Udi Aloni on Israeli Apartheid

Udi Aloni, What Does a Jew Want?“A couple of years ago I approached my ardently Zionist mom, a woman who carried a weapon for the Jewish community of Jerusalem in 1948, and asked her a simple question: ‘Mom, is all this apartheid?’

With the sigh of a betrayed lover she indicated that, yes, this is apartheid. My heart broke.”—Udi Aloni

In an essay for Salon, Udi Aloni, author of What Does a Jew Want?: On Binationalism and Other Specters , challenged a recent New York Times op-ed by South African jurist Richard Goldstone denying the practice of apartheid in Israel.

Aloni, who grew up in Israel and whose parents adhered to a humanistic Zionist ideology, ultimately came to the realization that Israel practiced a form of apartheid in its treatment of Palestinians. Apartheid in Israel however, is different than it was in South Africa as Aloni explains:

The two states embody different sets of interests and power structures, and while in some ways it has been crueler in Israel, in others it is more liberal. The main difference between the two is that in South Africa apartheid was an explicit tenet of the judicial system, while in Israel the entire judicial system conceals and cleanses the praxis of government-led apartheid.

Aloni goes on to identify the reasons why it is fair to characterize Israeli policies toward Palestinians as a form of apartheid. He cites the breaking up and appropriation of Palestinian land and the denial of civil rights for many Palestinians.

Aloni concludes by writing:

Goldstone claims that the theoretical two-state solution to come provides the legal justification not to consider the Israeli regime as practicing apartheid. Yet the state of Israel created and continues to develop the settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for 500,000 Jews, and only for Jews, while not building for the Palestinians from the refugee camps and elsewhere. This is sufficient to call this Israeli practice a form of apartheid.

A couple of years ago I approached my ardently Zionist mom, a woman who carried a weapon for the Jewish community of Jerusalem in 1948, and asked her a simple question: “Mom, is all this apartheid?”

With the sigh of a betrayed lover she indicated that, yes, this is apartheid. My heart broke.

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