I am burning the midnight oil to write a rebuttal to Rebecca Rachmany’s slanderous blog post, Israel is an Apartheid State. Ms. Rachmany posits that we must begin by telling the truth, that Israel is, indeed, an Apartheid State. How does she know this? As she says, “I looked it up.”
According to the definition Ms. Rachmany cites, Apartheid means “a state under which there are separate judicial systems for different groups in the population.”
Because I looked it up as well. And nope. That’s not what I found.
I found this:
The American Heritage definition:
1. An official policy of racial segregation formerly practiced in the Republic of South Africa, involving political, legal, and economic discrimination against nonwhites.
2. A policy or practice of separating or segregating groups.
3. The condition of being separated from others; segregation.
(example of usage) We are an apartheid state.
The Collins English Dictionary definition:
(Government, Politics & Diplomacy) (in South Africa) the official government policy of racial segregation; officially renounced in 1992
The Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary definition:
1. (in the Republic of South Africa) a former rigid policy of segregation of the nonwhite population.
2. any system or practice that separates people according to race, caste, etc.
The Merriam-Webster definition:
- racial segregation; specifically : a former policy of segregation and political and economic discrimination against non-European groups in the Republic of South Africa
- separation, segregation <cultural apartheid> <gender apartheid>
The Oxford Dictionary definition:
- (in South Africa) a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race.
- segregation on grounds other than race: sexual apartheid
It sounds to me as if Ms. Rachmany looked far and wide to find a definition that suited her purpose and which she might then use as a premise for telling Israelis that they’re being silly for taking offense at the word, as if Apartheid were some kind of swear word or something. But, Ms. Rachmany continues, the truth is, Israelis take offense at the “A” word because it’s a true description of Israelis and we just don’t want to look at the truth.
Lucky for us, Ms. Rachmany is above all that. She’s a truth seeker par excellence, or so she would have us believe.
If you look at the real definitions as cited above by this writer, you will see that the term really IS offensive and ugly, and a lot like a curse word. Instead of talking about “separate judicial systems” the definitions describe “segregation” and “discrimination on the grounds of race.”
That’s ugly stuff. If it were true, it would mean that Israelis don’t like Arabs because they’re dark and not because they decapitate 3 month-old infants. It would mean we shut them off from all the benefits Israelis enjoy because we look down on their race instead of building a fence to keep them from blowing up our buses. According to this viewpoint, we are mean to those poor, poor innocent people and deny them redress in our courts because, well, we just don’t like them, and not because they shoot thousands and thousands of rockets into Southern Israel where one million civilian Israelis live.
But let’s examine the “truth” of Ms. Rachmany’s statement: that Apartheid is about separate judicial systems. Ms. Rachmany says that while Israelis inside the Green Line get to appeal to proper Israeli courts, those poor “Palestinian Arabs” in the “West Bank” have only military courts for addressing their legal issues.
What She Leaves Out
Here is what Ms. Rachmany leaves out (in addition to mainstream definitions for the word that is the basis of her slander): Arabs who live in the West Bank are not Israeli citizens. This is because they have refused Israeli citizenship or have had an application for citizenship turned down because of say, ACTS OF TERROR. As such, these Arabs are not Israeli Arabs and therefore not entitled to use the Israeli court system.
Therefore, even if Ms. Rachmany’s definition of Apartheid, so hard to find in any standard dictionary, were true, it still does not describe the situation of Arabs who live over the Green Line. There is no discrimination against Arabs on the basis of race. There is nothing irrational about the set of legal recourses available to them. They made a choice: the Arabs. Not Israel.
So no, Ms. Rachmany, it’s not a “simple truth” that Israel discriminates against Arabs who live in certain areas and robs them of their right to basic legal redress. And yes, Ms. Rachmany, everyone would argue with that, because your erroneous and dishonest premise is a distortion of the facts.
It is equally dishonest of Ms. Rachmany to posit that Israelis avoids Arabs because of the color of their skin or because they speak a different language or have a different religion. Israelis avoid Arabs because they constantly and overwhelmingly engage in acts of terror—not just in Israel, but all over the world.
