Sunday, July 8, 2007

Americans for Middle East Understanding: About That Word Apartheid

Readers, I have been away from computers for almost three weeks, teaching and relaxing at Holden Village - - the Lutheran retreat center in Washington's Cascade Mountains.

The Link, the newsletter of Americans for Middle East Understanding, dedicated it's spring edition to the relationship between Israel and Apartheid South Africa. Find it at this web site: - or download the pdf file:

John F. Mahoney, Executive Director, writes:

President Carter’s latest book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” has unleashed–-to use a much over-used phrase--a firestorm of controversy.

To suggest that white, racist South Africa’s treatment of its indigenous inhabitants is in any way similar to Israel’s treatment of its indigenous inhabitants, for some, smacks of anti-Semitism.

And yet, a Google search of “Israel + Apartheid” brings up 5.5 million references. The subject, it seems, is being discussed.

So, to help clarify the relationship between Israel and apartheid South Africa, we have put together a timeline, beginning with June 1917, when Dr. Chaim Weizmann and Gen. Jan Christian Smuts met in London to lobby for their respective causes.

From Jimmy Carter's book:

“The bottom line is this:

“Peace will come to Israel and the Middle East only when the Israeli government is willing to comply with international law, with the Roadmap for Peace, with official American policy, with the wishes of a majority of its own citizens—and honor its previous commitments—by accepting its legal borders. All Arab neighbors must pledge to honor Israel’s right to live in peace under these conditions. The United States is squandering international prestige and goodwill and intensifying global anti-American terrorism by unofficially condoning or abetting the Israeli confiscation of Palestinian territory. It will be a tragedy—for the Israelis, the Palestinians, and the world—if peace is rejected and a system of oppression, apartheid, and sustained violence is permitted to prevail.”—Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, p. 216.

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