Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Wednesday 2 November 2011

As The Kangaroo Court Prepares To Sit, "Nothing Remotely Like South African Apartheid" Affirms Left-Liberal Writer

A gullible misguided American threesome
My previous post highlights Judge Richard Goldstone's rejection of the apartheid slur regarding Israel.

Benjamin Pogrund, a former deputy editor of the Rand Daily Mail, and from what I've read of his online hardly "a rightwing Zionist", has written an article, aptly headed "Lies told about Israel are beyond belief," also showing up the slur for the misconceived nonsense that it is.

These ringing denunciations of the false and monstrous analogy made between Apartheid era South Africa and the State of Israel come as the Russell Tribunal on Palestine prepares to convene in Cape Town, as foreshadowed in this post of mine, where I liken it to a kangaroo court.

This self-styled "International Peple's Tribunal" intends to
“Consider whether Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people fits the international legal definitions of the crime of apartheid.” 
Read more about this Cape Town event in the interesting spot here:

Explains Benjamin Pogrund  in his article:

An identikit mature female BDSer
'I am writing this now because a flood of anti-Israel propaganda is about to pour over South Africa;
It is coming next month through the Russell Tribunal on Palestine.
The tribunal describes itself "as an International People's Tribunal created by a large group of citizens involved in the promotion of peace and justice in the Middle East". It meets in Cape Town on November 5, 6 and 7.
It's theatre: the actors know their parts and the result is known before they start. Israel is to be dragged into the mud.
If anyone is in any doubt, look at the players: almost without exception, everyone has a publicly known - and hostile - stance towards Israel. Their motivations might vary, but the message they pump is the same.
Words like "tribunal", "jury" and "findings" mislead. There will not be any calm and dispassionate consideration of facts and a desire to understand the complexities resulting from history and wars: a quick Google check tells the story, from the naked prejudices of such as Ronnie Kasrils and John Dugard, to Cynthia McKinney, the former US Congress member whose loss of her seat was attributed to her loopy ideas of a Washington role in the 9/11 terrorism.
Money is part of the game: it's expensive to fly lots of people around the world, to sessions already held in Barcelona and London, now in Cape Town, and the US still to come. The players surely do not stay in youth hostels or live on hamburgers. According to the organisers, the Cape Town event alone is budgeted at R2-million. A French publisher has given à100000. Who is paying the bulk of the huge costs? And why?
And is anyone conscious of the irony of this bit of play-acting while in Israel's northern neighbour, Syria, 3000 pro-democracy protestors have died and the killing continues?'
  His article, aptly headed "Lies Told About Israel Are Beyond Belief," observes:
'There is much passion among South Africans about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It's understandable. The struggle against white domination and apartheid was against ethnicity and tribalism. The aim was a united, nonracial South Africa.
Israel, to many South Africans, seems to run counter to this. They view it as an apartheid and racist state; some even say it's worse than apartheid. Its founding ideology, Zionism, is rejected as racism. It is pilloried as a colonialist oppressor of Palestinians.
But merely to believe, or even say, these things doesn't mean they are true. Repeating them over and over doesn't make them true.
Yelling slogans to the effect that "Israel is apartheid" and "Zionism is racism" doesn't make any of it true.
The accusations are not true. This year I spent three-and-a-half months in South Africa, mostly as a Visiting Fellow at the Kaplan Centre at the University of Cape Town, and day after day read condemnations of Israel. Some were justified: Israel is as imperfect a society as anywhere else; moreover, its occupation of the West Bank and siege of the Gaza Strip lay it wide open to criticism.
Yet the attacks go beyond reality. They depict a racist monster which does not exist. I was astonished by the lack of knowledge which leads even well-meaning people into unjustified and cockeyed attitudes. The widespread ignorance also opens the way to manipulation: there are people who, for reasons best known to them, are malevolent and hate-filled towards Israel; it's depressing to read their lies and distortions, and even more to find that they are believed.
A few examples: it is not true, as some claim, that the United Nations did not consult Arabs before voting for partition of Palestine, in November 1947. A UN committee of inquiry was followed by full debate in the General Assembly - and led to voting, with a two-thirds majority, to create an Arab state and a "Jewish state". Both the US and the Soviet Union backed it. Jews accepted partition, Arabs didn't, went to war, and lost. Israel is the UN-sanctioned "Jewish state".
 No one objects to Saudi Arabia having only Muslims as citizens. No one objects to Pakistan and Iran and others declaring themselves an "Islamic state". They are ethnic states. Israel is also an essentially ethnic states. Is it any less valid? Yet why is the "Jewish state" singled out for condemnation?
Equally the attacks on Zionism. Zionism grew at the end of the 19th century as the national liberation movement of the Jewish people and within half a century achieved success with Israel's creation. It has been as valid and successful as the liberation movements in Europe during the 19th century and those in Africa and Asia during the 20th century.
Much misunderstood is that Arabs are 20% of Israel's population. As a minority they suffer discrimination; that's wrong, but is hardly unique in the world. Crucially, however, they have the vote and all citizenship rights. On the other hand, Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza are not Israeli citizens and have no Israeli rights; the current international controversy is about them establishing an independent Palestinian state.
 Another accusation is that marriages across the lines are barred, like apartheid's Mixed Marriages Act. The truth is a long way from that and has to do with religious rules - Jewish, Muslim and Christian - going back to the Ottoman empire 100 years ago. Several thousand couples defy the restrictions every year and go abroad to marry; their marriages are legally recognised on their return to Israel.
This sort of distortion is repeated regarding land, education, health and every aspect of society. The bottom line is that there is nothing remotely like South African apartheid.'


  1. Here is the agenda of the "tribunal"
    South Africa Session Agenda

    And just consider this (not a joke) - the only speaker who is not named - just to give the impression that the Israli gov't is taking this Belgian initiative seriously:

    Presentation by Israeli Government
    16.40 Speaker to be confirmed by the Israeli Government.

    No wonder Nelson Mandela does not want to have anything to do with this charade.

  2. Thanks very much for that, Philo.

  3. I'd like to know a bit more about the marriage restrictions in Israel. I'd imagine it's something to do with the fact that each religious group makes its own civil laws? Any site you could point me to, or anything you could tell me youself, Daphne, would be helpful. Thanks

  4. I'm no expert on that, Anon - I suppose you've tried Wiki?

  5. Intermarriage between Jew and non-Jew is not permitted, though it does happen. The couple concerned 'ties the knot' in another country. They happily come back to Israel, where all is kosher

  6. To add to Shirl's comment; by Law marriages in Israel can only be performed by religious clerics (of any religion), thus none of them would marry two people outside their own (the clerics') religions.

    There is no facilty for civil meariage in Israel because of the opposition of the (Jewish) religious parties who offten provide the balance of power in the parliament, somwthing that manny Israelis resent.

    However civil marriages that were performed anywhere outside Israel are fully recognised by the state thus people of different religions can and do marry outside Israel in civil ceremoneis that are known as "Cyprus Weddings" (where most of those are performed).

  7. Thanks all. I just want to make sure that I always have answers prepared.


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