May 10, 1998
Had things turned out differently in South Africa over the past few years the world might now be marking the 50th anniversary of the victory of Dr. D. F. Malan’s Nationalist Party and apartheid.
Then again, maybe it wouldn’t. The thought of staging elaborate celebrations and offering congratulations to a country for a policy of exploitation, dispossession and state-supported terrorism seems truly perverse.
Even the man Malan defeated, Prime Minister Jan. C. Smuts, also a white supremacist, felt the nationalists went too far. Smuts warned that depriving Africans of the vote and putting all coloured voters onto one electoral roll would promote African nationalism and lead to the creation of a common front against the white minority.
Canada certainly would have had no part of an apartheid commemoration. After all, this country led the international morality crusade for comprehensive sanctions against South Africa. With virtual consensus that apartheid is morally repugnant, why did democracies like Canada put on such an embarrassing display of sentiment for Israel’s 50th anniversary? Is there an apartheid double-standard at work?
In Original Sins—Reflections of the History of Zionism and Israel, Israeli scholar Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi wrote: “The term ‘Jewish’ in Israel is a political-administrative one, like the term ‘white’ in apartheid South Africa. The state of Israel classifies individuals as ‘Jews’ by nationality and divides humanity into ‘Jews’ and the rest. If you are ‘Jewish,’ certain privileges are accorded you by law.”
There is no fundamental difference between the two apartheids, yet Zionists have successfully disguised Jewish apartheid as a national liberation movement. As a result, the events leading to Israel’s creation have been barely mentioned if at all. Yet the consequences of those events are very much with us. “Out of the original sins of the world against the Jews came the original sins of Zionism against the Palestinians,” wrote Beit-Hallahmi. “Its memory poisons the blood and marks every moment of existence.”
Popular myth has it that 50 years ago Israel fought a purely defensive war against attacking neighbouring Arab countries. These countries did attack, but only in retaliation for Jewish brutality. In 1948, the Near East Department of the Israeli government articulated what was, in effect, the dominant dispossession philosophy of Israeli colonialism:
“The Palestinian refugees will find their place in the diaspora. Those who can resist will live thanks to natural selection. The others will simply crumble. Some of them will persist, but the majority will be a human heap, the scum of the earth, and will sink into the lowest levels of the Arab world.”
By May 15, 1948, more that 300,000 Arabs had been uprooted from their villages. By the end of the year, at least 750,000 Arabs were made refugees in their own land and 418 villages were destroyed. Israel has still not lived up to its promise to compensate Arabs for the plunder of their bank deposits, homes, businesses and property, the value of which is incalculable.
That the Jews knew they were committing injustices can be seen in a eulogy Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan delivered for a Jew killed by Arabs on the Gaza border in 1956.
“Let us not heap accusations on the murderers,” he said. “How can we complain about their deep hatred for us? For eight years they have been sitting in the Gaza refugee camps, and before their very eyes, we are possessing the land and the villages where they and their ancestors have lived… We are the generation of colonizers, and without the steel helmet and the gun barrel we cannot plant a tree and build a home.”
In April 1969, Dayan told the Jewish newspaper Ha’aretz: “There is not one single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.”
As I compare Israel today and 50 years ago, I have to marvel at how successfully the Jewish lobby has used its financial and political clout to buy, bribe and bully the U.S. into bankrolling Israel’s existence.
Benjamin Netanhyahu’s whine that the U.S. is “dictating” Israel’s security policy is preposterous. Israel has been dictating U.S. Middle East policy for years. What Dayan said to the Carter administration in 1979 is relevant today:
“I know you Americans think you’re going to force us out of the West Bank, but we’re here and you’re in Washington. What will you do if we maintain settlements? Squawk? What will you do if we keep the army there? Send troops?”
U.S. president Bill Clinton is trying to play peacemaker between Israel and the Palestinians, but his resolve in the face of Israel’s obstructionism seems to be as flaccid as those of his predecessors (with the possible exception of Dwight Eisenhower).
South African whites couldn’t uphold apartheid in the face of their own guilt and the rebellion of the native majority. Israel’s “whites” will surely face the same end. It all depends on whether the U.S. has the integrity to make it sooner rather than later.