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Israel Apartheid? Arguments For and Against Controversial Stance

Image: Israel Apartheid? Arguments For and Against Controversial Stance
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. (Win McNamee/Getty Images, file)

By    |   Sunday, 30 Nov 2014 03:39 PM

Is Israel in an Apartheid state? Leaders across the globe have expressed myriad opinions on this controversial topic. The sharp divisions tend to be linked to overarching beliefs of pro-Israeli or anti-Israeli policies.

Early in 2014, several prominent people — including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry — began using the word “apartheid” during discussions of Israeli policy concerning the rights of native Israeli citizens, compared to those of Palestinians.

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The deep division within Israel itself has, at times, been compared to the decades-long apartheid state in South Africa that resulted in different rights of whites and blacks. Nelson Mandela is credited with putting an end to the divisions within South Africa.

Michael Oren, who served as Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. from 2009-2013, is among the prominent persons defending Israel’s existing policies who spoke against assertions that the country is an apartheid state.

In a May 2014 opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times, Oren points out there are divisions between Israelis and Palestinians along the West Bank through different schools, legal systems and hospitals. But Oren adamantly opposes any comparison to the apartheid movement in South Africa. 

“None of this even remotely resembles apartheid,” Oren said of current Israeli policy. “The vast majority of settles and Palestinians choose to live apart because of cultural and historical differences, not segregation.”

On the issue of creating separate roads, Oren said Israeli leaders created them to remain proactive and vigilant against possible terrorist attacks. The dividing infrastructure, Oren said, is aimed at saving Jewish lives — not segregating native citizens from Palestinians.

Not all political leaders and advocates share Oren’s views. Desmond Tutu, a South African social rights activist and retired Anglican bishop, went public in June 2014 and decried Israel’s current policies. He drew parallels to the policies taking place in Israel to those that had plagued his native country up into the 1980s.

“The sustainability of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people has always been dependent on its ability to deliver justice to the Palestinians,” Tutu told the Israeli news outlet Haaretz. 

Tutu is also quoted as saying, “I know firsthand that Israel has created an apartheid reality within its borders and through its occupation.”

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Is Israel in an Apartheid state? Leaders across the globe have expressed myriad opinions on this controversial topic. The sharp divisions tend to be linked to overarching beliefs of pro-Israeli or anti-Israeli policies.
israel, apartheid, argument
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2014-39-30
Sunday, 30 Nov 2014 03:39 PM
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