Steve Kramer
Steve Kramer

Two Burning Questions About Israel

There are many “important” discussions going on in the Western world, such as, can a man who says he’s a woman walk around naked in a women’s dressing room; is it racist for a white person to smile at a black person; or is it racist not to smile at a black person; etc. Two other “important” questions being asked are, does Israel even have a right to exist and is Israel an apartheid state. Both have consequences for Jews in Israel, as well as for Jews in the Diaspora, whether they realize it or not.

Questioning Israel’s very existence and whether it is systemically racist are more about Jew-hatred than anything else. Proof of this contention is the fact that the odious BDS movement, whose ultimate aim is to replace Israel with an Arab one, is the primary actor posing these questions. Its name, “Boycott, Divestment and Sanction” of Israel emerged following three main precedents. 

First was the Arab Boycott of Israel of December, 1945, promulgated by the newly founded Arab League. The second was the 2001 Durban Conference, officially misnamed The World Conference Against Racism, a hit job on Israel by numerous governments from around the world. Coinciding with it was the equally destructive NGO Forum of non-governmental organizations. The NGO Forum’s concluding declaration indicted Israel as a “racist, apartheid state,” guilty of “racist crimes including war crimes, acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing.” The mass media’s treatment of Israel has gone rapidly downhill since then, with constant lies, omissions, and lack of context. 

The basic credo of all three of those Jew-hating efforts was, “Zionism is racism.” The remedy, BDS, was that the Jewish State must be eradicated and Jews removed from the Middle East, although that isn’t articulated in plain English. BDS exponents say that the movement originated in a July 9, 2005, “call… by Palestinian civil society organizations for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel and for academic and cultural boycott of Israel.” This followed the establishment of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) in Ramallah on April 6, 2004. (https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/bds-movement)

If Israel’s right to exist is revoked (is that even possible?), then the United States and probably the majority of the world’s nations could share the same fate. Why is this proposition even brought up? It’s because Israel is the Jew among nations. Though, or perhaps because, Jewish people in general have been so successful, many people want to get rid of us. Israel’s profile is similar to that of the Jewish community: Israel punches way above its weight on the international scene in less than 75 years. That’s reason enough for envious, malevolent people, and hostile nations, to want to destroy the Jewish people and the Jewish state.

The very idea of ending Israel is as preposterous as eliminating the Jewish people. But we can’t forget or downplay that one-third of us were murdered less than a century ago. If anything, Israel deserves to be a state as much, or more than, other states. It’s the homeland of the Jews and Jewish accomplishments benefit many people and many other nations, not least the United States. Those who wish to destroy the Jewish people and Israel are malefactors and their indictment of our people and our state is totally invalid and monstrous.

The other ridiculous, hate-filled, wrong-head question is, is Israel an apartheid state? First, what is apartheid? The Apartheid, (Afrikaans: “apartness”) policy governed relations between South Africa’s white minority and nonwhite majority and sanctioned racial segregation and political and economic discrimination against nonwhites. [It] was made possible through the Population Registration Act of 1950, which classified all South Africans as either Bantu (all Black Africans), Coloured (those of mixed race), or white. A fourth category—Asian (Indian and Pakistani)—was later added…. Other laws forbade most social contacts between the races, authorized segregated public facilities, established separate educational standards, restricted each race to certain types of jobs, curtailed nonwhite labour unions, and denied nonwhite participation in the national government.… The Bantu Homelands Citizenship Act of 1970 made every Black South African, irrespective of actual residence, a citizen of one of the Bantustans, thereby excluding Blacks from the South African body politic…. The Apartheid laws were in force from 1950-1991. 

(https://www.britannica.com/topic/apartheid)

With the definition of apartheid in mind, can one seriously compare the status of nonwhites in Israel to what existed in apartheid South Africa? First of all, many Israeli Jews are not “white” in the sense that it’s defined in the US. Besides the obvious dark skinned Jews from Ethiopia or Yemen, Israeli Jews from other Arab counties (Mizrachim), from the Americas, India, China, the Asian areas of the former Soviet Union, and others are not “white.” If apartheid laws were in effect here, the status of all those people would be inferior and they couldn’t be citizens. Factually, all those born of Israeli parents are citizens regardless of religion or ethnicity. (Israel is one of 38 countries who give citizenship “by descent.”)

