Critics of the Israeli government often refer to it as an “apartheid” state. This is understandably met with harsh reproach by the “pro-Israel” crowd. Anytime one uses the word “apartheid,” images of the cruel, racist apartheid South Africa regime immediately follow. Clearly, nobody wants to be compared to the unjust regime that Nelson Mandela spent much of his life fighting to dismantle.
But when you are dealing with a state that applies different legal standards to groups of people under its jurisdiction based on their ethnicity, it is difficult to know what else to call it [other than apartheid - emphasis mine]. +972 Magazine has an excellent series called Visualizing Occupation, in which they showcase exactly how Israel’s legal system treats Palestinian and Israeli citizens differently for the same behavior. Avner Gvaryahu, an Israeli citizen and former IDF soldier, described his experience in frank terms:
We created a situation [in the Palestinian Territories] that, de facto, there is never a possibility for equality. You’re talking about … together with East Jerusalem … half a million Jewish settlers that are under Israeli civilian law. And two and a half million Palestinians that are under army law, under martial law … they’ll never be equal. If you have two people who meet in the heart of Hebron, both at the same exact moment, pick up a rock and throw it at each other, and one is Palestinian and one is Israeli, the Israeli will be tried under civilian law. The Palestinian will be tried as a Terrorist, for doing the exact same thing.
Judith Butler (who is Jewish), noted back in February:
Presently, there are at least twenty laws that privilege Jews over Arabs within the Israeli legal system. The 1950 Law of Return grants automatic citizenship rights to Jews from anywhere in the world upon request, while denying that same right to Palestinians who were forcibly dispossessed of their homes in 1948 or subsequently as the result of illegal settlements and redrawn borders. Human Rights Watch has compiled an extensive study of Israel’s policy of “separate, not equal” schools for Palestinian children. … Palestinians are barred from military service, and yet access to housing and education still largely depends on military status. Families are divided by the separation wall between the West Bank and Israel, with few forms of legal recourse to rights of visitation and reunification. The Knesset debates the “transfer” of the Palestinian population to the West Bank, and the new loyalty oath requires that anyone who wishes to become a citizen pledge allegiance to Israel as Jewish and democratic, thus eliding once again the non-Jewish population and binding the full population to a specific and controversial, if not contradictory, version of democracy.
This unequal treatment before the law is one of the problems with establishing a state where the welfare of one group of citizens is placed above all others in a nation state…
Glenn Greenwald: Can an act of violence be called ‘terrorism’ if the motive is unknown?
another excellent article from greenwald. the last update is particularly telling:
The New York Times today reports that “United States officials said they were increasingly certain that the two suspects had acted on their own, but were looking for any hints that someone had trained or inspired them.”
i have no doubt the search for “hints [of] inspiration” will lead to justifications for heightened security alerts, greater police numbers, more aggressive targetting of minorities, less civil liberties. or i could be wrong and our leaders might become inspired by justice and truth once more…
MUST WATCH: Oakland PD draws guns on two black men just walking down the street
August 1, 2012
Livestreamer @BellaEiko caught two Oakland police officers drawing their guns on two men who were walking across the street live. Officers tell them to get down to the ground before both men are detained.
“Would you all have done him like Alan Blueford?” she asks. “This is what happens when you’re black & walking down the street in Oakland.”
It’s horrifying how many police stories we’ve been posting lately, but this is literally happening every day across the US. We will continue to post every single incident we find. This must stop.
(Also: damn, I love this livestreamer.)
pulling guns for a warrant check?!? unbelievable. what a climate of fear they’ve created and now suffer and now perpetuate: a vicious cycle of which this seems to be just the beginnings.
we need to find a way to snap out of this adversarial, cynical, fearful thinking
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