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Apartheid?

QUESTION:

Isn't Israel's treatment of the Arabs just as bad as South Africa's Apartheid?

ANSWER:

* Today, within Israel, Jews are a majority, but the Arab minority are full citizens with voting rights and representation in the government. Under apartheid black South Africans could not vote and were not citizens of the country in which they are the overwhelming majority of the population.

The situation of Palestinians in the territories - won by Israel in a defensive war forced upon it by its neighbors - is different. The security requirements of the nation, and a violent insurrection in the territories, have forced Israel to impose restrictions on Arab residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip that are not necessary inside Israel's pre-1967 borders. The Palestinians in the territories, typically, dispute Israel's right to exist whereas blacks did not seek the destruction of South Africa, only the apartheid regime.

If Israel were to give Palestinians full citizenship, it would mean the territories had been annexed. No Israeli government has been prepared to take that step.

Meanwhile, Palestinians from the territories are allowed to work in Israel and receive similar pay and benefits to their Jewish counterparts. They are allowed to attend schools and universities. Palestinians have been given opportunities to run many of their own affairs. None of this was true for South African blacks.

- from Israel Is Not An Apartheid State, JSource

* Yet Zionism itself, and not only the current policies of the Israeli government, is constantly accused of being equivalent to apartheid simply because it represents a national emancipation movement which differs from others in being Jewish.

- Jacques Givet, "The Anti-Zionist Complex"


QUESTION:

Does Israel force Arabs into laborious work, menial labor?

ANSWER:

* "We do not want to create a situation like that which exists in South Africa, where the whites are the owners and rulers, and the blacks are the workers. If we do not do all kinds of work, easy and hard, skilled and unskilled, if we become merely landlords, then this will not be our homeland"

- David Ben-Gurion in conversation with Musa Alami, 1934; from Shabtai Teveth, Ben-Gurion and the Palestinian Arabs: From Peace to War, London: Oxford University Press, 1985, p. 140


QUESTION:

Is there racist Apartheid in the Middle East?

ANSWER:

* Another myth about Islam is that it promoted equality. In reality Islam permitted the ultimate inequality--slavery. As Muir says of Mohammed: "He rivetted the fetter." "There is no obligation whatever on a Moslem to release his slaves.' Mohammed himself had slaves--17 men and 11 women.

One of the early Caliphs, Omar "insisted on a medieval Apartheid with the Arabs as master race."

In subsequent years the Arabs had one of the worst records as slavers, and this has continued right up till the later years of the 20th century and may still be going on. Some of the worst feudal regimes in history were based on Islam as is the present regime in Saudi Arabia.

- from THE DEAD HAND OF ISLAM, by Colin Maine

* In fact, in an Islamic country, an infidel is a necessary evil, who is just about tolerated. The dignity of man signified by human rights, and promoted by bloody revolutions over a period of centuries, is a piece of sheer nonsense in Islam. It is because a non-Muslim in an Islamic state is required to pay jaziya, which in the Koranic language is a Humiliation Tax. In fact, the life of an unbeliever is a series of humiliations in a Muslim country. He has to wear distinctive clothes and mark his house to express the unbelief of its dwellers. Muslims are forbidden to associate with him and attend his matrimonial or funeral ceremonies. He must not ride horses or bear arms. Since it is the Islamic way of life, which requires an unbeliever to yield way to the Muslim when they happen to be walking on the same path, it can be safely called the forerunner of the South African apartheid.

- from ISLAM and Human Rights, by Anwar Shaikh


QUESTION:

Is Mandela a hero of the Free World?

ANSWER:

Mandela's Mideast Muddle

Patrick Goodenough, International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) News Service
Oct. 24, 1997

More than a year ago, on August 19 1996, South African President Nelson Mandela was due to arrive on a long-awaited visit to Israel. The trip was postponed because -- we were told -- Mandela's health at the time was poor.

Since then, however, Mandela has travelled to most corners of the globe, addressing international gatherings and conducting full state visits from Britain to Indonesia. This week he visited Israel's neighbour, Egypt, before heading for a highly controversial visit to Libya. It's hard to believe any longer that Mandela is not staying away for political reasons.

\His reaction to US opposition to the visit, and those of his somnolent Foreign Minister, Alfred Nzo, suggest that these two old men are woefully out of touch with late 20th century reality. Mandela accused Washington of arrogance for dictating "where we should go or who our friends should be" Nzo called for an end to UN sanctions against Libya.

On October 21, the Johannesburg MAIL & GUARDIAN newspaper published letters on its Internet edition from Libyan exiles, deploring Mandela's decision to visit. One wrote: "I simply cannot believe that it is too much to ask of you what you have asked the world to do in the recent past: boycott tyranny and oppression".

Another called the visit "an insult to Libyan martyrs who have been hanged publicly by [Muammar] Gaddafi and left to rot in public squares for days; to the families of Libyans whose bodies were dug up by his thugs and thrown to the sea for opposing him during their life; and to the thousands of Libyans who are still in the jails of this tyrant, subjected to torture on a daily basis for asking nothing more than what you and the people of South Africa have asked for: to breathe free in our own land".

The reaction of these dissidents -- shock at Mandela's apparent blindness to the irony of his stance -- is not new. Many South Africans with a deep love both for our country and for this one share their concerns.

To many of us who grew up in the shadow of apartheid, Mandela in his prison cell were a constant reminder of a future, better South Africa which we, too, could work towards. But our joy at the transition when it occurred was tempered by profound misgivings about the close relations between the ANC and the likes of Libya, Iran and the PLO.

We hoped the ANC's ties with such dubious allies of the exiled organisation would diminish once Mandela assumed power, but that did not happen. His loyalty to old friends appears to have blinded him to a cold assessment of the damage done to his reputation by images of him embracing Yasser Arafat and Gaddafi.

Pretoria's shifting policy on the Middle East is cause for deep misgiving. A case in point was last year's agreement to store Iranian oil, flying in the face of American appeals for sanctions against Tehran. (The deal was since aborted, reportedly for reasons unrelated to US pressure).

Even more disturbing was the admission by former Energy Affairs Minister, Pik Botha, that nuclear cooperation between the two countries was on the agenda during his visit to Tehran early last year. Botha told the writer he had "met with representatives of Iran's nuclear research industry" whom he said were "engaged in research and the peaceful application of nuclear power"

Yet Iran's attempts to buy nuclear know-how from China, North Korea and former Soviet republics have triggered alarms among intelligence services around the world. In the light of this, Botha's insistence in response to my queries that "under no circumstances will South Africa become involved in any form of cooperation in violation of its obligations and responsibilities in terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty"sounded naive at best -- if not downright untrue.

If Mandela is unaware of the involvement in terrorism of Tripoli and Tehran, he is clearly not being properly advised by Nzo (who was himself warmly received in Tehran in October 1994).

When it comes to Arafat, one wonders what Mandela sees to talk about with a man not just with a history of personal responsibility for terrorism, but who even now oversees a security force which kidnaps, tortures and kills opponents in the areas under his authority. At a time when South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission is hearing gruesome evidence of "dirty tricks"activities carried out by operatives of the apartheid state, doesn't it strike Mandela as ironic that his government's foreign policy transforms the perpetrators of similar crimes into diplomatic and trading partners?

Should he ever decide indeed to visit Israel, Mandela will have to bear in mind that, by legitimising the tyrants in Tripoli, Gaza and Tehran, he has relinquished any right to advise Israelis on matters which could affect the very survival of the Jewish state.