Israel has no laws promoting segregation or denying civil rights to any segment of the citizenry: no laws forbidding most social contacts between the races, authorizing segregated public facilities, restricting anyone to certain types of jobs, curtailing nonwhite labor unions, denying nonwhite participation in the government, nor establishing “Bantustans” for nonwhites.

The heart of the matter for the apartheid South African leaders was race, not nationality. What Israel’s detractors are concerned about is nationality, not race. Yes, although there are mixed cities, large and small of Jews and Arabs, most Arabs live in their own communities and vice versa. The same goes for primary and secondary educational system, but universities and colleges are all inclusive, with no separate systems. Additionally, a large and growing minority among the Jews, the ultra-orthodox (Haredim), also self-segregate in housing and education.

One need only visit Israel and experience the sidewalks, the malls, the stores, the medical clinics, the hospitals, the universities, the supermarkets – everywhere, in fact – there are Arabs and Jews, blacks, whites, and Asians intermixed. Israel is a very diverse country. Is everyone equal? Not by a long shot, the same as in both capitalistic and socialistic countries. There’s rich and poor and the majority in the middle in every country. But people from all strata can become successful in Israel. 

So, Israel is a polyglot country with a mixture of races and religions, very different from the picture most Americans, including Jews who haven’t visited, envision. There is no logical basis for the argument that Israel, of all the countries in the world, shouldn’t exist. Nor can Israel be called an apartheid country by any stretch of the imagination, because it’s citizenry is made of many religions and races with access to the same opportunities.

But wait, what about the poor Palestinian Arabs? What civil rights do they have? For the answer to that, you’ll have to ask the leaders of the Fatah party which rules the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Hamas leadership which rules Gaza. The Palestinian Arabs who live there are PA citizens, certainly not Israeli citizens. While one can sympathize with those living under cruel Fatah and Hamas rule, Israel is not the one in charge. After all, as of July 2019, 138 of the 193 United Nations recognize the State of Palestine.

What would happen to the Jewish people if somehow Israel was wiped off the map – perhaps by conquest, or by a vote of the UN Security Council, as its detractors fervently desire? In my opinion, a second Holocaust would occur, the Jewish survivors would be scattered all over the earth, and Judaism would soon wither away. It’s apparent to anyone who reads the Bible or knows Jewish history, that Judaism and the Land of Israel are inextricably linked. Yes, we survived the destruction of three Jewish kingdoms: the Northern Kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians in 722 BCE; the Southern Kingdom of Judah by the Babylonians in 586 BCE; and the Hasmonean Kingdom of Judea by the Romans in 70 CE. But if modern Israel, one of the strongest nations on earth, were to be destroyed, I doubt that the Jews could recover. The fact that Israel’s “friends” would have allowed this to happen would be the last straw.

Unless Jews and our true allies around the world wake up and understand the nefarious forces undermining Israel and perverting people’s minds (even young Jewish minds) with propaganda against us, the immediate future could be bleak. But you, my readers, know that I’m an optimist for whom the glass is always 2/3 full. I say, Israel will not be wiped off the map; if anything, it’s our enemies who may suffer that fate. Let’s stop believing what our enemies say about Jews and Israel and remember our inextricable linkage, to continue the mission to improve the world with the Jews’ extraordinary achievements.

Note: On September 22, 2021, pursuant to a UN General Assembly resolution adopted on December 31, 2020, the United Nations will convene a one-day high-level meeting, Durban IV. This will be at the level of heads of state and government to mark the 20th anniversary of the Durban Declaration, which was adopted at the UN’s notorious 2001 Durban I. Marking this “milestone” will be many more hateful, lying diatribes by many nations and organizations against Israel, as is the usual UN practice. (https://unwatch.org/countries-rejecting-durban-iv-updates-analysis-more/)

About the Author
Steve Kramer grew up in Atlantic City, graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1967, adopted the hippie lifestyle until 1973, then joined the family business for 15 years. Steve moved to Israel from Margate, NJ in 1991 with his family. He has written more than 1100 articles about Israel and Jews since making Aliyah. Steve and his wife Michal live in Kfar Saba.
Related Topics
Related Posts
Comments