by Dalton Thomas

It’s quite common these days to hear people from across the religious and political divide speak of the State of Israel as an “apartheid regime” that “discriminates” based on “racist” ideology and uses inhumane and unnecessary force to maintain an inexcusable existence. British activist and ‘theologian’ Stephen Sizer describes Israel as “an apartheid State practising repressive and dehumanising measures against the indigenous Palestinians in flagrant disregard of universally recognised standards of human behaviour.” [1]

Then he takes aim at Christians who support Israel saying that:

“Christian Zionism is a theology that supports a political regime based on apartheid and discrimination – yet millions of people in the US express their support for it.” [2]

If he’s correct, then this gross abortion of justice needs to be declared, acknowledged, and rectified immediately; by Israelis and those who champion their sin. But if he has lost the plot, then it should be considered a tragedy that anyone would take his belligerent words seriously. This author believes the plot has in fact been lost.

The term “apartheid” (a new buzz word for the anti-Jewish guardians of social justice) comes from the Afrikaans word for “apartness” which was originally employed to describe what was taking place in South Africa during the 20th century; a horrific and disgusting policy that belittled and degraded human beings on the basis of the color of their skin. Is it appropriate to use such a term to describe what’s taking place in the Middle East? I don’t think so.

In fact, I’d argue that to borrow a term to describe the atrocity of segregation in South Africa to speak of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis is intellectually dishonest, historically ignorant, and politically naive.

The only similarity between the conflict between black and whites in South Africa in the last century, and the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians now is that there is conflict. But the source of the conflict is completely different. The nature of one conflict is altogether distinct from the other. And the suggestion that the two are historical parallels most assuredly borders on the definition of propaganda. Lucky for them, propaganda is a powerful social weapon (well it was for the Nazi’s anyway).

In light of the pop-culture allegation that the current crisis in the Middle East is symmetrical to the historical crisis in South Africa allow me to offer two historical realities that are often overlooked or omitted from the debate.

First, the Jews didn’t arrive in Israel in 1948 and initiate a hostile take-over. There had been Jewish presence in the Land for centuries. Remember, there had never been a Palestinian State before 1948. The Transjordan area had been passed off numerous times through the centuries. And all the while there was a Jewish population on the soil that was once identified as a Jewish nation. Then, in the wake of the Holocaust and the simultaneous expulsion of Jews from their homes across the Arab world in the 1930′s and 1940′s multitudes began immigrating to what was a sparsely populated landmass that had never to that point been legally declared an Arab State. Leading up to this point in time there had already been a legal precedent for Jewish residence in the Land that would later become “the State of Israel” (see San Remo Conference, Balfour Declaration, etc.). Why is this important? Because Sizer, Abbas, Ahmadinejad and others tell the story of the birth of the State as if the Jews showed up in 1948 and kicked out those who had previously been living there. Simply put, this is not true. This leads us to the second historical reality often overlooked or omitted.

When the Jewish Agency declared Israel’s political independence in 1948 the Arab population within the Land were told they could stay and that they should not heed the call of their Arab neighbors who were urging them to “leave their homes.” Yes, you read that right. Arabs were the ones who urged the Arab population to leave. For example, in the city of Haifa, the Arab population shrunk from 62,000 to 4,000 literally overnight. Why? Not because of pressure or threat of violence from the Jews but because the leaders of the Arab world commanded their kinsmen to evacuate immediately so they could carry out the Jewish scourge thus eliminating the fledgling State once and for all (essentially finishing what Hitler began). These facts are documented by Arab authorities themselves. On April 27, 1950, the Arab National Committee of Haifa affirmed Arab responsibility for Arab expulsion in a memorandum to the Arab States saying:

“The removal of the Arab inhabitants [of what is now Israel] was voluntary and was carried out at our request…The Arab delegation proudly asked for the evacuation of the Arabs and their removal to the neighboring Arab countries….We are very glad to state that the Arabs guarded their honour and traditions with pride and greatness.” [3]

Stephen Sizer, how does this square with your politics? More importantly, how does this square with the allegation that Israel is guilty of a South African-like apartheid? Call me crazy, but I see some glaring inconsistencies between the two. And I get the feeling that you’re deliberately omitting a large part of the story to advance your openly anti-Judaic historical and theological narrative. Time will tell I guess.

