The Spirit of Apartheid: Why “Palestine” will not be an ‘Rainbow Nation’

Yesterday, Harriet Sherwood reported on the “parallels” some Palestinians are now evidently drawing between their movement and “Mandela’s anti-Apartheid struggle”.


The fact that some of the people she quoted to give credence to this argument includes extremists (such as Khaled Meshaal) who, contrary to Mandela’s support for Zionism, don’t believe Jews should live anywhere between ‘the river and the sea’ evidently didn’t provoke the slightest cognitive dissonance in Sherwood – a fact which shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s been following this blog’s commentary on their reporters’ consistent lack of intellectual rigor.

Moreover, those who would liken the Palestinian struggle with Mandela’s overlook one glaring and irreconcilable difference between the two movements: Mandela’s South Africa championed the values of ethnic, cultural and religious pluralism – a vision of a “Rainbow Nation” representing the antithesis of what will almost certainly be a homogeneous and exclusivist Palestinian State.  


Those (like most Israelis) who support the creation of a Palestinian State must acknowledge that, based on statements by Palestinian leaders and past history – in addition to what will almost certainly be an undemocratic state which will oppresses women, gays and political dissidents – ‘diversity’ will not be a value championed by the state or promoted by its institutions.

In contrast with South Africa, which – consistent with Mandela’s vision – largely embraces its mix of whites, blacks, coloured, Asian and Indian populations (as well as Jews, Christians, Muslims and African ethnic groups such as  Xhosa and Zulu), the new state of Palestine will almost certainly be entirely Arab Muslim.  There will of course be no Jews and (if trends throughout ‘Palestine’ and the Arab Middle East continue) almost no Christians.

All of this leads us to conclude that while Palestine will likely not  become an apartheid state – as such state codified racism first requires the critical mass of racial diversity which they will not possess – it will become the kind of racial exclusivist state which Mandela and South Africa’s liberals found so abhorrent.

While such observations should not be misunderstood as an argument against a vision of a Palestinian State living peacefully alongside Israel, those who so enthusiastically champion Palestine’s creation should acknowledge that the 23rd Arab State will not embrace diversity or liberalism, and certainly won’t show fealty towards the values of tolerance championed with such courage and moral consistency by Nelson Mandela. 

27 replies »

  1. I saw her report yesterday and thought: FFS we know Abbas likes to compare I/P with apartheid-era SA! This is hardly news, despite Mandela’s passing.

  2. You have clearly pointed out the lack of parallels between the likely future for a Palestinian state and the vision of a “rainbow nation” Mandela worked so hard to make a reality. You do not, however – perhaps because this point has been made many times over in other threads – point out the perversity of drawing parallels betwen apartheid South Africa and modern-day Israel.

    For the challenged of thinking who sometimes visit this site, I just want to point out that I am sure Adam does NOT accept this part of the alleged parallel either.

    In other words, this “story has absolutely no basis in the reality of the situation. It is pure Pallywood, and Harriet, bless her, has swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

    • Thanks for your comments. The Israel-Apartheid analogy has been thoroughly refuted so many times that I thought I’d take a different route and point out the less frequent observation that the Palestinian cause (politically and morally) represents the antithesis of what Mandela stood for. Palestine, by definition, will be an ethnically/religiously homogeneous state and folks who take up their cause need to own up to this fact.

  3. Oh dear. The more I read this article, the more fisking it requires.

    Sherwood talks (as usual) of “the vast concrete and steel separation barrier in the West Bank” – there is so much to debate about the “neutrality” of this description.

    She also describes Marwan Barghouti simply as “a Palestinian leader serving five life sentences in an Israeli jail who is sometimes described as a potential “Palestinian Mandela” “. No reference to WHY he has been sentenced to 5 ilfe terms(his conviction for his organisation of both intifadas which cost the lives of thousands of innocent Israelis of all creeds). From Sherwood’s description, you would assume he was jailed simply because he was a “Palestinian leader”.

    She then goes on to mis-quote Ehud barak, accusing him of describing Israel as an apartheid state when he simply warned that it could become so under certain circumstances, which he advocated avoiding!

    • Labenal, your totally right on the terrorist Marwan Barghouti is and how its sickening Sherwood doesn’t mention the mass murderer he is.
      Barghouti is such a sadist murderer he had a monk murdered.

      The following are some of the more heinous terror attacks for which Marwan Barghouti is responsible:
      Jun 12, 2001 – The murder of a Greek Orthodox monk on the road to Ma’ale Adumim.
      Jan 17, 2002 – The shooting attack during a bat mitzva celebration at a banquet hall in Hadera. Six Israelis were killed in this attack, 26 were injured.
      Jan 22, 2002 – The shooting spree on Jaffa Street in Jerusalem. Two Israelis were killed, 37 wounded.
      Feb 25, 2002 – The shooting attack in the Jerusalem residential neighborhood of Neve Ya’acov. One Israeli policewoman was killed, 9 Israelis were wounded.
      Feb 27, 2002 – The murder of an Israeli at a coffee factory in the Atarot industrial zone of Jerusalem.
      Feb 27, 2002 – The suicide attack perpetrated by Daryan Abu Aysha at the Maccabim checkpoint in which two policeman were injured.
      Mar 5, 2002 – The shooting spree at the Tel Aviv Seafood restaurant. Three Israelis were killed, 31 wounded.
      Mar 8, 2002 – A suicide terrorist was killed in Daheat el Barid as he was on his way to carry out an attack in Jerusalem.
      Mar 27, 2002 – The interception of an ambulance and the confiscation of an explosive belt which was being smuggled from Samaria into Barghouti’s terrorist infrastructure in Ramallah.
      Marwan Barghouti was also directly responsible for operating the terrorist cell of Raed Karmi in Tulkaram which carried out a series of deadly terrorist attacks.

