Echoes of Apartheid

May 23, 2016 by Henry Benjamin
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Renowned international journalist Roger Cohen has spoken at a New Israel Fund Australia event in Sydney claiming Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank is “an echo of apartheird”.

Michaela Kalowski and Roger Cohen       Photo: David Sokol

Michaela Kalowski and Roger Cohen Photo: David Sokol

Speaking at Bondi Pavilion of the current political situation in Israel, Cohen said “there are lots of reasons to feel immense frustration and anger at Israeli policies in the West Bank and the dominion over and the humiliation of another people. They run contrary to the very foundation of Jewish ethics.”

During the interview conducted by the ABC’s Michaela Kalowski Cohen said it was “undermining” of Israel as a Jewish democratic state,

Nevertheless he alluded to the “obsessive, maniacal attempt to Nazify the State of Israel” which exposes Jewish students on campuses in the U.S. and the U.K. to vilification if they attend an event hosting a visiting Israeli academic.

Cohen said that in the West Bank  “there are echoes of apartheid and the landscape of the West Bank is a colonial landscape.” He referred to roads that Palestinians could not travel on and said “there is a presumed right” that Palestinian homes could be entered and ransacked at any time adding that “the state of laws that is the State of Israel to the west of the Green Line no longer applies”.  Cohen opined that “there is systematic humiliation of Palestinians in their daily lives which echoes Apartheid.”

However, Cohen made it clear that the Apartheid system as it was in South Africa does not apply to the Israeli-Arabs saying “there is no Apartheid within Israel” adding “there are echoes of Apartheid but there is no Apartheid in the Holy Land.”

When asked by Kalowski about a loss of moral compass, Cohen said “You can’t have that colonial landscape without it being corrupting and corrosive. I do feel there has been a corruption of the Israeli body politic.”

Cohen was particularly critical of the settle movement saying “it likes to portray itself as the modern-day reincarnation of the Zionist settlers of Israel.  They are involved in a lawless enterprise.”

He questioned the rise and claims  of messianic Zionism. He said they espoused the view that the real estate between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River is ours.  Cohen questioned this saying: “Why is it ours?: And giving their answer: “Because it is. It was decreed thus in the scriptures thousands of years ago.”

Cohen opined: “Too bad if there are other people living there. The rise of this form of messianic Zionism is the single most worrying thing for the future of Israel and for the possibility of peace. As long as that vision prevails there will be no peace.”

Cohen called the existing relationship between Obama and Netanyahu “poisonous” and expressed his view that there would no movement on the two state outcome in the next year.

Expressing his viewpoint, Roger Cohen said: “Israel has to give up the vast bulk of the settlements in the West Bank a move that could see maybe hundreds of thousands of settlers moved out of the West Bank.

Agreeing that this would be a painful decision for Israel Cohen said that the most painful decision for the Palestinians will be giving up the Right of Return. He said: ” It’s not going to happen. The Palestinians are not going back to the State of Israel and there has to become some division of Jerusalem…a very difficult and painful compromise.”

Roger Cohen told Kalowski: “At some time the two peoples are going to have to say…you’re here we’re here Neither of us is going away. We will disagree forever on what happened in 1948. You can have your narrative The Nakba. We can have our narrative – the foundation of the State of Israel. The future is more important. We don’t want this repetitive bloodshed. Two states for two peoples with immensely painful compromises.”

Cohen was critical of both Netanyahu and Abbas saying: “We require the right leadership. We haven’t seen it yet.”

The London-born Roger Cohen is a columnist for the New York Times. His family moved to London from South Africa returning there for a few years. Cohen was  raised and educated in the U.K. where he attended Oxford University. He has had a distinguished career as a foreign correspondent covering many major conflicts including Bosnia.


22 Responses to “Echoes of Apartheid”
  1. Leon Poddebsky says:

    The following must be the kind of “echo of apartheid” that “the Cohen,” Roger, referred to: it was reported today in the Israeli press that a 20 year-old mentally retarded Israeli woman was raped by three men. Two of the suspects are Arabs from Schechem, the third is an Arab who holds Israeli citizenship.
    The two Arabs in custody had been given a security clearance to cross “the Green Line” from the so-called “West Bank.”
    According to the report in Walla News, the three told the victim that “she deserved it” because she is a Jewess. The three are said also to have warned her not to report the crime unless she wanted members of her family murdered.

