A Tale of Two Societies

With all the talk surrounding “Divestment”, “Apartheid” and other such flashpoint concepts regarding the Israel / Palestine conflict, perhaps it is time that some real data that reflects the situation is introduced into the conversation.

Proponents of “Divestment” and BDS (Boycott, Sanctions AND Divestment) tell one tale to the people of the West, and in particular students at Universities throughout Europe, Canada, and the United States. They spin a tale of a peaceful people striving for a Western Secular Democracy, and portray that as being the normative political philosophy of the Palestinian Polity. They portray an image of peaceful rural inhabitants that simply want to live next door to their Jewish neighbors in peace and harmony. In their portrayal the Israelis are seen as evil minority of interlopers that want nothing but to oppress these proponents of democracy and justice and establish a state based on Racial Superiority and Apartheid like the now defunct South African regime that ruled with brutality under a racist banner of White Nationalist power.

Towards this end they use language to try to conflate Israel with South Africa so that young people reading about the situation (particularly in the U.S. and Canada) will buy into the myth regarding the similarities between Israel and South Africa and automatically question the alliance of the U.S. and Canada to Israel.

So let’s look at some comparisons between both Israeli and Palestinian society NOT from pundits point of view, or some removed academic view, but from a view of the people actually involved – the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Writing in +972 Magazine (an online journal that reflects a very questioning view of Zionism and Israeli society written btw by Israelis), Mairav Zonszein writes under the bold headline:

Poll: 23% of Jewish Israelis support apartheid, 13% support status quo

“But what is even more telling and interesting about the poll is that while 61 percent support a two-state solution (39 percent oppose), a substantial 23 percent said they support a bi-national state “without giving Palestinians full civil rights” (up substantially from last year’s 13 percent). In other words, this can be understood to mean that 23 percent of Jewish Israelis want to live under an Israeli apartheid regime where Palestinians are institutionally disenfranchised – though the poll does not mention the word apartheid anywhere.


The poll also mentions that 13 percent think the situation should remain as it is (“de facto Israeli control of Palestinians without annexation of Judea and Samaria”), which means maintaining the status quo. The situation we live in right now is de facto a bi-national state (or ‘one state’), in which every person between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean lives under varying degrees of Israeli rule, so I think it is fair to add this 13 percent to the 23 percent – which essentially means that a whopping 36 percent of Jewish Israelis support Israeli control of the West Bank without Palestinian civil rights – what I think can safely be called apartheid.”

Here we have a perfect example of the exaggerations of the Divestment community. First of all… the glaring headline talks about supporting “Apartheid” but even with annexation of the West Bank – this still COULD NOT be called “Apartheid” as unlike South Africa where the White Population was 12% of the nation, Jews would still be a majority (58%) of the Population. See this article: When the “A” word is simply not appropriate for further discussion of this myth.

Still, regardless of this, the fact of the matter is that only 23% of Israelis want this kind of State in the first place. An overwhelming 61% support some form of a Two State solution where the legitimate rights of both the Jewish and Palestinian populations to self governance are respected. Interestingly enough Zonszein simply brushes this majority answer off as unimportant and casts Israeli society along the lines of a nation fully represented by the 23%.

Now in contrast let’s look at what the Palestinians support as told to pollsters… by Palestinians. This is not reflective opinion of the genocidal maniacs in charge of Hamas who regularly state that they play to “liberate” all of the land of Palestine “from the river to the sea” and who in their charter talk with glee about the genocide of all Jews, while denying the Holocaust and quoting the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. No… this is simply Palestinian Public Opinion.

Remember, we are told by proponents of BDS and Divestment that all the Palestinians really want is a secular Democratic nation where Jews and Palestinians live equally in peace. HOWEVER, as we will see, that is simply not quite accurate (to say the least). According to the latest poll of Palestinian Public Opinion (Dated March 28-30, 2013) in PSR Poll 47, we see some of the following.

Interestingly enough only 29.3% of the Palestinian Population actually favors a “One State Solution” that has total equality for both Palestinians and Jews.  A far cry from what the activists portray as the political climate in the Palestine Polity.  Further, Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas movement which supports the complete extermination of the Jewish People, denies that the Holocaust even happened and who regularly quote the infamous anti-Semitic tract the Protocols of the Elders of Zion gets 41% of the popular vote against Fatah President Mahmoud Abbas were elections to be held today.

And what the activists also forget to mention that rather than being a peaceful, secular people… 94.3% of the population actually considers itself “very or somewhat” religious. BUT let’s go even further into the numbers and I will let this response speak for itself:

A full 40% of the population supports armed intifada AND attacks on Israeli Civilians. 40%. While that is not a majority opinion it certainly is a great many people.

And further into this discussion, here is how the Palestinians react to their “brutal repression” at the hands of the Israelis.

In answer to the question about living conditions in the West Bank a majority (55%) of Palestinians say conditions are “so-so” (neutral) to good. That is quite a different picture than these activists like to portray where if you listened to their propaganda, the Palestinian population is being slowly subject to enslavement and genocide by the Israelis. Amazing how that works, isn’t it?

But will activists who support BDS or Campus Divestment talk about these numbers. Of course not. Will they use realistic figures to discuss anything about the Palestinian polity? Of course not. And this exposes their true agenda. They want Western College students to believe something about Palestinian Society that is simply not true. They don’t want people to see what the Palestinians are really saying or what kind of society that the Palestinian Polity proposes to create. That is simply an inconvenient truth for them to mention.

I urge that people actually get this information out to their respective constituencies. Don’t lie about what the Palestinian Polity believes. Don’t exaggerate their support for Hamas. Don’t degrade the Palestinians for what they believe. Just present the information in it’s true form. Make sure that when student senate organizations vote for BDS and Divestment that they really know what people in Israel and Palestine actually support. And when activists lie in their presentation of this support, confront them publicly.

THIS is how in the end, we will be able to end the bigoted attacks by the BDS, Campus Divestment movement. Make them answer the hard questions, and make them do it publicly.

About the Author
Jon Segall is creator of the blog The Progressive Zionist. Jon has lived in Israel and studied Israeli and American Policy in the region. Currently Jon, is re-learning Hebrew, and is an active practitioner of the Israel Self Defense Martial Art Krav Maga.