  4. I missed the part in Mandela’s bio when he spent decades convincing poor, black children to blow up white pizzerias, bus lines, and school cafeterias. I also missed the whites of Apartheid South Africa offering the blacks their own autonomy with a peace deal that 3 PMs in a row have had on the table and were willing to sign.


    (My apologies to Mrs. Archie Bunker.)

  5. All of this leads us to conclude that while Palestine will likely not become an apartheid state – as such state codified racism first requires the critical mass of racial diversity which they will not possess – it will become the kind of racial exclusivist state which Mandela and South Africa’s liberals found so abhorrent.

    It’s an interesting and important point. Though I often stress the racial and religious exclusivity of Arab countries in order to challenge the Israel bashers, I hadn’t quite made that particular connection.

    It demonstrates the extreme cognitive dissonance in those who reject apartheid and yet support the Palestinians.

  6. The fact that any future Palestinian state would be Jew free is the prime issue. Of course such a state cannot be an apartheid state as apartheid simply means separateness. How on earth can there be separateness between Jews and Muslims in such a Palestinian state if there are no Jews living there! So its not because the Arab Palestinians are virtuous that it wouldn’t be an apartheid state, but exactly the opposite – it is fundamentally more racist than apartheid as it would be ethnically cleansed of Jews, no different to the desire Hitler had to create a Jew free Europe. It certainly would not resemble in any way Mandela’s rainbow nation. But then which Islamic state does resemble such a rainbow nation?

    Then of course if you go to modern Israel you’d find that Muslims and Jews mix more freely than ever, in shops and restaurants, in business and services, on the beaches and increasingly within circles of friends. Apartheid – separateness? Sherwood knows this not to be be the case if she is stationed in Israel, so why does she report otherwise? What’s her agenda?

  7. As Caroline Glick said, The fact that the Palestinians from Fatah and Hamas alike are Jew-hating racists should surprise no one who has been paying a modicum of attention to the Palestinian media and general culture.

    Since the PA was established in 1994 in the framework of the peace process between Israel and the PLO, it has used the media organs, schools and mosques it controls to spew out a constant flow of anti-Semitic propaganda. Much of the Jew-hating bile is indistinguishable from anti-Jewish propaganda published by the Nazis.

  8. Israel is an apartheid state in all but name.About 95 per cent of the land has been nationalised for one religious group (Jews) to the exclusion of another ethnic group (Palestinian Arabs). and there are vetting committees that operate by law in hundreds of communities precisely to prevent one ethnic group (Palestinian Arabs) from living in these communities.

    There are two separate citizenship laws – the Law of Return (1950) and the Citizenship Law (1952) – which are designed to confer rights on members of a religious group (Jews) who are not actually yet citizens or present in the state, privileging them over a group (Palestinian Arabs) who do have citizenship and are present in the state.

    It has 55 laws that explicitly discriminate based on which ethnic or religious group you belong to.

    It defers some of what should be its sovereign powers to extra-territorial bodies such as the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund whose charters obligate them to discriminate based on religious belonging.

    It denies its citizens access to any civil institutions on personal status matters such as marriage, divorce and burial, requiring all citizens to submit to the whims and prejudices of religious leaders.

    It does not recognise its own nationality, and where the only way to join the dominant religious group (Jews) or to immigrate is through conversion.

    • Why don’t you document what you state instead of the usual Arabist propaganda tactic of making up facts.

      I also recommend that you learn the meanings of words like “apartheid before you banter them around and make a fool of yourself.

      Better yet hear it from someone who knows what apatheid really is

    • And by the way, it’s the Palestinian leaders who have said that “Palestine” could not have any Jewish residents. That’s not apartheid, it’s worse.

  9. Thank you for that. For those of us who are not Israelis, there is a duty to add that Israel is not an Apartheid State, that nonsense is an important part of the propaganda lie.

    Today we have John Waters on the front page of the Guardian Online saying this:

    “Israeli treatment of the Palestinians can be compared to the atrocities of Nazi Germany. “The parallels with what went on in the 1930s in Germany are so crushingly obvious,” he said in an American online interview last week.”

    No comment is allowed on this article. As I have lived in Germany for 28 years and have been active in DGB activities against neo-Nazis and Anti-Semitism, I have taken the time to read quite a lot of history, especially local history, of what happened between 1933 and 1945, Not a day goes by when I dont pass a monument of some kind to the victims of the NS-State. Mr Water’s comment is outrageous and it is an utter disgrace to the Guardian Newspaper that he is being plugged on the front page with a link to an article he wrote for The Guardian, without giving readers even an opportunity to express their disgust.

    In enlightened debate about how to bring peace to the Middle East, there is a role for honest historical discussion on past atrocities and present injustices researched in a spirit of reconciliation.

    Today, the Guardian Newspaper is simply purveying dispicable hatred.

  10. From the river to the sea, from the north to the south, this is our land, our homeland. There will be no relinquishing even an inch of it. Israel is illegitimate and will remain so throughout the passage of time. It belongs to us and not the Zionists – Khaled Mashaal

  11. Yaaser Arafat
    “We plan to eliminate the state of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian state. We will make life unbearable for Jews by psychological warfare and population explosion. We Palestinians will take over everything, including all of Jerusalem.”