Brandeis U. Owes Jimmy Carter an Apology: Israelis agree they run Apartheid State, as Far Right Wing Coalition Emerges

In 2007, Jimmy Carter’s book Palestine: Peace, not Apartheid created a firestorm of controversy. Brandeis University initially said it would only allow Carter to speak on the book on campus if he would debate gadfly apologist Alan Dershowitz. Carter stood his ground and eventually did speak on campus, but many in this audience were distinctly cool to him.

A new poll of Israelis, however, finds that a majority of them believes that there is some or a lot of Apartheid in Israel.

Israelis on Israeli Apartheid

Most of these Israeli respondents are comfortable with open discrimination against Israeli citizens of Arab heritage, and even more-so against those Palestinians being kept stateless on the West Bank.

These attitudes are all the more disturbing because Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of the Likud Party has just concluded an accord with the even more far rightwing Yisrael Beitenu Party of Jewish supremacist Avigdor Lieberman. The two will contest parliamentary elections together, and have good chance of winning. There was a time when someone of Lieberman’s views would be ostracized in Israel and people would have declined to make a coalition with him, given that his policies have been stigmatized by the Israeli center-left and the Palestinians as a kind of racism.

Netanyahu’s sudden air campaigns against Gaza may be part of the same strategy, intended to stir up Israeli nationalist feeling ahead of January polls.

About a third of Jewish Israelis want to denaturalize Israeli Arabs, depriving them of the right to vote. Nearly half (47%) want some of these Israeli citizens to be ethnically cleansed from Israel and ‘transferred’ to the West Bank, though, confusingly, 38% want to annex the West Bank to Israel altogether. If that happened, though, 69% say that they would oppose giving citizenship to the 2.5 million Palestinians who live there.

Residential segregation is a big part of Apartheid. Some 42 percent of Jewish Israelis would not want to live in the same building with Israelis of Arab heritage. The same percentage doesn’t want to see their children in the same class with Israeli children who are ethnically Arab.

About half want the Israeli state to treat Jewish citizens better than it does Arabs, and 59% want majority-affirmative-action, i.e. preferences for Jews over Arabs in hiring.

74 percent of Jewish Israelis want separate roads for Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank.

With the end of the plausibility of a two-state solution, there clearly will only be one way for Palestinians to escape statelessness, which is in a single state. that state in turn can be a normal democracy or an Apartheid one dedicated to institutionalizing difference. It is the latter that the Israelis are likely to end up with.

32 Responses

  1. Unfortunate and shameful.

    Do you have similar statistics of discrimination against Jews in Arab majority countries?

    • While it isn’t an Arab country, Iran’s Jewish population of 25,000 could move to Israel–indeed it has been encouraged to do so by Israeli officials–yet it finds conditions in Iran just fine.

      -“It is one of the many paradoxes of the Islamic Republic of Iran that this anti-Israeli country supports by far the largest Jewish population of any Muslim country. After the 1979 Islamic revolution, thousands of Jews left for Israel, Western Europe or the U.S. fearing persecution. But Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran’s first post-revolutionary supreme leader, issued a fatwa upon his return from exile in Paris decreeing that Jews and other religious minorities were to be protected thus reducing the outflow of Iran’s Jews to a trickle.”
      -“The Jewish community in Iran dates back over 2000 years, continues to run kosher shops, Hebrew schools and synagogues, and has guaranteed representation in parliament.”
      link to

      • My comment referred specifically to Arab majority countries. There are many non-Arab Muslim majority countries, Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia, etc. The main article refers to “Israeli citizens of Arab heritage.”

  2. And yet, Jimmy Carter has been ostracized for years as an anti-semite for saying the same thing. How interesting.

  3. Well, South Africa didn’t institute official “apartheid” until circa 1950 — before that the bigotry of the South African government was expressed quite differently.

    We may be witnessing a historic change in the form of the official government bigotry of Israel. Unfortunately, it may take 40 more years for the apartheid government to end, as it did for South Africa. And it may not go as smoothly.

  4. It almost seems like the analogy for what’s going on in Israel is the 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment, where even the “good” guards felt like they had no opportunity or cause to intervene with the sadistic ones.

    Of course, that experiment was ended after 6 days.

