaders who, on their way to liberate the Holy Land, were so upset at Jews that they slaughtered untold numbers of us. We upset, for centuries, a Roman Catholic Church that did its best to define our relationship through Inquisitions. And we upset the arch-enemy of the Church, Martin Luther, who, in his call to burn the synagogues and the Jews within them, showed an admirable Christian ecumenical spirit.
It is because we became so upset over upsetting you, dear world, that we decided to leave you - in a manner of speaking - and establish a Jewish State. The reasoning was that living in close contact with you, as resident-strangers in the various countries that comprise you, we upset you, irritate you, disturb you. What better notion, then, than to leave you and thus love you - and have you love us? And so we decided to come home - to the same homeland from which we were driven out 1,900 years earlier by a Roman world that, apparently, we also upset.
Alas, dear world, it appears that you are hard to please. Having left you and your Pogroms and Inquisitions and Crusades and Holocausts, having taken our leave of the general world to live alone in our own little state - we continue to upset you.
You are upset that we repress the poor Palestinians. You are deeply angered over the fact that we do not give up the lands of 1967, which are clearly the obstacle to peace in the Middle East. Moscow is upset and Washington is upset. The Arabs are upset and the gentle Egyptian moderates are upset. Well, dear world, consider the reaction of a normal Jew from Israel. In 1920, 1921 and 1929, there were no territories of 1967 to impede peace between Jews and Arabs. Indeed, there was no Jewish State to upset anybody. Nevertheless, the same oppressed and repressed Palestinians slaughtered hundreds of Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa, Safed and Hebron. Indeed, 67 Jews were slaughtered one day in Hebron - in 1929.
Dear World, why did the Arabs - the Palestinians - massacre 67 Jews in one day in 1929? Could it have been their anger over Israeli aggression in 1967? And why were 510 Jewish men, women and children slaughtered in Arab riots in 1936-39? Was it because of Arab upset over 1967? And when you, World, proposed a U.N. Partition Plan in 1947 that would have created a Palestinian State alongside a tiny Israel and the Arabs cried and went to war and killed 6,000 Jews - was that upset stomach caused by the aggression of 1967? And, by the way, dear world, why did we not hear your cry of upset then?
The poor Palestinians who today kill Jews with explosives and firebombs and stones are part of the same people who - when they had all the territories they now demand be given them for their state - attempted to drive the Jewish State into the sea. The same twisted faces, the same hate, the same cry of “idbah-al-yahud” - “Slaughter the Jews!” that we hear and see today, were seen and heard then. The same people, the same dream - destroy Israel. What they failed to do yesterday, they dream of today - but we should not “repress” them.
Dear World, you stood by the Holocaust and you stood by in 1948 as seven states launched a war that the Arab League proudly compared to the Mongol massacres. You stood by in 1967 as Nasser, wildly cheered by wild mobs in every Arab capital in the world, vowed to drive the Jews into the sea. And you would stand by tomorrow if Israel were facing extinction. And since we know that the Arabs-Palestinians daily dream of that extinction, we will do everything possible to remain alive in our own land. If that bothers you, dear world, well - think of how many times in the past you bothered us. In any event, dear world, if you are bothered by us, here is one Jew in Israel who could not care less.
And here is one MORE Jew who could care even less!
Count this Ro-Cat in with you!
Much of the criticism leveled at Israel is Israel’s own fault, but from an unusual direction.
Faced with an intransigent and hateful enemy that pledges nothing less than extermination genocide, and has tried to carry this out several times, Israel has *not* responded like every other nation in the world would have responded: by driving out the hateful enemy for good.
If a man’s house is filled with aggressive sewer rats, that repeatedly bite him and his family, yet he is convinced that if he is nice to them they will respond in kind, what should his neighbors think?
To make matters worse, by trying to be nice to the rats, using his home as a base, they make themselves a pest to his neighbors. Also annoying his neighbors, he complains about the rats incessantly, but does nothing about them, other than gently shooing them with a broom when they become too obnoxious.