At this point it may be appropriate to bring Islamic jihad into the equation (another striking similarity between Israel and South Africa eh Sizer?!).

A few weeks ago in the Palestinian Times Hamas posted an article boasting in the number of terror attacks against the Jewish people since 2000 (another point of symmetry between the Israeli and South African conflicts). These are the statistics that they proudly include in their publication:

4303 terror attacks
61 suicide attacks
24 attempts to capture Israelis
423 bombings
90 sniper attacks
146 ambushes

Bear in mind this is just Hamas (a very small portion of the anti-Israel pie chart) and just in the last 11 years. When I studied South African racial apartheid in high school I don’t remember anything like this happening (maybe Sizer and his cronies are privy to a historical narrative that we in the American public school system were deprived of; an injustice that they may readily blame on the “Zionists” who control it).

From my public school vantage point, those who drop the “A” word have some substantiating to do. Why when Israel responds to such extreme violence (as stated by Hamas themselves) in the limited and restrained ways that they have do the critics label the State and those who support its right to exist as “racist” and “discriminatory”? And on what grounds? And by what standard? To answer these questions Sizer answers in one of his ranting articles (pregnant with footnotes) by saying “the United Nations.” The fact that he’d cite the UN as his standard of measurement for justice and human rights should make any thinking individual skeptical of his (already questionable) judgment.

In order to get a handle on whether Sizer and friends are fighting for truth or just blowing hot anti-Jewish air, let’s evaluate the measure of force and violence used by Israel in response to such relentless aggression (as graciously documented by Hamas) by considering a historical parallel.

During World War II the Allied Forces (led by the British Royal Air Force [RAF] and the United States Air Force [USAAF]) carried out air-raids on German cities in an attempt to cripple the Nazi’s. In four raids on a city called Dresden (just one of the many cities bombed), 3,600 planes dropped no less than 650,000 incendiaries, together with 8,000 lb. high-explosive bombs and hundreds of 4,000-pounders. In all more than 3,900 tons of high-explosive bombs and incendiary devices were dropped on the city. The attack destroyed 15 square miles (39 square kilometres) of the city centre. The death toll estimates range between 25,000 and 500,000. This was just one of the many raids that devastated entire regions of Germany. Why? Because of the threat of violence instigated by their Nazi neighbors.

My point? When Britain was threatened on her own soil by aggressive neighbors she retaliated in brute force. Am I exalting such an act as the standard of justice? No! I’m comparing Britain’s force against her self-professed enemies to the force of Israel against hers. I wonder if Stephen Sizer is aware of these events (carried out by his own government). And I wonder if he is consistent enough to condemn it in the same way and at the same volume he condemns Israel’s response to her own hostile neighbors who have publicly vowed and repeatedly attempted to exterminate her (while consistently making generous land concessions for peace). I wonder whether he considers British force in World War II to be “discriminatory” and “racist.” And I wonder how he would have viewed the bombing of Dresden or Hamburg.

The existential threat against the Jewish people in our day (whose grandparents were at that very moment suffering the atrocity of Auschwitz and Treblinka) have suffered far more than Britain during that brief window of time when the Nazi’s were pushing west. And yet Israel’s response has been far less severe, far more restrained, and far more compassionate. Israel’s inhumane policies are so detestable to her next door neighbors that (thanks to a recent poll) 35% of Palestinians living in East Jerusalem said they would prefer Israeli citizenship as opposed to a mere 30% who would prefer Palestinian. I wonder if Sizer finds it interesting that more Palestinians would appreciate being identified with the “apartheid regime” than their own people (it may have something to do with the fact that it was their own people who evicted them in the first place).

Is British or American force in history the rule of measurement for evaluating the justice of present political, social, and military endeavors? No. That’s wasn’t my point in bring up the British bombing of Dresden. My point is that Israel suffers disproportional criticism for disproportional force against a disproportional enemy. And on these grounds alone her critics should be ashamed of themselves. The irony is, the criticism is coming from many with British and American accents. This leads me to believe that they are either ignorant of history or intellectually dishonest about the reality of the conflict in the Middle East; its source, nature, and solution.


[1] http://www.christianzionism.org/Article/Sizer08.asp/.
[2] http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article12516.htm
[3] http://www.eretzyisroel.org/~jkatz/quotes.html