  5. I respected Jimmy Carter a good deal after his presidency, until he wrote that book. At that point my respect for him leaped upward. It took wisdom and knowledge to write that book, and it took a degree of moral courage that awed me.

    • Carter’s moral courage is not confined to his post-presidency. Carter gambled his presidency on the Camp David summit, and later on his trip to Jerusalem where he dared the Israeli government to either humiliate him and send him home empty handed or sign the peace treaty.

      • I have checked this interpretation with Prof William Quandt who was Deputy Secretary of State at the time and with Carter both at Camp David and his trip to Jerusalem. Prof Quandt agrees completely.

    • If only presidents and other officials had the same moral courage while in office…then things could move forward.

      • Carter did show that “moral courage” while he was in office.

        His staunch refusal to bow to mere political considerations made him one of the least effective Presidents of the modern era.

        It is not a moral shortcoming to accept half a loaf – especially when your own belly will be full either way, and you’re job is secure bread for those that have none.

        • Carter was one of America’s most effrective presidents. His accomplishments in office include: 1) he passed 76% of the legislation he sent to the congress – the second highest percentage in American history for a president. This fact, in itself, refutes the claim of ineffectiveness. But, in addition: 2)Carter negotiated the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel which has kept the peace for more than three decades while also including provisions for the contraction of the Israel presence from the West Bank, not implimented, however, by Israel. 2)Recognition and normalizatio of relations with the People’s Republic of China. 3) He negotiated and sent to the Senate the Panama Canal Treaty, an unpopular treaty, which, however passed the Senate by 2/3 vote. 4) He negotiated the SALT II agreement with the Soviet Union, which,though it was withdrawn from Senate consideration in the wake of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, nevertheless was recognized and honored both the American government and by the Soviet Union, and thus stabilized the arms race.Carter instituted conservation measures which reduce oil imports from 60% to 28% by the end of this term, thus stabilizing an energy policy subsequently inhereted by Reagan, who, himself, did nothing for energy conservation. 6) on economic matters, the ratio of job creation to deficit creation was the highest of any president since the end of the second WW, in cluding the presidency of Bill Clinton. That Carter was innefective as president has been one of the gretest prejudices in American history. Carter was victim of general ignorance and regional prejudice. Further, much of the Democratic Party establishment and well as the American supporters of Zionnism wanted Carter out of office.Thus Carter was undr continual criticism and never given credit for his accomplishments, which, if one is in an analytic mood, one may favorably compare to any president in history.

  6. The near-ban on calling Israel an “apartheid state” is a rule for the USA only, to make USA’s Jews feel comfortable (where, if they knew the truth, and if the truth were loudly spoken, they would feel uncomfortable). AIPAC doesn’t care much what happens (or what is said) inside Israel, but inside the USA, he rules are obviously — some would say properly — different.

  7. Israeli exists to show the world how wonderful it is to have a Jewish state. When the one state solution comes to pass, the world will see how wonderful it is to have a Palestinian state. This is what Israel fears more than anything else.

    • yeah, because the world has treated Jews so well in the past couple of thousand years.

      What could Jews possibly have to worry about right?

      • The Jews living in Israel today would be safer and happier if every Jew who immigrated there since the founding of Zionism had moved to the United States instead.

        So would we Americans, for that matter.

        Maybe it’s just my American-ness speaking, but ethnicity-based states creep me out.

  8. Maybe this is indeed the wave of the future. More repression, more state control, more surveillance, far fewer civil rights or liberties. Maybe this is just part of a receeding wave of democracy and freedom that is being replaced by police state fascism and corporate feudalism. In which case apartheid in Israel will not necessarily wither away and more such practices will become commonplace. We shouldn’t be complacent about “progress” in human affairs.

  9. Let’s not just single out the Israelis for this deplorable attitude. Western nations are just as morally decadent in their relations with Israel and in other arenas: Engaging in wars of choice, profiting from sweatshops and other forms of slavery, overthrow of elected governments, rapacious corporations whose avarice knows no bounds, raping justice every day, etc.

      • Excuse me, that one was meant to be a reply to Kozmo above.

