Richard Goldstone debunks the “Apartheid Israel” slogan

And does a very nice job of it. Waiting for apologies from those who called him an “anti-Semite” for his criticism of the Gaza mission.

… and does a very nice job of it, though I wish he’d paid more attention to the extent to which the current government is willing to defy the law, or rewrite it when the courts try to enforce Palestinian rights.

It will be interesting to see how many of the extremist Zionists who labelled Goldstone an “anti-Semite” for his critical report of the Gaza operation now admit that they were wrong. I think the over-and-under on that is zero.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

23 thoughts on “Richard Goldstone debunks the “Apartheid Israel” slogan”

  1. Goldstone “does a nice job of it”? Your judgment is really slipping here. That piece is dumb as a bag of hammers. Okay, maybe the Israeli treatment of Palestinians isn’t textbook “Apartheid.” It also isn’t the Inquisition, the Holocaust, the Killing Fields, the Trail of Tears et cetera. This makes it all right then?

    Israeli treatment of Palestinians is atrocious no matter what else you call it, and Goldstone’s piece is just another lame obfuscation. It was nicely paired with David Brooks’ latest flatulation.

  2. Thank you for reminding all of us that there are anti-Zionist fanatics fully as unreasonable and unreasoning as the Zionist fanatics.

    1. Mark, play nice. And truthfully, which you didn’t (note: I don’t know if there is a history with kolkaino which would justify your comment).

      There was nothing in Kolkaino’s comment which justified your remark.

  3. I’m sure it makes him feel better about himself. And who knows, it might do some good; but cf the comment above, a standard (if someone less hostile than usual) decontextualized judgment of the situation. Goldstone lent his name and reputation, and most of all his Jewishness, as cover for just such a judgment, an official one, even more hostile, which itself provides cover for such views. Does that make him a Jewish anti-Semite? No, but it does qualify him for the category useful idiot. And he must have known that his Jewishness was a key element of his utility, which makes his idiocy more odious than most.

  4. I also found Goldstone’s piece less that convincing. Obviously, Israel isn’t South Africa, but just as obviously, it’s treatment of the Palestinians in the occupied territories is a disgrace. And as you point out yourself, the actual situation on the ground is far worse than the formal, legal situation, since the Government routinely ignores what few legal rights the courts have granted the Palestinians. Surely you must realize when you are reduced to loudly proclaiming that you’re a bit better than Apartheid-era South Africa, you’ve already lost the argument.

  5. Thank you for reminding all of us that any response other than “Megadittoes” to any piece of pro-Israel propaganda may constitute ‘anti-Zionist fanatacism.’

    Goldstone’s piece remains a sor of mealy-mouthed walkback of his earlier report, an atonement, an understandable, if still unfortunate attempt at appeasement of those who vituperated against it.

  6. “It will be interesting to see how many of the extremist Zionists who labelled Goldstone an “anti-Semite” for his critical report of the Gaza operation now admit that they were wrong. I think the over-and-under on that is zero.”

    Huh? Do you mean the report Goldstone recanted on?

  7. I thought the headline was rathter telling “The apartied SLANDER”??? It implies a quasi threat to those who consider the apartied analogy. I believe it was Jimmy Carter who used it in the title of one of his books.

    So to avoid the accusation of slander, let us find a new term to describe the forced imprisonment of millions of people and the illegal occupation, and sequestration of other’s land.

    It is ironic perhaps that the acceptance of apartied in S Africa was based on a mind set and belief system of the white S Africans, that they and the native peoples were inherently different, unequal, and could never live together. The acceptence of the treatment of Palistinians by Israel is based on similar beliefs.

    The belief is that Israel cannot exist unless it is a religious state, therefore it must always be seperate from the other. This belief is unreconsilable with truth and reality and dooms Israel to this perpetual dilemma and inevitably to criticism of apartied behaviour. (apologes for spelling errors)

  8. Any refutation of the apartheid allegory that fails to explicitly address the bantustan/occupied territories analogy is pretty darn weak. If you can’t name and refute your opponents’ best argument, what kind of argument do you have? Also the religious controls over civil law and life provide a bit more subtle analogy to apartheid – separate, a bit more equal, and just as awful.

    Larry B – thank you for reminding all of us that there are Zionist fanatics fully as unreasonable and unreasoning as the anti-Zionist fanatics.

    1. What a bizarre thing to say. I am not Mark Kleiman, in case you haven’t noticed, and my comments on the preceding commentator were completely devoid of this kind of rhetoric.

