Wednesday, November 3, 2021


 A case study in 21st century propaganda

We've seen the right in this country weaponize a propaganda technique that I have rarely seen talked about: the fabrication or adoption of words or short phrases which are designed to stimulate rage toward the propagandists' enemies.  "Benghazi,"  "Her e-mails," "Socialism," "Tax and spend," "weak on defense," and on and on; these phrases have shown themselves to have a powerful effect on the uninformed and unreflective, if repeated often enough, and have contributed in major ways to keeping right wing governments in power around the world.

Nothing along these lines has had more effect than the misuse of the term "apartheid" in connection with the state of Israel.  The endless repetition of this term, filled with hateful associations, has swayed millions around the world to turn against the Israeli government, and Jews in general.  And frighteningly, in this incidence, the tactic has worked as well with the left, as with the right.  It is perhaps useless to try to rationally deal with something which is designed to overwhelm rationality with hatred and a lust for vengeance, but I thought it would be a good idea to discuss this phenomenon in some detail.

I want to consider here some of the rather long notes about the nature of real, South African apartheid, and compare it to what actually goes on in Israel.  The following excerpts are from a Wikipedia article about apartheid; in general, I am wary of quoting Wikipedia, but I thought this article gives a fairly detailed and accurate account.  Anyway, here we go.

"Apartheid was a system of institutionalised racial segregation that existed in South Africa and South West Africa (now Namibia) from 1948 until the early 1990s.  

The first apartheid law was the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act, 1949, followed closely by the Immorality Amendment Act of 1950, which made it illegal for most South African citizens to marry or pursue sexual relationships across racial lines."

No such law, of course, has ever existed in Israel.  It is, however, not an issue for a citizen of an Arab country to marry a Jew, since all Jews have effectively been driven out of those countries, in acts of open ethnic cleansing.

"The Population Registration Act, 1950 classified all South Africans into one of four racial groups based on appearance, known ancestry, socioeconomic status, and cultural lifestyle: "Black", "White", "Coloured", and "Indian"... Places of residence were determined by racial classification."

There is no classification of Israelis by racial, religious or other status.  Nobody is legally required to live or not live anywhere in Israel as a result of their ethnic status.  On the other hand, "Palestinian refugees" have been kept in concentration camps for four generations in the surrounding Arab countries, and are not free to live anywhere else.

"Between 1960 and 1983, 3.5 million black Africans were removed from their homes and forced into segregated neighbourhoods as a result of apartheid legislation, in some of the largest mass evictions in modern history... The government announced that relocated persons would lose their South African citizenship..."

Nothing like that has ever happened in Israel.  I want to point out that the Palestinians in the surrounding Arab countries are still not allowed to have citizenship there.  All Israeli Arabs have full citizenship.

"The first grand apartheid law was the Population Registration Act of 1950, which formalised racial classification and introduced an identity card for all persons over the age of 18, specifying their racial group."

Of course, nothing like that exists in Israel.

"The second pillar of grand apartheid was the Group Areas Act of 1950.[49] Until then, most settlements had people of different races living side by side. This Act put an end to diverse areas and determined where one lived according to race."

There are predominantly Arab areas in Israel, such as Ramla or South Jafo, the same way there have been predominantly Italian or Irish areas in New York, but these are not enforced by any Israeli law.

"The Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act of 1949 prohibited marriage between persons of different races, and the Immorality Act of 1950 made sexual relations with a person of a different race a criminal offence."

Nothing of the sort has ever been considered in Israel.  On the other hand, Arab countries have made sure that there are no mixed marriages involving Jews, by the simple expedient of killing or ethnically cleansing the Jews in their territories.

"Under the Reservation of Separate Amenities Act of 1953, municipal grounds could be reserved for a particular race, creating, among other things, separate beaches, buses, hospitals, schools and universities. Signboards such as "whites only" applied to public areas, even including park benches. Black South Africans were provided with services greatly inferior to those of whites, and, to a lesser extent, to those of Indian and Coloured people."

No such thing has ever existed in Israel.  No one has ever been banned from any public amenity based on their racial or ethnic status.

"(Prime minister) J.G. Strijdom moved to strip voting rights from black and Coloured residents of the Cape Province...

The parliament met in a joint sitting and passed the Separate Representation of Voters Act in 1956, which transferred Coloured voters from the common voters' roll in the Cape to a new Coloured voters' roll...but the recently enlarged Appeal Court, packed with government-supporting judges, upheld the act, and also the Act to remove Coloured voters.

The 1956 law allowed Coloureds to elect four people to Parliament, but a 1969 law abolished those seats and stripped Coloureds of their right to vote. Since Asians had never been allowed to vote, this resulted in whites being the sole enfranchised group."

All Israeli citizens have absolutely equal right to vote, and a malignant system like this has never even been considered in Israel.

"During the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s, the government implemented a policy of "resettlement", to force people to move to their designated "group areas". Millions of people were forced to relocate."

