Note: I wrote almost all of this piece before the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza and the accompanying violent clashes between Israelis and Palestinians that erupted in mid-May 2021. This post does not address those events.
Recently the Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem, released a new report making the argument that the State of Israel is guilty of apartheid. B’Tselem’s claim is different than one made some months ago by a different Israeli human rights group, Yesh Din. Last September, Yesh Din released a report making the argument that apartheid as a legal term should be applied to Israeli rule in the West Bank, but they declined to address the question of whether apartheid should be used to describe “Israel proper,” ie. Israel within the Green Line, where Arabs and Jews both have citizenship and voting rights.
B’Tselem’s report says that Israel is guilty of apartheid throughout all the lands over which it is the ultimate ruling power. Here’s how they explain their view:
My friend Rabbi Amita Jarmon posted this message to some of her colleagues a few days ago, and she gave me permission to re-post it here…
It’s 2 AM here. Lots of sirens and booms in Jerusalem until about 1 AM. It’s quieter now but still an occasional siren. I was at an Omdim B’Yachaddemonstration tonight. There were similar demonstrations in Tel Aviv and Haifa. The J’lem one was small — I estimate about 250 of us. We chant, accompanied and punctuated by a circle of drummers — the same as at the Sheikh Jarrah demos:
“Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies.”
“In Gaza and Sderot, boys and girls want to live.”
“The rule of the right doesn’t want security.”
“Stop the Escalation, we don’t want war.”
We marched from the Old Mashbir down King George and Yafo to Kikar Tzion (Zion Square). There, a large number of right wing youth gathered around and started shouting with bull horns and ripping our posters out of our hands and shredding them. The police intervened. They brought dogs and horses and we were forced to disperse. One friend told me that the police have a legal obligation to protect peaceful demonstrators, and should have made the youth who were disturbing us back off.