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Response to Violet_Crumble (Reply #54)

Fri Nov 2, 2012, 09:09 PM

58. Regarding use of the term "apartheid?" Yes. More or less.

That is not to say I freely use the term to describe Arab states or any other nations who engage in acts I abhor, either. According to the given definitions, actual crimes of apartheid are thankfully rare in the world. The standard of proof that a institutional crime must meet to qualify as a crime of apartheid is just too high for it to be a common occurrence. But yeah, I only object when it is used against Israel because Israel is the subject I discuss most often. My subject of interest is not the misuse of the term apartheid around the globe. It is Israel. So of course I only address these issues when they affect Israel, but it's not hypocritical to do so.

Now I have no problem with the critique of Israeli actions, especially when it comes to their west bank settlement policies. What I do take issue with is the use of a term like apartheid when it is clearly being used dishonestly. It's used specifically to try and tap into the existing negative feelings the world has regarding the South African policy that ended in the 90s. In the ad biz we call this "borrowed equity" and it's considered dirty pool. It lends itself to being used in ways that leverage the bad feelings towards the term without really connecting the reasons people hated SA's apartheid with anything that Israel is doing today. It requires significantly altering the meaning of the word from what it meant in SA, so it can be applied to anything that Israel is doing today. But that meaningful point is purposefully lost because as soon as Israel's policies are labeled as "apartheid" the discussion is effectively over.

The motive behind using this term is not to foster meaningful discussion regarding Israeli politics. It is to force their opponents to defend "apartheid policies", a debate that is obviously lost before it begins. (Not on any merit of the arguments but by virtue of apartheid being indefensible.) Lost in the shuffle is the fact that the apartheid we remember is not anything like Israel's policies that now bear the same name. That name becomes their only common trait.

Other examples of this tactic being used against Israel are when parallels are drawn between Gaza and the Warsaw Ghetto. In reality they share no common traits at all. But that doesn't matter. To even force your opponent to explain how the two are different is to have forced him to vocalize a comparison between the two. Another would be to compare the Zionists with Nazis. Using these types of arguments diverts the discussion away from meaningful debates over the nature of certain policies or human rights and instead bogs us all down in the minutiae of defining the exact meaning of a certain term. Instead of explaining why Zionism is bad we see debates over why Zionism is JUST like Nazism. But since Zionism isn't REALLY anything like Nazism it requires a lot of weird historical voodoo to make the argument, which is then refuted and the next thing you know we are debating whether Zionism and Nazism are similar; an argument which ultimately contributes NOTHING to anyone's understanding of the I/P conflict whatsoever.

But it is never enough to simply state why Zionism is wrong... no, it can't merely be "bad", it has to be "worse than the Nazis." Bibi isn't merely "wicked", he must be Hitler multiplied by Pol Pot and then given rabies. And Israel's settlement policies can't just be unethical and counterproductive, they must be apartheid.

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azurnoir Oct 2012 OP
oberliner Oct 2012 #1
R. Daneel Olivaw Oct 2012 #2
King_David Oct 2012 #3
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Shaktimaan Nov 2012 #19
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Shaktimaan Nov 2012 #39
shira Nov 2012 #81
Shaktimaan Nov 2012 #35
Violet_Crumble Nov 2012 #54
LineLineLineLineLineLineLineLineLineLineReply Regarding use of the term "apartheid?" Yes. More or less.
Shaktimaan Nov 2012 #58
Violet_Crumble Nov 2012 #71
shira Nov 2012 #80
azurnoir Oct 2012 #7
King_David Oct 2012 #13
azurnoir Nov 2012 #28
King_David Nov 2012 #31
oberliner Oct 2012 #4
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azurnoir Oct 2012 #8
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