Nothing like that has ever occurred in Israel.  Arab Israelis are free to live wherever they want.

"The NP passed a string of legislation that became known as petty apartheid. The first of these was the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act 55 of 1949, prohibiting marriage between whites and people of other races. The Immorality Amendment Act 21 of 1950 (as amended in 1957 by Act 23) forbade "unlawful racial intercourse" and "any immoral or indecent act" between a white and a black, Indian or Coloured person."

It is laughable to even suggest that such laws exist in Israel.

"Black people were not allowed to run businesses or professional practices in areas designated as "white South Africa" unless they had a permit – such being granted only exceptionally. They were required to move to the black "homelands" and set up businesses and practices there."

Israeli Arabs are legally free to set up businesses anywhere they want.

"Trains, hospitals and ambulances were segregated."

Nothing like that exists in Israel.

"Residential areas were segregated and blacks were allowed to live in white areas only if employed as a servant and even then only in servants’ quarters. Black people were excluded from working in white areas, unless they had a pass, nicknamed the dompas, also spelt dompass or dom pass...A pass was issued for one magisterial district (usually one town) confining the holder to that area only. Being without a valid pass made a person subject to arrest and trial for being an illegal migrant. This was often followed by deportation to the person's homeland and prosecution of the employer for employing an illegal migrant. Police vans patrolled white areas to round up blacks without passes. Black people were not allowed to employ whites in white South Africa."

Again, nothing like this hideous practice ever existed in Israel.

"Blacks were not allowed to buy hard liquor. They were able to buy only state-produced poor quality beer (although this law was relaxed later). Public beaches, swimming pools, some pedestrian bridges, drive-in cinema parking spaces, graveyards, parks, and public toilets were segregated. Cinemas and theatres in white areas were not allowed to admit blacks. There were practically no cinemas in black areas. Most restaurants and hotels in white areas were not allowed to admit blacks except as staff. Blacks were prohibited from attending white churches under the Churches Native Laws Amendment Act of 1957"

Nothing like that in Israel either.

Well, there is more, but I think that is enough to demonstrate what a phenomenal lie it is to accuse Israel of being an apartheid state.  Nevertheless, Israel is constantly accused of this crime against humanity, and the single word apartheid is enough to drive millions, most of them on the left, into a frenzy of hatred, blocking any hope of rationality.  

It is important to note that this propaganda campaign is financed by sociopathic Arab billionaires, and is similar to the way that sociopathic American billionaires finance the similar campaigns directed so successfully toward the American right.  It is the manipulation of the masses by the rich in order to get them to abandon their own self interest in service to their would be masters.  Thus, the only democratic state in the Middle East, and the one really successful example there of a modern economy, is demonized, while the murderous and often genocidal behavior of Arab governments is ignored.  This widespread attitude, unfortunately so prevalent on the left, is racist both toward Jews, who are constantly attacked for behavior which is totally acceptable for non-Jews, and Arabs, who are infantilized and regarded as primitive people incapable of living in a civilized society.  In brief, it is one form of white supremacy that liberals feel free to adopt.


Samantha said...

I'll start it this way:

I am Jewish. I belong to a Reform congregation, and support B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization. I also find it insulting to say that 25% of American Jews , including myself, are dupes of Arab billionaires.

Since you began with marriage, I'll start there. Michael Baranes and Yakub Barhum have been in a relationship for 24 years. "The couple never officially married, in part because Israel does not recognize inter-religious marriage."

Stinks, doesn't it?

We also have the claim, "Thus, the only democratic state in the Middle East" -- as if Tunisia and Lebanon don't exist. ( Wikipedia says "Lebanon is a parliamentary democratic republic.")

Anyway, I'll post a link to B'Tselem here . You don't have to agree with it, but don't insult Jews who do agree by calling us anti-Semites.

Green Eagle said...

1. Religious intermarriages are not conducted in Israel, but marriages between members of different faiths conducted in other countries are recognized in Israel. The country absolutely does recognize intermarriages; it is true that the partners must go to another country unless one of them converts, which is both stupid and wrong, but you are still incorrect.

2. You are crazy to even suggest that the governments of Tunisia and Lebanon are democratic, in terms of treating all groups equally.

In Tunisia, as Reuters recently reported: "Tunisia's president unveiled a new government on Monday, but gave no hint when he would relinquish his near total control after seizing most powers in July...Under rules President Kais Saied announced last month when he swept aside much of the constitution in moves critics called a coup, the new cabinet will ultimately answer to him."

As for Lebanon, "Lebanon is a parliamentary democratic republic within the overall framework of confessionalism, a form of consociationalism in which the highest offices are proportionately reserved for representatives from certain religious communities..."

Something that would be described as an abomination if Israel did it.

