By Fra Hughes – Sep 29, 2021
Many observers and organizations make parallels between the apartheid segregated Society of South Africa, the Jim Crow racial segregation laws of North America, and “Israel.”
Apartheid (/əˈpɑːrt(h)aɪt/, especially South African English: /əˈpɑːrt(h)eɪt/, Afrikaans: [aˈpartɦɛit]; transl. “separateness”, lit. “aparthood”) was a system of institutionalized racial segregation that existed in South Africa and South-West Africa (now Namibia) from 1948 until the early 1990s.
20 years on from the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance, in conjunction with the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People, held in Durban South Africa, where are we now?
The use of the law, in this case, an unjust and immoral law in South Africa by the minority white Dutch Afrikaans and the minority white British colonial invaders, was designed to keep white Europeans, in the ascendancy in South Africa.
Thirteen percent of the population who were white-ruled sixty-eight percent of the population who were black with an Asian community representing the remaining nineteen percent.
First, they ruled through a brutal military occupation, using the gun.
Then they ruled through a brutal racist government using repression and separation laws.
It was the use of apartheid laws that legalized and enforced a system of ‘separateness’. A system of dual apartness which left the races unable to socialize, congregate or work together as brothers and sisters, equal and indivisible under the constitution.
In South Africa, they legalized colonial white supremism through parliamentary statute, police enforcement, and judicial sentencing.
The first apartheid law passed in 1949 was the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act. This was followed by the Immorality Act of 1950 which made it illegal for many South Africans to marry or have sexual relations across racial lines.
The Pass laws were designed to force black people to live in designated areas, corralled as it were, like animals in a pen, thereby making them available as cheap labor for white farmers.
It was the coming to power of the African National Party in 1948 who created the apartheid laws and system of governing South African society, that reinforced the racial discrimination already self-evident in the country. A series of Land Acts gave more than 80% of the land to whites and banned Black crop sharers from working the land.
A series of discriminatory, racially biased laws, saw the permanent separation of the races, alongside a parallel system of separate transport systems, public lavatories, and housing districts.
In effect, the National Party which won the 1948 parliamentary elections on the slogan of Apartheid meaning “separateness” created a privileged white minority class that used the indigenous black South Africans as a labor pool to work on the farms, clean their homes, as a subjugated underclass, kept in perpetual poverty, in appalling substandard housing units in shantytowns with poor education, poor health, and poor social provision.
Like all colonialists, they strove to keep the people apart by fomenting sectarian tensions between the regional ethnic groups in order to prevent a unified opposition to their racist endeavor. They encouraged black-on-black violence in the townships and in the countryside.
A land of milk and honey for the white supremacist colonial invaders beside a land of despair, oppression, and governmental indifference for the natives.
Apartheid lasted for 50 years in South Africa and only officially ended when the ANC, African National Conference which had historically opposed the apartheid system and fought a legitimate war against the unjust white only parliamentary system, finally came to power in 1993, when the majority of citizens were given the right to vote and they elected Nelson Mandela as the first Black President of the Republic of South Africa,
It can be claimed that not much has changed for the indigenous peoples of South Africa, While it is true they have a majority black representative government, the whites still own the land. White farmers still get rich while employing cheap black labor.
The captains of industry are still white although a new elite cadre of black politicians and civil servants may now live in gated (separate) communities, much of the pain of being poor, disenfranchised, and black has changed very little for so many.
A new black capitalist class also rides high above the black dispossessed workers and those who go to bed hungry.
Many observers and organizations make parallels between the apartheid segregated Society of South Africa, the Jim Crow racial segregation laws of North America, and “Israel.” The use of Israeli-only roads and Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank are prime examples of Israeli separation laws.
The discrimination against African-Americans is again reflective of the white European racism that underpins white American society. It is mirrored in the majority of the white legislator, judiciary, police, and army aficionados in power in American civil society and in the corporate, business, and banking sectors.
White Americans control the levers of power and influence, in the media as well as on Capitol Hill.
The continued destruction of black Afro-American society through the widespread use of drugs, criminal gangs, poverty, underinvestment, governmental neglect, police brutality, judicial repression, are continued proof if it were needed, that a white European colonial mindset underpins discrimination and racial prejudice in societies where white Europeans want to maintain an internal hegemonic position of superiority which is then reflected in their foreign policies of exploitation and subjugation, in order to maintain white economic privilege in the countries of the EU, North America, Canada, and Australia.
All the countries I have mentioned above are guilty of genocide, racial intolerance, oppression, military adventurism, and ethnic cleansing.
Is “Israel” any different?
“Israel” is a white European colonial settler state.
It has followed all the steps taken by previous white European settler-colonial states such as South Africa, North America, Canada, and Australia,
It has colonized, subjugated, ethnically cleansed, and marginalized the indigenous populations of the country they have militarily conquered and supplanted.
“Israel” has its Nations state Law which many international observers see as a template for a Jewish only Israeli state that separates non-Jews and others from playing an active role in the state.
“Israel” now has usurped 85% of historic Palestine.
To me, apartheid is an abhorrent manifestation of a supremacist ideology that seeks to separate one from the other, to create disharmony, bitterness, hatred, and a divided dysfunctional broken society based on racial or religious purity.
“Israel” fulfills all these roles but it does so much more.
An apartheid state might use the law to discriminate. It may use the law to repress and isolate those it seeks to subdue but it doesn’t bomb kindergartens, schools, hospitals, and bakeries, does it?
It may have separate roads and separate housing areas but it doesn’t shoot countless children in the legs for throwing stones or bringing water to the kids resisting an illegal occupation, creating crippled boys, does it?
It does not shoot paramedics and leave the wounded to bleed out on the street to die, does it?
It does not murder physicists in another jurisdiction, indiscriminately bomb bridges and civil infrastructure in neighboring countries, does it?
It does not count the calorific intake of those it is legally responsible for, to break their will to resist, to withhold food, medicine, vaccines, fuel in order to impoverish and emasculate an entire population of 1.8 million people, does it?
It does not bomb neighboring countries that are not at war with it, deny building permits to the indigenous population while simultaneously dismantling their homes in a land you are illegally occupying, and forcing homes owners to destroy their properties. To detain citizens under Administrative detention, internment without trial. To murder, maim, imprison, torture, and kill at will with impunity, is this Apartheid? I think not. Yet these are the everyday actions of a rogue unaccountable state immune to international law and international sanctions, actively supported protected, and facilitated by the other white European ethnic colonies that Israel aspires to be.
“Israel” is Beyond Apartheid.
We must find a new way to describe “Israel” based on its everyday practices of ethnic cleansing, murder, colonization, dispossession, and expansion.
We must call “Israel,” not an Apartheid State which it is, but an ethno-cleansing pariah genocidal rogue state, because that it was, it does? That is what it is. That is what we must call it.
Featured image: A Palestinian child being violently arrested by Israeli police in Ramallah, Occupied Palestine. Photo: AFP
Fra Hughes is an Irish political activist, commentator, and author. His most recent books are My Walk with Palestine: an Activist's Tale and Voices from Donbass.