A few weeks ago Idiot/Savant posted a pair of articles about Israel and South Africa. The first article compared the effect of policies in the two countries, and the second talked about the relationship between Israel and South Africa.
I'd meant to write about the first article when I read it; I found it fascinating how state apparatus that I usually think of being mostly benign (like town planning) can be used as a weapon:
One method of preventing further construction by Arabs in the east of the city has been to declare many open areas to be "green zones" protected from building. Bollens says about 40% of East Jerusalem is designated as a green zone, but that this is really a mechanism for land transfer. "The government calls it a green zone to stop Palestinians building homes there, and then when the government wants to develop an area [as Jewish] it lifts that green zoning miraculously and it becomes a development place."Of course I realised that I knew town planning isn't benign even in New Zealand (no by-pass), but I just didn't think about it.
But now there's an interesting post about it on Alas, which seems to argue that people shouldn't make comparisons between South Africa and Israel, because it'll upset those who disagree with the comparison, and so they won't listen:
I'm also distressed by the Apartheid angle because Apartheid is one of our iconic images of "evil perpetuated by a state." Using such an iconic, stark image of evil to describe the Israel/Palestine conflict has the effect of covering up the extent to which some Palestinians - those that commit or support terrorism - are morally co-responsible for creating the current, appalling situation.Even ignoring the morally co-responsible bit (which I totally reject, I don't think oppressed people who resist and morally co-responsible for their oppression), I actually think it's a problem if South African Apartheid, or any other regime is considered so awful that it must stand alone and no other regime can be compared to it. It was an actual regime, not an iconic evil. I don't think we should ring-fence anything people have done as too awful to examine, too awful to learn from.