"...from the mid-1970s until the parliamentary elections in 1992, the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990) precluded the exercise of political rights. According to the constitution, direct elections must be held for the parliament every four years, however after the parliamentary election in 2009[2] another election was not held until 2018. Since the emergence of the post-1943 state and after the destruction of the Ottoman Caliphate, national policy has been determined largely by a relatively restricted group of traditional regional and sectarian leaders."

So yeah, they call themselves a democracy, as, say, North Korea does, but only a fool would buy into that claim.

Israel, on the other hand, has open elections and peaceful transfer of power stretching back to its founding.

You are certainly a Jew who has been intimidated or propagandized into believing malignant lies about Israel. Does that make you an anti-Semite? Maybe, maybe not, but it does not reflect well on your knowledge or judgment. In particular, your reliance on B'Tselem, which propagates the lie that Israel is an apartheid state (which I have shown to be a vicious falsehood in this post) has thus disqualified itself to express an opinion on the subject.

I am not questioning your claim to be Jewish here, but given the tactics of Arab propagandists, I don't take it for granted either.

Infidel753 said...

Thank you for assembling these comparisons. Of course it's shameful that it's even necessary to do so, but we all know how many people believe the "Israel is an apartheid state" nonsense.

For that matter, there are Arab politicians and even Arab parties in the Knesset; the equivalent would never have happened in apartheid South Africa.

As best I can remember, every person who has ever tried to leave an anti-Semitic comment on my blog has claimed to be Jewish. It's impossible to check and buys a bit of cred, I suppose.

Green Eagle said...

Sad to say, Infidel, I have run into a fair number of Jews who have bought into this BDS- B'Tselem nonsense, so I would not be surprised if she is Jewish. I do know, however, that like virtually everything that right wingers believe, it is nothing but a pack of lies, even if it comes from the left this time, so it would not be surprising that people promoting this are lying about themselves too.

And by the way, as you say, it is shameful that we have to do this to defend a tiny country, solely because it is the only one on earth with a Jewish majority, while its attackers care nothing about horrors perpetrated in the surrounding Muslim countries that are magnitudes greater than anything that Israel has done.

Infidel753 said...

while its attackers care nothing about horrors perpetrated in the surrounding Muslim countries

Of course they never address that. If I had to choose between being an Arab in Israel vs being a Shiite in Saudi Arabia, or a gay person in Iran, or a Hazara in Afghanistan, or a woman in any of those places (or, of course, a black person in apartheid South Africa), it would be an easy choice. But you never hear a word about those victims of persecution from the same people who constantly bash Israel. They don't even talk about the abuses committed against Palestinians in Gaza by Hamas. It's pretty obvious what the real motivation is.

Samantha said...

Some items.

1) The Immorality and Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Amendment Act, 1985, repealed the ban on interracial marriage in South Africa. From 1985 to 1991, it was legal for two people of different races to marry in South Africa, which is less restrictive than current Israeli law. South Africa was still an apartheid state, anyway.

2) 972 Magazine notes, "It is important to remember, however, that 'apartheid' is not simply a derogatory term that leftists throw around whenever they get angry at the current reality. Rather, it is a description of a regime with clear characteristics: one whose organizing principle is to promote and perpetuate the superiority of one group over another."

Israel maintains roads open to Jewish vehicles, while Arab vehicles are banned, such as this one in Hebron.

Then there's one parking lot in Jerusalem where Jews were charged less than ethnic Armenians were. I say "used to" because Armenians are now prohibited from parking there.

3) According to Wikipedia, "Israel maintains direct external control over Gaza and indirect control over life within Gaza: it controls Gaza's air and maritime space, as well as six of Gaza's seven land crossings. It reserves the right to enter Gaza at will with its military and maintains a no-go buffer zone within the Gaza territory. Gaza is dependent on Israel for water, electricity, telecommunications, and other utilities."

In other words, Gaza is under Israeli occupation, but the Palestinians living in Gaza have no say whatsoever in the Israeli government that controls it. Likewise, the Gentiles living in the occupied West Bank have no say in the Israeli government, while Jews living next door to them can vote for the Knesset.

This is your biggest sleight of hand. Israel's defenders rarely say anything about the Occupied Territories. The Jewish and Palestinian populations of the combined Israel and Occupied Territories are about equal. But all the Jews there are eligible to vote, while only about 15% of the Arabs there can vote for the Knesset. Likewise, in some Jim Crow states, a handful of Blacks could vote, but they were greatly outnumbered by disenfranchised Blacks.

4) Tunisia and Lebanon are, at best, flawed democracies.

Samantha said...

One final bit:

In other places, I have criticized Iran's position on LGBTA+ people, Saudi Arabia's position on women, and Morocco's illegal occupation of Western Sahara. However, all I can say when Infidel753 et al. condemn those practices is "I agree." (Has Infidel753 ever condemned Morocco's illegal occupation? I don't know.)

Saying that is . . . not me. That's not how my family operates. "I agree" adds nothing to the conversation. We argue . . . a whole lot. There's a reason "Two Jews, three opinions" is a saying.