March 20, 2008

On Israel’s separation barrier

Posted in conflict, israel at 3:27 pm by greensstoptheboycott

One of the reasons cited by Green would-be boycotters is what they like to refer to as the ‘apartheid wall’.

‘Apartheid wall’ is a misnomer calculated to associate Israel with apartheid South Africa. For an examination of the difference between Israel and apartheid South Africa, there is a very cogent piece by John Strawson on Engage and a Z-Word essay on franchising apartheid by Rhoda Kadalie and Julia Bertelsmann about how the apartheid analogy has evolved and been contested in South Africa.

See also Mohammad Darawshe who reviews the good and improving state of Israeli law – and it is law which is important if you want to make an apartheid analogy – while criticising Israeli civil society for its lagging vision. Mohammad’s organisation, The Abraham Fund Initiatives (TAFI), has brought about real, strongly-felt changes in Israeli society including changes in policing policy, partnerships between Jewish and Arab local government officials, and a vast increase in uptake of Arabic on the Israeli school curriculum. This doesn’t look much like apartheid to me. TAFI recently set up a UK office.

For a short critical assessment of the separation barrier which doesn’t insult its readers by serving up Israel as a cartoon villain read Israel’s separation barrier: the best of the worst by Haim Watzman.

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