Demography and apartheid

by Yaniv Reich on October 27, 2009

In 2009, the 5.6 million Jews in Israel (and the settlements) account for 49% of the total number of people living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, according to the US State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report 2009 (Thanks to Mondoweiss for bringing my attention to this report).

Meanwhile, 4.9 million Palestinians do not have the right to vote for the government that has ruled over them for 42 years.

A Jewish minority now rules over the non-Jewish majority. Mondoweiss aptly calls this the elephant in the room [for Jews].

This is the definition of the crime of apartheid: crimes against humanity including murder, deprivation of physical liberty, forced relocation, and collective persecution “committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”

We need to come to terms with this situation, as did Olmert in one of his more lucid moments. Apartheid is the contemporary reality of Israel. It is not identical to South African apartheid: in particular, its less based on race than ethnicity and religion. But that doesn’t change the definition’s essence. It just makes it our own.

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