Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Inversions of Truth Regarding Apartheid in the Middle East

Eugene Kontorovich's article There’s Apartheid in the Holy Land, but Not in Israel echoes and reinforces  several points that I have made, including that apartheid has a legal definition, that accusing Israel of apartheid is not only a lie but an inversion of truth, and that Amnesty International's recent report about Israel is disgraceful.

Kontorovich begins by explaining what apartheid is: "The defining characteristic of apartheid--what distinguishes it from generic racial discrimination--is the rigid separation of groups in public spaces and positions of power. This is the apart in apartheid."

It is very important that political leaders accurately define apartheid and then apply the accurate definition when making policy decisions. It is the responsibility of media members to accurately define apartheid and then apply the accurate definition in their reports. Politicians and media members who fail the basic test of accurately defining apartheid and then applying the accurate definition should not be trusted regarding not only this issue, but any issue: a deficit in reasoning, logic, and/or bias is rarely confined to just one subject, so a person who is wrong about apartheid is very likely to be wrong about other issues as well.

Kontorovich notes that one example of apartheid is "a government policy that bans real estate sales or transactions to the disfavored group. Apartheid is suggested by policies that carve out massive zones where the disfavored group cannot live or work, create ethnically homogenous zones, and restrict the disfavored group to ghettoes. One might consider it apartheid if a government enforced a policy of extrajudicial execution of members of a disfavored group." Do those examples register with self-proclaimed "progressives" who seek to fight apartheid? If so, great--they should now direct their energy toward opposing the crimes against humanity committed by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Gaza, because the PA enforces all of the above policies against Jews. Kontorovich notes that under PA law it is a crime punishable by death to sell land to a Jew, while in contrast under Israeli law "Arabs enjoy full property rights, enforced by the courts against Jews."

Kontorovich declares, "What makes the 'Israel apartheid' meme particularly despicable is that it is not just a lie, it is an inversion of the truth." This is why I use the phrase "self-proclaimed 'progressives'" to refer to those who claim to seek justice but in fact seek to, among other things, destroy capitalism to create a socialist economy, and ostracize Israel while ignoring the crimes committed by Israel's enemies. Proclaiming oneself to be progressive is not at all the same with actually having progressive ideas, goals, and actions: if your ideas, goals, and actions will not lead to progress, then you are not a progressive, no matter what you call yourself or what others call you.

Kontorovich concludes, "Apartheid is not merely a term of opprobrium, it is a crime created by and defined in international treaties. As a legal matter, while Ramallah's treatment of Jews is discriminatory and violates human rights, it is impossible to say it formally qualifies as apartheid. The standard for apartheid has been set so high by the international community, that thus far only South Africa has been deemed a clear case. But by the standards implicit in Amnesty's report, the Palestinian government is guilty."

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