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Slandering the Jewish State (and other fairy tales)

Anyone interested in witnessing the depths to a which party-line academic can descend should read Slandering the Jewish State by Prof Gerald Steinberg on the Yediot Aharonot web site, Ynet (English translation here.) The most striking feature of Steinberg’s attack on those who equate Israel with apartheid is that he makes absolutely no attempt to actually refute the arguments made in favor of the comparison. Not a word. Gurnischt.

Instead, Steinberg concludes that Israel is being slandered on the basis of quotes from various Jewish supporters of Israel who also reject the comparison and the fact that there are other unpalatable regimes in the world who, he seems to believe, are more worthy of the apartheid label. That, along with a couple of broadsides at the “Arab and Islamic blocs” in the UN, China, Russia and European support for human rights NGOs, is all that the worthy professor needs to junk the apartheid comparison. No need to delve into actual facts.

Makes one wonder about the quality of the Bar Ilan political science faculty, where Steinberg teaches, doesn’t it? It’s the same university, by the way, that accepts doctoral students without a BA. Academic rigor is clearly not Bar Ilan’s strong suit.

To support his contention that equating Israel with apartheid is slander of the Jewish state, the prof quotes three Jewish supporters of Israel: former Canadian attorney general Irwin Cotler, former journalist Benjy Pogrund and Mr. Flip-Flop himself, Judge Richard Goldstone. The latter, of course, is the same pathetic Goldstone who reversed himself so often and so categorically on the Gaza inquiry that it’s actually impossible to believe (or even understand) anything he says.

Cotler is quoted as saying  “Let there be no mistake about it: to indict Israel as an Apartheid State is prologue and justification for the dismantling of the Jewish State, for the criminalization of its supporters, and for the consequential silencing of their speech.” Nice. It’s the same old anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism crap. The arse-licking members of APIC certainly didn’t sound silenced at their annual shindig in Washington last week.

Goldstone is even more entertaining. He is quoted as saying that  “In Israel, there is no apartheid. Nothing there comes close to the definition of apartheid under the 1998 Rome Statute…” Leaving aside the minor point that Israel has not ratified the Rome Statute, let’s take a look at what it says about apartheid:

“The ‘crime of apartheid’ means inhumane acts of a character similar to those referred to in paragraph 1, committed in the context of an institutionalised regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”

Israel doesn’t come close to that definition, judge? I know that I don’t have your experience hanging freedom fighters in the good old days in apartheid South Africa, but I believe it does. Systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group is as Israeli as falafel and air force strikes on Gaza. Or are we going to quibble about whether religious groups qualify as racial? The Israeli Internal Affairs Ministry maintains that they do. Apply for an Israeli ID and see what it says.

I understand Steinberg’s dilemma. He can’t argue the facts, he can’t find any reputable spokesmen to support his cause and he’s reduced to implicitly comparing Israel to Syria in a vain attempt to argue duplicity on the part of the ‘Israeli Apartheid’ campaigners. How sad. Apartheid South Africa also had some very insalubrious bedfellows.

I, on the other hand, am prepared to debate the facts. Steinberg and his poodles are invited to read here.