THE APARTHEID ANALOGY IS FALSE AND BREEDS CONFLICT
ISRAEL IS NOT AN APARTHEID STATE
In pursuing peace, security and prosperity for Palestinians and Israelis we must focus on initiatives that bring the sides closer together. We are saddened and concerned by the malicious propaganda campaign being waged on various campuses, including Stanford, against Israel. In falsely seeking to smear Israel with the stain of apartheid, this campaign is sowing divisiveness, bigotry, and discord. Demonizing Israel is contrary to our values of mutual respect and academic integrity. It contributes to the perpetuation of the conflict, not its resolution.
Apartheid was the vicious policy of the old South Africa that kept races separate and caused untold suffering to the Black majority and other people of color. The anti-Israel movement is cynically exploiting the memory of African suffering in order to score points in the fraught field of Middle East politics. To describe Israel, the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, as apartheid, trivializes the South African past while doing a grave injustice to the most pluralistic and open society in the Middle East today.
Under Apartheid, people were legally classified into racial groups and forcibly separated from each other. Apartheid South Africa was ruled by a White-only government. A wide range of laws ensured racially based discrimination, including the prohibition of Blacks from voting, using Whites-only schools and hospitals, and even mixing with Whites in public places.
The State of Israel has nothing in common with apartheid. Israeli society, as many others, is not free of racial and religious discrimination. Yet, in Israel, all minorities – including the 20% of Israeli citizens who are Arab Christians and Muslims – have equal civil, political, economic and personal rights. Israeli Arabs form political parties, compete in free and fair elections, and are represented in all levels of the legislature, executive and judiciary. Arabs are members of, for example, the Israeli Parliament, cabinet, and High Court. Israelis of all religions and ethnicities can legally live in any public residential community, attend the same universities and use the same hospitals. Arabic is an official language, an Israeli Arab is the Minister of Culture, and Arab Israelis richly contribute to Israel’s science, culture and sports.
To equate Israel with apartheid displays a profound ignorance of the horror that was South Africa as well as contempt for democracy in Israel. The difficult path to peace in the Middle East can do without this sort of empty vilification. Rather, we need to work together toward the vital quest for true co-existence, peace and justice for all in the Middle East – Christians, Jews and Muslims.
Signed by the Following Stanford’s Professors and Senior Fellows:
Kenneth Arrow, Department of Economics
David Brady, W., Political Science Department
Jonathan Bendor, Graduate School of Business
Karol Berger, Department of Music
Elliot Bloom, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center
Philippe Buc, Department of History
Grumet Carl, F. Pathology Department
Paul David, A. Department of Economics
Larry Diamond, Hoover Institution and Freeman Spogli Institute
Liran Einav, Department Economics
Amir Eshel, Department of German Studies & Comparative Literature
John Felstiner, English Department
Steve Foung, Pathology Department
Maurice Fox, School of Medicine
Judith Frydman, Department of Biological Sciences.
Victor Fuchs, Department of Economics
Susan Galel, Stanford Blood Center
Eran Geller MS, School of Medicine
Lawrence Goulder, Department of Economics
Avner Greif, Department of Economics and Freeman Spogli Institute
Hans-Ulrich Gumbrecht, Departments of French and Italian & Comparative Literature
Josef Joffe, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Amalia Kessler, D., Stanford Law School
Michael Klausner, Stanford Law School
Daphne Koller, Department of Computer Science
Jeffrey Koseff, R. School of Engineering
Stephen Krasner, D., Political Science Department and Freeman Spogli Institute
Ilan Kremer, Graduate School of Business
Mordecai Kurz, Department of Economics
Ronald Levy, School of Medicine
Amichai Magen, Stanford Law School
Lawrence Marshall, C. Stanford Law School
Paul Milgrom, Department of Economics
Ian Morris, History Department
Bryan Myers, School of Medicine
Amos Nur, Department of Geophysics – Geophysics
Daniel Palanker, Ophthalmology Department
Marjorie Perloff, English Department
Mark Perlroth, School of Medicine
Ralph Rabkin, MD. School of Medicine
Arnold Rampersad, English Department
Nathan Rosenberg, Department of Economics
Janice Ross, Drama Department
Berman Russell, German and Comparative Literature Departments
Gabriella Safran, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures
Ilya Segal, Department of Economics
Yoav Shoham, Computer Science Department
Abraham Sofaer, The Hoover Institution
Jeffrey Ullman, Stanford School of Engineering
Irene Wapnir, School of Medicine
Sam Wineburg, School of Education
Herman Winick, Applied Physics Department.
Jeffrey Zwiebel, Graduate School of Business
This statement was organized by the Stanford Chapter of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (http://spme.stanford.edu/ ) Individuals listed are not necessarily affiliated with SPME.
The mission of SMPE at Stanford is to promote scholarly discussion and interactions among faculty and students to contribute to peace in the Middle East. We welcome scholars from all disciplines, faith groups and nationalities who share our desire for peace and our commitment to academic integrity and honest debate. We believe there is room for negotiation and need to counterbalance the well‑documented and increasing anti‑Israel and anti‑Semitic forces that have made their way to the college campuses today.
For Further information about about SPME, contact Dr. Edward Beck, President, SPME at or 717.576.5038 or for Stanford Chapter, SPME, Prof. Amichai Magen, School of Law, [email protected]