The rest of what Ms. Rachmany says is immaterial since her premise is an outright lie.
But let’s look at the craftiness of the language she uses, the assertions, and tautologies.
“It’s ironic, really, that the people who are offended by the word are the same people who honestly and truly believe that these separate judicial systems must be perpetuated.”
Again. There are no separate judicial systems for separate peoples. The judicial systems differ according to citizenship, which is a choice. Skin color doesn’t have any import here. So no separate judicial systems for two peoples.
No, No, Never, Never, Uh uh, uh uh.
Nope. Just no. Not.
“These are often the same people who do not support a free Palestinian state.”
Here it pays to note the stereotype based on the continuation of Ms. Rachmany’s fatally flawed premise. Note the sly insertion of the word “free” as if Arabs in Israel were somehow not free. As if life in Israel for the Arabs was so much worse than in, say, Syria, or Egypt.
Note the use of the word “Palestinian” which comes from the derogatory name the Romans used in reference to Israel to humiliate the resident Jews and which comes from the word “Philistines” as if Israel had never belonged to the Jews but only to the Philistines, a people of which there is no remaining trace. Note also that there has been a continuous presence of Jews in Israel for thousands of years. Note that my 86 year-old Jewish cousin in Haifa still has his old identity card that lists him, according to the British Mandate, as a Palestinian.
Accurate My Foot
“All I’m saying is that if you believe we need a separate set of laws for non-Israeli Arabs, and if you believe that we should not grant all those people citizenship, then you should not be offended that you are called an apartheid state. That’s what you are. It’s accurate.”
Except it’s not. She “looked it up” but in what manner of dictionary I cannot say. More like she MADE it up than LOOKED it up.
“They point to the fact that despite a certain level of racism, Israelis do fundamentally believe in equality. It might be strange to say this, because it seems there is a conflict. Most Israelis have a bit of a racist streak (probably most people do) but also most Israelis believe, fundamentally, in equality and human rights.”
Huh? What? Oh yeah. I totally judge them on the color of their skin and not because they decapitated Hadas Fogel. It’s just this irrepressible streak in me.
“So I feel comfortable saying that Israelis believe in equality, even if they harbor some prejudice. Israelis truly want an open and free state.”
I have some news for Ms. Rachmany. I looked up the word “prejudice” in Merriam-Webster. I found this:
1: injury or damage resulting from some judgment or action of another in disregard of one’s rights; especially : detriment to one’s legal rights or claims
Had this been an accurate description, it would mean that Israelis purposefully, and without cause, deny Arabs of their rights. Completely untrue. They ride our buses, receive treatment in our hospitals, and serve as members of Knesset.
2a (1) : preconceived judgment or opinion (2) : an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge
b : an instance of such judgment or opinion
c : an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics
If this were true it would mean that I dislike Arabs, and furthermore, dislike them without cause. Nothing could be further from the truth. I avoid most Arabs and view them with suspicion because of their record of murderous behavior. Having lived in Israel for close to 34 years, I have sufficient knowledge of Arab terrorism and just grounds for my suspicions.
Ms. Rachmany says she knows why I am offended when she calls my country an Apartheid state. But what I want to know is why she outright lied about the definition of Apartheid and wrote such terrible slander on such a public venue causing harm to her own people and country?
It is Ms. Rachmany and those like her that offend me. Jews who publicly breast-beat, and create tautologies based on a Tower of Babel of LIES. She harms the Jews. She harms Israel. Most of all she harms Arabs by lying to them about their condition.
It is people like Ms. Rachmany who prevent peace by perpetuating a dishonest narrative. She addresses a fantasy conflict and will therefore never arrive at a real solution since she is addressing a fantasy premise. She is doomed before she takes a single step toward peace because she can’t see things for what they are.
She offers Israelis a sop and tells them that even though they’re racist, deep down she knows there is goodness in their hearts if they will only recognize and own up to their own falseness and racism. Except that apparently, it is Ms. Rachmany who fears the truth as well as the righteous Jews who own it.