- Paperback: 144 pages
- Publisher: Pluto Press (July 15, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0745328873
- ISBN-13: 978-0745328874
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 10.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.3 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 15 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,028,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner's Guide
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"Israeli Apartheid" begins with a discussion of the definition of apartheid, and how it applies to Israel. Part I provides a concise 30-page history of Israel and how the apartheid situation was created. The writings of Zionist leaders show that the expulsion of Arabs was always a part of the Zionist plan to create a Jewish state in a land where the indigenous people were not Jewish. Part II illustrates the current situation in Israel and in the Occupied Territories; the section about discrimination within Israel is particularly important because the topic is so rarely discussed. The final section provides a look at some organizations that are combating apartheid, such as the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, and strategies that people and organizations are using to nonviolently oppose Israel's violations of basic human rights.
Ben White abstains from the usual euphemistic language in discussing Israel's actions. What Jimmy Carter termed Israel's "confiscation of land," White calls "land theft." (When I interviewed Mairead Maguire, a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, she succinctly summarized the cause of the conflict: "They [the Israelis] are stealing the land"). While Carter declared that his use of "apartheid" only applies to the situation in the Occupied Territories, White demonstrates the reality of apartheid within Israel's recognized boundaries, bluntly declaring, "Israel...is a state for some of its citizens: Jews." He then proceeds to support the statement with ample evidence that will certainly shock Americans who are steadily bombarded with the declaration that "Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East."
My own experiences support White's conclusions. During my last visit to Israel and the Occupied Territories, Naim Ateek, an Anglican priest, and a Palestinian citizen of Israel, showed me and other visitors his home town of Beisan, now part of Israel, from which his family was expelled in 1948. Though he was born there, Ateek cannot live in Beisan, because he is not Jewish. A recent Israeli Supreme Court ruling affirmed the right of Israeli communities to decide which people will be allowed into their communities.
Ateek showed us a former Roman Catholic chapel, which is now used for meetings of the local Likud party. I wonder if the party faithful consider it a sort of trophy, like the five-hundred-year-old olive tree, uprooted from Palestinian land, that I saw planted at the entrance to one of the Jewish-only settlements. As White points out, "The open racism faced by Palestinian citizens of Israel is simply a result of the central contradiction inherent in the idea of a `Jewish democratic' state."