A Grain of Sand

"I will multiply you as the stars in heaven and as the sand upon the shore." - Genesis 22:17

"I can see the master's hand in every leaf that trembles, in every grain of sand." - Dylan, Every Grain of Sand (on Shot of Love)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Jewish Apartheid State?

Richard Goldstone, the author of the famous Goldstone Report who eventually conceded that it was written with insufficient information, has written a nice op-ed on Israel and the accusation by its severest critics that is an "apartheid state."
In Israel, there is no apartheid. Nothing there comes close to the definition of apartheid under the 1998 Rome Statute: “Inhumane acts ... committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.” Israeli Arabs — 20 percent of Israel’s population — vote, have political parties and representatives in the Knesset and occupy positions of acclaim, including on its Supreme Court. Arab patients lie alongside Jewish patients in Israeli hospitals, receiving identical treatment.
The whole NYTimes article (behind the paywall) is here. There is something of "damning with faint praise" in saying that Israel is no South Africa. But that's what false and hyperbolic accusations do: they force you to weaken your moral standing by having to defend yourself from charges of moral failure. I've ranted about this before, but, oh, well: Israel is a vibrant (and teeming) democracy. Troubled, to be sure. The coalition style government has created all kinds of deep and real problems. But it is a democracy where the rule of law prevails and holds those in power accountable. On the other hand, it's neighbors in the region are dictators openly contemptuous of democracy. We can certainly celebrate the fact that Western liberals (and I am one, by the way) have reacted to the "Arab Spring" by finally recognizing this fact. Confronted with Twitter feeds, Facebook posts, and video evidence of state brutality, it was hard not to. But what took them so long? Long before the recent social movements for democracy burst open, it was quite clear that these goons represented the antithesis of everything Western liberals are supposed to hold dear. But for years, silence - and the only democracy in the region was criticized with hyperbole and vitriol. What's up with that?

No comments:

Post a Comment