Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Warped Mirror: The 'Israeli Apartheid' gospel

The Warped Mirror
How the world sees Israel - comments and analysis by a contemporary historian.
Posted by Petra Marquardt-Bigman
19 July 09

Advertised as "The new book by Ben White" on a website dedicated to marketing "Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner's Guide," everything seems skillfully designed to appeal both to dedicated Israel-bashers and newcomers eager to learn the basics. Those who have never heard of Ben White, a young Cambridge graduate with a BA in English Literature, will certainly be impressed by the long list of prominent people he could get to endorse his first book that has nothing whatsoever to do with anything he studied: Ben White's efforts to spread the idea that Israel should be denounced and opposed as an "apartheid state" are warmly praised by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the historian Ilan Pappe, and a number of well-known academics and writers as well as political and religious personalities.

Reviews that are critical of Ben White's book are, understandably, not featured on this website. One of the most recent reviews that includes links to some noteworthy previous responses to Ben White is available at Z Word. Among the issues that have been repeatedly raised by critics of White's work are questions about his expertise and his apparent unwillingness to acknowledge that the sources he relies on are anything but uncontroversial and have been shown to contain numerous distortions and misrepresentations.

Given Ben White's published record of articles and blog posts that mostly focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there is actually little reason to be surprised that he is a passionate ideologue who has little regard for facts that don’t fit his agenda - and his agenda arguably doesn't reflect primarily a concern for the Palestinian plight, but rather a fierce determination to demonize Israel. Not unlike Hamas, Ben White has only disdain for the peace process and efforts to achieve a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; instead, he passionately advocates "steadfastness" and "resistance," albeit non-violent resistance, until "the end goal, decolonization and liberation from occupation and Zionist apartheid" is achieved.

It is all too obvious that the term "apartheid" makes sense only if Israel, Gaza and the West Bank are assumed to be one legal unit, i.e. one state. Indeed, Ben White is an ardent advocate of the so-called "one-state solution" and he enthusiastically relies on writers who claim that this is an "ethical imperative." As Ben White himself puts it: "To say that the 'one-state solution' is impractical or equals the 'destruction' of Israel is poorly concealed code for defending the indefensible and a recipe for continual conflict in a land it is impossible to partition."

That's plain enough: for Ben White, insisting on Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state is "defending the indefensible."

It is interesting to note in this context that among Ben White's first published articles there is a piece from 2002 that tackles the question if it is acceptable to "understand" why some people are antisemitic.
(For full article)

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