A Tale of Two Apartheids

The United States of America is schizoid.

Prof. Shmuel Neumann

OpEds לבן ריק
לבן ריק
The United States of America is schizoid.

On the one hand, the land of the free, home of the brave, the bastion of democracy and equal rights, self-righteously spearheaded sanctions against South Africa for their policy of apartheid, or racial segregation. They ruthlessly demanded from South Africa to immediately do what it took the United States over a hundred and fifty years to do. In the United States, blacks were property to be bred or beaten at the whim of the master. The transition from slaves to full citizens was a painful transition and it wasn't until the 1960s, almost a hundred years after slavery was outlawed, that the United States passed a law that determined that blacks were entitled to civil rights.

It later dawned upon Americans that the policy of segregation was inherently wrong and counterproductive. Segregation, too, eventually became outlawed. Affirmative action programs were then instituted to provide blacks with the educational resources in order for them to acquire their share in the job market. A hundred and fifty years later, the blacks are free, but not treated as equals. Despite the appointment of blacks to important government positions, there is a subtle anti-black sentiment that shows up in law enforcement and in a myriad of social situations. Despite falling short in practice, there is nevertheless, an American ideal of equal rights, an axiomatic belief coined by the founding fathers' declaration that all men are created equal.

However, when it comes to the indigenous population of the United States, the self-serving United States passed many unjust laws that violate established international human rights standards. For example, the United States claims the power to take Indian land without compensation and even without due process of law. In another example, the Unites States continues to make any alcohol consumption on an Indian reservation a federal crime with punishment of imprisonment. The same Native American can freely leave the reservation and get as drunk as he wants. The legal history of the United States' rights to take the land of indigenous populations without compensation is detailed in a United Nations Study.(1) Indisputably, apartheid of Native Americans is, by law, current policy.

As emphatically as the schizoid United States condemned apartheid in South Africa, it dogmatically insists upon it in greater Israel. They reiterate ad nauseum that Jewish (not Israeli) settlement is illegal. They reinforce the position that Jews (not specifically Israelis) should be barred from even visiting their holy places such as Joseph's Tomb or the Temple Mount. They have never condemned the death penalty of an Arab (not necessarily Palestinian) for selling land or homes to Jews.

The secular Left is no less schizoid. It has become axiomatic for Israelis, including the extreme Left, to believe that separation or segregation is the only answer to reduce hostilities. It is, however, this solution of separation, whether by Oslo or by a fence or by disengagement, that exacerbates the problem, as social psychology research consistently finds that integration reduces prejudice, and segregation increases prejudice. These same schizoid Israelis champion Arab integration and equality when it comes to the Arabs within Israel.

This inconsistency is the result of schizoid thinking. When presented with two contradictory truisms, the schizoid merges opposites. As much as equality is held to be a self-evident truth, the uniqueness of the Jews is equally a self-evident truth. The Jews were always apart from and never a part of mainstream society. There was always a severe backlash in countries that gave the Jews an opportunity to partially integrate. Where Jews thrived, held important positions and assimilated, they were then persecuted. In Spain, the Golden Era was followed by the expulsion and inquisition. In Poland, it was followed by pogroms. In Germany, it was followed by the Holocaust.

The gypsies have a saying "If ten people tell you are drunk, go to sleep." If everyone for the last three thousand years has been considering Jews as a people apart, let's accept the truth. The Jews are. The Hebrew word for holy, kaddosh, means apart.

Similarly, the Land of Israel is holy. There is an inherent holiness in the land within the boundaries of Biblical Israel, including the so-called West Bank and almost all of Gaza. Anything that is grown there by a Jew has to be tithed and there are a myriad of Biblical laws that can only be fulfilled by farming this land. Jews cannot relinquish any of this inherently holy land any more than they can make a pig kosher. In contrast, there are portions of the modern state of Israel that do not fall within the Biblical borders or within the extended borders of King David's kingdom, such as portions of the Negev.

Although in her 50s, Israel is suffering an adolescent identity crisis. Every adolescent goes through a crisis in which they ask themselves: "Who am I? What is the purpose of life? What is my particular purpose?" Adolescents driven desperately to fit in have to define their uniqueness and implicit value in contrast to others in their in-crowd. Similarly, Israel must discover some way, as do all adolescents, to maintain their identity without feeling alienated and alienating others. Like all adolescents, they must recognize and resolve the axioms they unconsciously hold that define their identity. Israel must define her identity as a unique people possessing an inherently holy land and, at the same time, find a way to fit into the society of mankind. Only in this way, can the "people apart" find their place among the peoples of the world.