He is a bad neighbor because he does not keep a good house.
So year after year, decade after decade, his neighbors are annoyed by the rats, his complaints, yet his passionate refusal to do anything about it, because he doesn’t want to make the rats *mad* at him, or his neighbors to think he is unkind to rats.
Israel must be unkind to its rats if it is to survive. It must stop playing its foolish game of trying to “go along to get along”, and that by giving the rats things they will stop being rats.
Were Israel to boot out the Palestinians: Gazans to Egypt and West Bank inhabitants to Jordan, yes, Israel would get hated at for a year or two.
BUT THAT WOULD BE THE END OF IT. No longer would the Palestinians torment Israel and strive to destroy it. The Egyptians and Jordanians would not stand for such nonsense.
And Israel would finally again have peace. At least until the next batch of Muslims decides to attack it.
So you are saying....
“Kahane was right.”
Yes, he damn sure was....and my frustration knows no bounds.
I see it as a basic problem of philosophy, the best analogy of which existed during the Cold War.
The West rewarded its successful scientists with lots of money for technological innovation. But the Soviet Union was too poor to do that, so they used the Asiatic technique of first taking away everything from their scientists, and rewarding them with very small things for their discoveries, like an extra blanket at night, or an extra potato at lunch. Never more money.
Israelis have a thousand, ten thousand thing they enjoy about life, and think that all they have to do is offer Muslims the right combination of things, and they can buy the peace.
But the way Islam is set up, the *only* thing a Muslim can do to achieve success is to acquire land, that will forever after be “Muslim land”. If they just keep the land they have they are mediocre, and if they lose land to infidels, they are a shame to everyone. They are totally focused on this, and anything else, even the prosperity and lives of their own family, are meaningless compared to it.
They are so wacky about it that they still claim a large part of Spain, which they lost over 500 years ago, and demand back, as “rightfully theirs”, because it was once “Muslim land”, they conquered it fair and square. They insist that some day they will own the entire world, and fantasize about it frequently.
Even today, when they negotiate, they harp on this continually. They want every millimeter of Israel, and they don’t care how they get it. The one thing the Israelis will not give, the Muslims demand. Yet they are deaf to the Muslim demands.
Which brings me back to the western and Asian way of doing business. Since the one thing Israel cannot give is all its land, its only alternative is to do what the Russians did.
Take land away. Each and every time the Muslims attack, Israel must take land away from them. It doesn’t have to be a whole lot, but it must be taken with a very clear purpose: “No matter what else happens, this land will never, ever, again be ‘Muslim land’. Even if it lies fallow and is used solely as a bombing range by the IAF, Muslims will never again live on it, and be able to claim it as their own.”
And even if Israel took the equivalent of a football field of empty desert land, the Muslims would scream like they were having their fingernails pulled out with pliers.
Their feigned anguish would be operatic, and they would scream, plead, beg, threaten, demand, and threaten again that this *sacred* land must be returned to them immediately. But this is the one thing Israel could never do, because it would drive the Muslims into a feeding frenzy to demand more land.
The worst part is that the international community are just as oblivious. They would demand that Israel return that “tiny piece of worthless desert”, thinking that it would mollify the Muslims, and deride Israel for being stubborn.
But only if Israel was absolutely stubborn would it win. For it could then issue an ultimatum that for each and every act of Muslim violence carried out against it, it would take *another* small piece of land. And another, and another.
Eventually, if they could not control themselves, the Muslims would be pushed out of the Gaza Strip, and even the West Bank, entirely. Most importantly, never to return.
The only possibility they would continue to have to dwell there would be peace. And since Muslims utterly reject peace, accepting only armistice as they calculate their next acts of aggression, this would not happen.
Finally, Israel could extend the offer to its Arab neighbors. If they commit acts of violence against Israel, they too should expect to lose land as the price. Each and every time. Jews will likely never live there, but no one else ever will, either. And Israel cannot be blamed if fools decide to squat on their bombing ranges.
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