Patrick Wolfe (VIC) responds to The Australian re the Marrickville saga 25Mar11 March 26, 2011

Anyone who compares Israel’s treatment of occupied Palestinians to apartheid South Africa’s treatment of non-whites is instantly subjected to an avalanche of personal denigration and factual misinformation by Israel’s well orchestrated army of propagandists. The current Marrickville election fiasco provides a case in point, with numerous Israel supporters asserting that the apartheid comparison is mischievous and baseless. Israel, they claim, is an open democracy, the idea that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is racist being a fallacy attributed to the machinations of their tired list of villains – the loony left, anti-Semites, self-hating Jews, etc.

Curiously, these self-appointed authorities on apartheid seem to know more about that system of racial oppression than those who actually endured it. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, for instance, has repeatedly condemned Israel’s treatment of Palestinians as a re-enactment of apartheid, a stance that has been endorsed by former South African President Nelson Mandela. Indeed, when an ANC delegation visited the West Bank to investigate the allegation that Israel was practicing apartheid, they concluded that West Bank Palestinians, who are enduring the longest military occupation in modern history, were suffering WORSE treatment than they themselves had experienced in the darkest days of the apartheid regime.

The Israel lobby’s disregard for historical truth attained its nadir in the systematic campaign of vilification that greeted the appearance, in 2006, of ex-President Jimmy Carter’s book ‘Palestine, Peace Not Apartheid’. No stone was left unturned in the attempt to discredit this careful analysis of Israeli policy, from which Carter too concluded that Israel’s policies were worse than those of apartheid South Africa. In his case, though, the Israel lobby had met its match. As the architect of the 1978 Camp David peace accord between Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat and Israel’s Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Carter’s credentials concerning the question of Palestine could hardly be stronger.

Carter, Tutu, Mandela, the ANC and innumerable authorities who have studied the facts objectively cannot be dismissed out of hand. The Israel lobby will bluster on, but the consensus among those with real knowledge is becoming increasingly clear. Israel is an apartheid state.


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