It is the specific juxtaposition of two axioms, that all men are created equal and that the Jews are a people apart, that produces this particular schizoid merging of opposites. Within Israel, segregation is outlawed, although in practice, Arabs live in their towns or neighborhoods and Jews live in theirs. Arabs have their schools and bus lines and Jews have theirs.

In the so-called occupied territory, segregation is the law. It is illegal for a Jew to visit an Arab in their home in Area A or B. Yet, there is enormous pressure upon Israel to permit the so-called Palestinians to work within Israel or the settlements. A Jew who purchases agricultural land and farms it is branded an outlaw and his farm, an illegal outpost. Complying with the insidious, angry demand of the United States State Department, Israel throws Jews out of their homes and demolishes their farmhouses.

George Bush's vision of two countries for two peoples is similarly schizoid. Gerrymandering the territories to keep two peoples from getting to know each other as people creates contempt. Aggressive impulses are projected onto an ambiguous persona and the direct result is terrorism. The gerrymandering gives terrorism credibility and will radically escalate the spread of the cancer of worldwide terrorism. It has already snowballed to attacks in the United States, in which thousands were killed in a single attack, and in Russia, where hundreds of children were mercilessly massacred. The avalanche has just begun.

Complete segregation is the recipe for disaster. Complete integration is impossible. The attempt at full integration of Israeli Arabs into mainstream society over more than 50 years was a pathetic failure. For example, every single Israeli citizen, male or female, has to serve in the Israeli army or participate in National Service - except for the Arabs. The Bedouin and Druse serve in the army, but not Israeli Arabs. For only one reason: Israeli Arabs are considered the enemy both by the Israeli government and by themselves. If after decades of full citizenship, getting monthly stipends for their children, free health care, free education, scholarships to the best Israeli universities, guarantied income and development grants, they still consider themselves loyal Palestinians and Israel considers them security risks, then their citizenship should be reconsidered. With the benefits of citizenship comes the responsibly of citizenship. Without full responsibility, they should not derive full benefits.

Partial and gradual integration is the only answer. An adolescent eventually becomes a mature member of society after differentiating his real self from an idealized self that is the persona they must project for social approval. In the same way, Israeli Arabs who simultaneously have a self-aspect as Palestinian must emancipate from mainstream Israeli society, the society that they would never contribute to in the form of military service.

Downgrading the privileges of Israeli Arabs and upgrading the privileges of the rest of the so-called Palestinians is a simple and immediate resolution of the conflict. More than 80% of Gazan Arabs would prefer to be Israeli or live under Israeli rule than under the Palestinian Authority. They yearn for the status quo before Oslo.

They are not blind to the single greatest miracle of the twentieth century - the return of a decimated people arising from the ashes of the Holocaust to create a vibrant, prosperous country from an eroded quasi-desert. They see arid land turned green with lush vegetation under the loving touch of the Jewish people. They see modern cities springing up overnight and the Jews' accomplishment in high-technology. The average man on the street is desperate to benefit from the spillover of these developments.

It would be too shocking to strip Israeli Arabs of the rights of citizenship, but the benefits of citizenship can be redefined in the context of current economic austerity measures. Child subsidies, free education, free healthcare, scholarships to universities, and voting in national elections should become veterans' rights rather than citizens' rights. Only those eligible to serve - including Chareidi Jews, Bedouin, and Druse - receive these veteran rights. The other full citizens can vote in local elections, hold drivers' licenses, work permits and professional licenses, and pay taxes just like all other citizens. Israel can then give this form of citizenship to all so-called Palestinians, or the latter may elect to retain their Jordanian citizenship and keep their residency in Israel. Opening a job market while treating membership in a terrorist organization as a crime ends the conflict.

The Jews and Arabs have cultures and religions that cannot be synthesized. To live together, they must respect these differences. These differences can only be understood by interaction, but not assimilation. As Jews arrive from the four corners of the world, the Arab exodus to greener pastures will continue. Those that remain can be productive members of society.

But the so called Palestinians maintain their two apartheids. They demand apartheid of Jews from the so-called West Bank, but condemn apartheid of Arab laborers from Israel.

Ariel Sharon also maintains two apartheids. He is bulldozing through one apartheid, which he euphemistically calls disengagement. The second apartheid that plagues Sharon is apartheit, that is, apartness (using the Yiddish suffix -heit). He has lost touch with his people and is committed to a policy specifically prohibited by his electorate.

If Sharon so desperately yearns for a Palestinian entity, he can separate Biblical Israel, which has inherent holiness, from the rest of the modern state of Israel and call the rest Palestine. His Negev farm will wind up in Palestine and he can brag that he was born a Palestinian and will die a Palestinian. He can fade away in his isolated Negev farm, alienated from his people and culture, and maintain his apartheit.


1) http://www.indianlaw.org/Land_Rights_Study_final.pdf