Former South African journalist Benjamin Pogrund, now residing in Israel, finds it difficult to acknowledge that Israel is an apartheid state.
His former vocation at a time when Verwoerdian-style apartheid was at its prime, appears not to have alerted him to the Zionist-style apartheid in vogue in Israel since its disputed origin in 1948.
This failure to recognize the existence and practice of apartheid in Israel leads him to dispute such tagging. In fact he goes even further by claiming that anyone who says that Israel is apartheid does not appreciate what apartheid was. Well, was there anyone better qualified than the architect of apartheid, Hendrik Verwoerd to recognize similar socio-political constructs in other countries?
He observed that the Zionists “….took Israel from the Arabs after the Arabs had lived there for a thousand years. In that, I agree with them, Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state.” [Rand Daily Mail, 23 November 1961]
40 years later Archbishop Desmond Tutu in a commentary published by the Guardian, observed that Israelis were “treating Palestinians in the same way the apartheid South African government treated blacks.”
Testimonies from both the oppressor as well as the victim, provided separately over a time span of four decades, cannot be dismissed by suggesting that they knew nothing about apartheid!
One suspects that the apologist role by Pogrund to defend Israel against the charge of practicing apartheid, is intended to prevent it from being classified as an apartheid state. Not surprising then that he recognizes the threat to Israels right to exist if the apartheid label is deployed as a political weapon.
In denouncing the apartheid label a lie, Pogrund is also at odds with many prominent Israeli human-rights activists such as Uri Davis, who have consistently explored why and in what way it was possible for the Jewish state, informed by the ideology of political Zionism, to project itself as the “only democracy in the Middle East” and effectively veil from critical scrutiny, let alone prosecution before international war crimes tribunal, the crime against humanity of the mass expulsion of the native indigenous Palestinian people.
In his latest detailed study titled “Apartheid Israel –” Possibilities for the struggle within”, Davis makes a compelling case to lift the veil from Israeli apartheid. His analysis of the legal jargon underpinning a devious Zionist political framework of the core question of citizenship, reveals an extensive network of laws which determine that Jewish citizens are more equal than non-Jewish citizens.
In this regard Pogrund concedes that while in theory the Arab population have full citizen rights, in practice they suffer extensive discrimination.
The reality however is much worse:
The rights of a “non-Jew” to property, to the social welfare services and to the material resources of the state are not equal to those of a “Jew”. Hence, citizens of Israel defined as “non-Jews” [namely Arabs,Muslim & Christian alike] are denied access to 93 per cent of the territory of pre-1967 Israel administered by the Israeli Lands Administration.
Far from being a democracy, Israel has veiled its racist character by determining three classes of citizenship: Class A reserved for Jews, Class B for non-Jews and Class C for “present-absentees”.
The question therefore for Pogrund and all apologists of the Zionist regime is whether second and third-class citizenship and the attendant discrimination and denial of fundamental human rights not justify the claim that Israel is the last surviving apartheid state among the member states of the United Nations?