        Israel IS a western nation, Mr. Bodden, that is the reason Arabs saw it as a colonialist plot to re-conquer them. However, after the western nations had no one to blame the devastation of WW2 and the anticolonial wars on but themselves, their attitudes about colonies, empires, and the right to war were forced to change. The two remaining exceptions, the ones currently guilty of most of the crimes you listed, are Israel, which claimed to be a victim of European chauvinism and thus avoided any examination of its own white racism, and the USA, which declared itself the empire that would always be different than the other empires.

    • Engaging in wars of choice, profiting from sweatshops and other forms of slavery, overthrow of elected governments, rapacious corporations whose avarice knows no bounds, raping justice every day, etc.

      Do you imagine any of this to be unique to the west?

      Have you never heard of China, for instance?

      • But we did it to China too. In fact, what Britain did to China was Christian capitalist hypocrisy at its most morally bankrupt:

        1. a British corporation stole the valuable parts of India from its own rulers

        2. it then grew vast amounts of opium there and exported it to China, where wealthy families were ruined by their expensive addictions, transferring vast amounts of gold from Asia to Britain

        3. when China used its sovereign right to ban this barbaric trade, Britain went to war on China in the name of “Free Trade”, then bailed out the East India Company by conquering India as well and establishing the financial basis for the Pax Britannica and the Golden Age of Laissez-Faire capitalism.

        And Americans were making money in that racket as well.

        So China has a strong argument that it is better to be the hammer than the anvil, one that does not go in the other direction.

      • Of course this kind of behavior or versions of it can be found in the histories of other regions, but I wasn’t prepared for a dissertation on the sins of the world from the time the first cave man clobbered his neighbor. I also presumed most readers would have the intelligence to recognize this unfortunate aspect of the human condition. I also thought it might be a good idea for us to clean our soiled linen before we criticize others.

  10. Mitt Romney, George Marshall, and Israel-Palestine

    General Marshall vehemently opposed recognizing Israel and instead favored U.N. trusteeship after British withdrawal slated for midnight, the 14th of May, 1948. As reported in a fascinating historical snippet by the late Richard Holbrooke, who helped organize presidential adviser Clark Clifford’s papers for a co-authored memoir, then-President Harry Truman overruled George Marshall. See note and corrections made by changing the wording of Jewish state to the State of Israel. Signed by Harry Truman.

  11. Did any pollster ask these Israelis if they DISAPPROVE of South Africa’s apartheid? It sounds as though many of them think their old Afrikaner allies were right – otherwise they’d be admitting that their own system deserves the same punishment from the world community.

  12. America’s relationship with Israel is based on absolutely no national security benefits for us. The USA gains nothing from having this relationship. In fact, it costs us quite a bit, in money, and in our relations with other governments and societies. For paying these costs, we get back nothing.

    The fondness that the United States has towards Israel is purely sentimental. We see them as “the only democracy in the Middle East,” “a plucky group of idealists, besieged on all sides,” and “People like us, unlike the other societies in that part of the world.” We defend and aid Israel purely because we feel like it.

    Over the last few years, however, Israel has become increasingly undemocratic, illiberal, belligerent, and ugly in its relations with the U.S. and its allies. We’ve also become increasingly close to democratic Turkey over the last few years (a real ally, one whose young men have fought and died beside our own, unlike Israel’s) while Israel has trashed their once-strong relationship with that NATO ally. Meanwhile, with the Arab Spring, we’ve seen indigenous democracies crop up in that part of the world, some of which (Libya and Tunisia) seem much more liberal, democratic, and decent than Israel. And now their government is insinuating itself into our elections, trashing our President, and trying to drag us into a war.

    This is not wise behavior for a country whose relationship with us depends upon the warm feelings generated by the perception that they are more decent and more like us than their hostile neighbors.

  13. It should not be forgotten that during the 1956 joint British-French-Israeli invasion of Egypt, President Eisenhower put great pressure on Britain and France to withdraw, and he advocated economic sanctions against Israel if Israel refused to withdraw its forces from Egypt. The Democratic-controlled Senate rebuffed Eisenhower’s call for sanctions against Israel. Eisenhower then advocated UN sanctions against Israel. In the end, the tripartite invaders withdrew, but Eisenhower deserves a great deal of credit for his stand.

Comments are closed.