      1. Just because you use nice words doesn’t make those words reasonable or reasoning.
        Tone matters most, by far, to people who’ve lost an argument and are unwilling and unable to admit it. It’s the civility or lack thereof of substantive content that matters to better people.

        1. Right. The observation that Goldstone’s Jewishness was a factor in his choice by and utility to the UNHRC is, according to Schmidt (and you) “Zionist fanaticism.” How, exactly, this follows isn’t clear but nevertheless according to you it’s a “substantive” argument and you (and he) are “better people” by virtue of its content. This claim doesn’t embarrass you in the least. It must be nice to be so virtuous.

  9. I’ve never heard of anyone characterizing the treatment of Arabs inside Israel as “apartheid.” Goldstone is doing battle with a straw man there.

    His real argument, such as it is, hinges on this:

    The situation in the West Bank is more complex. But here too there is no intent to maintain “an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group.”

    I can only say that Goldstone and I have different perceptions of Netanyahu’s intent.

  10. I think Goldstone is right but for the wrong reason.

    The West Bank policy of Israel DOES look like Bantustans. And Israeli Arabs, while they have some rights, do get treated as second-class citizens.

    But it’s not Apartheid for a really crucial reason– Apartheid was motivated by racism against blacks. Israel does what it does because of (1) a security threat, and (2) a desire to make a land grab. But neither of those things is motivated by a belief that Palestinian Arabs are sub-human or unworthy of equal rights.

    1. “But neither of those things is motivated by a belief that Palestinian Arabs are sub-human or unworthy of equal rights.”

      That’s odd, because the Israelis certainly act that way.

  11. Sorry to pile on, Larry, but I don’t think this is fair – “And he must have known that his Jewishness was a key element of his utility, which makes his idiocy more odious than most.”

    People should be allowed to say what they think. Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe this is sort of an important liberal value. If readers give something more or less credence based on the ethnicity of a writer, then shame on *them.* Of course, people perceived as turncoats face social sanctions, but that sort of thing isn’t really respectable (unless the person is dishonest).

    Other than that, I have nothing useful to say about that area of the world other than a) we should have those referenda Jonathan posted about a while ago and b) failing that, NATO on the ’67 line. I’m sick of waiting. And, really, I’d think about b) a lot more before actually doing it. But I see no downside to a) and I wish someone would just do it already.

  12. @mark–that response above was a little raw. you and kalkaino may have a history that i have yet to stumble across in the comments, otherwise your response was completely out of proportion to his post. having read the linked article i find nothing much to argue about with kalkaino’s dismissal of it.

    1. I agree. I found nothing in his remark that was anti-zionist, extreme or otherwise. Is any criticism of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians off-limits?

  13. Mark, the claim that there are growing similarities between the Israeli occupation and the South African Apartheid regime is one that’s been but forward by an *Israeli Prime Minister*. Here is Ehud Olmert in Ha’aretz:

    “If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights (also for the Palestinians in the territories), then, as soon as that happens, the State of Israel is finished”, Olmert said on the last day of the Annapolis Conference. “The Jewish organizations, which were our power base in America, will be the first to come out against us”, Olmert said, “because they will say they cannot support a state that does not support democracy and equal voting rights for all its residents.”

  14. One problem with the Goldstone piece is that it ignores the serious discussion among _Israeli_ social scientists about the applicability of the term “apartheid” to the current or future West Bank _and_ to the treatment of the Arab citizens of Israel. This is taking place both in the academic journals that anyone with access to JSTOR can easily access, and in at least two books by Israeli academics recently published by American university presses.

    It does not take rocket science to acquaint oneself with this body of work, which is more serious, in a way, than the politically motivated talk from outside that Judge Goldstone decries. One concern is, what happens to Zionist notions of a Jewish democratic state when the state has control over a population that is 40% non-Jewish?

    In short, “apartheid” is not only a term used by “enemies of Israel” but an analytic concept brought to bear by very concerned and knowledgable Israelis.

    There is at least one mention of the Jimmy Carter book above, but no sign of acquaintance with its contents. Readers might be surprised by his actual use of the term: it’s not at all discordant with the Israeli discussion mentioned above, just much milder.

  15. “Defending Israel” is one of those schelling points for a relatively privileged fraction of humanity, like supporting opera or supporting University of Southern California. The hearfelt plea to criticize Israel just the right amount but not too much is comedy. The whole Israel project is a relatively naughty hedonistic exercise by a relatively privileged fraction of humanity, of which there are quite a few in the world. They could be doing something better with their time (sure they could be doing worse, too) maybe if we ever institute global pigovian taxes they can just pay a zionism tax and go about their not-apartheid hedonistic whatever-they-do.

Comments are closed.