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A few months ago during an airport layover, I came across former President Jimmy Carter's book on Israel, "Peace or Apartheid." President Carter's thesis is that Israel discriminates against the Arabs of the Land and especially in the West Bank. The Arabs do not have full political rights. Rather they are under military occupation year after year and denied the possibility of the dignity of equal rights. Recently President Carter noted that he was not choosing this title to conclude that this was the total reality, but that he was being intentionally provocative to warn against this direction. Some months ago, I reviewed this book in this letter, but President Carter's comments brought some further reflection. (See, "Zionism & Justice", Feb. '07)
The word apartheid refers to a political system of discrimination. This was the case in the South in the United States until the civil rights legislation of the 50s and 60s. It was the case in South Africa where the term apartheid received its primary reference. While it is true that for various reasons the Palestinians in the West Bank do not have full political rights, the parallel with South Africa is a false analogy. In Israel, the Israeli Arabs (full citizens of Israel) do have rights to vote, to elect members of the Knesset (parliament), and to vote for local officials. Israeli Arabs are only the subject of discrimination with regard to Army service. Israel does not consider them good subjects for defending the Zionist State of Israel!
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All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicted, are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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