  2. Leon Poddebsky says:

    In “the Cohen”, Roger’s ,rhetoric there are unmistakable echoes of the Stalinist Communist “Yevsektzya” [ “Jewish” section of the party] mendacity / propaganda.

  3. moshe morris says:

    Cohen speaks of an ‘echo of Apartheid’ in Judea and Samaria yet expects Jews to leave ‘the vast bulk of the settlements’ there, resulting in a Judenrein Palestine. What a joke. The ABC would have loved him. P.S. The laws restricting particular road use in Yehuda and Shomron to Israelis are solely in order to save Jewish lives from Arab terror. It is called self-protection.

  4. Danny Kidron says:

    Not only are there echoes of apartheid in the West Bank but full scale apartheid: Israelis and Jews are banned from entering muslim arab villages and towns and if, by accident they do enter a muslim arab village or town or any sort of muslim arab settlement, they are mercilessly attacked and lynched.

    There is such strict muslim arab imposed apartheid of Israelis and all Jews that the Jews need protection from these muslim arab occupiers and colonisers of the Jewish Lands of Shomron and Yehuda and are forced into fenced off Bantustan type fenced off and guarded communities.

    • Danny Kidron says:

      All this while muslim arabs can and do visit the Israeli communities of Yesha to work and to shop without fear of violence – unless they wield a knife.

  5. Paul Winter says:

    Roger Cohen’s comments are utterly appalling for their bias and ignorance. Stating that there are “echoes of apartheid” in Israel is, on the one hand, pure malice and on the other, a clear admission that there is no apartheid in Israel.

    There is no West Bank. When Britain created Trans-Jordan, the eastern border of the state for the Jewish people was the Jordan River. The Jews have repeatedly offered to share their land with both the Arabs who lived there and the Arabs who migrated there. The Arabs have no national rights and as they refuse 95% of something they deserve 100% of nothing.

    Humiliation? Have Jews no pride? Are the Arabs entitled to murder Jews because the idea of Jews as equals rather than dhimmis offends them? Should Jews humbly accept the glorification by the PA and by Hamas of their mohammedan murderers?

    And oh the shame of the IDF entering into their dwelling! Isn’t it the right of Arabs to store weapons to use against Jews? And isn’t it the right of Arabs to stone Jews, even two year olds? And isn’t it apartheid that Arabs are barred from road built to stop attacks on Jewish travellers? The arrogance of Jews is beyond endurance when an Arab has to walk a few hundred metres to attack Jews!

    And colonialism, how unacceptable it is! Err, just what is the home country of Jews? Like, I mean, the Brits left colonies and returned to the UK. The French left colonies and returned to France. It is only just and proper that the Arabs return to, guess where, Arabia. Jews are the natives of Israel and those who don’t like it can move elsewhere.

    Cohen is so concerned about the corrupting nature of “occupation”, “settlements” and the soul of the Jewish state as created by its founders. There is no occupation; it ended when the Jordanians were booted out. There are no settlements; every nation is entitled to develop its land. The soul of Israel persists, but it has been altered by the reality of mohammedan antisemitism resulting in the continuation of the jihad started before its founding. Oh, and what about the democratic nature of the PA and Hamas and the brutality of those kleptocracies. But bashing Jews is easier, much safer and a sure ticket to enter the left’s PC sanctum.

    There are no competing narratives: the Arabs have a maliciously concocted pack of lies while Jews have a documented history. The Jews are a distinct people, while the “Palestinians” are an evil fabrication. It is pure antisemitism to accept the fact denying mohammedan narrative and to blame Jews for not conforming to its deceitful demands. Any person who accepts the Arab narrative in the era of al Qaeda, ISIS, terror in Europe and genocidal threats from Iran, displays his blind hatred of Israel.

    The two state solution is dead, killed by jihadis, just like multiculturalism is dead killed by the same brutes. While gluing their eyes to microscopes trying to detect the most minor flaws in Israel, the PC mob ignores the terror and antisocial behaviour of the mohammedans invading Europe and sponging off its social services, an act they regard are their entitlement to the jizya.

    Shame on Cohen and shame on the NIF, which I keep thinking of as the Nullifying Israel Fraud.

  6. Hilary Rubinstein says:

    At a time when the demonic Left and their unlikely bedfellows are gunning for Israel as never before, and making converts of the gullible aand ignorant via lies and half-truths, it seems irresponsible (some might even say “Quislingesque”) to raise the A word in relation to Israel. Britain’s Chief Rabbi Dr Ephraim Mirvis, who was born and raised in South Africa, observed earlier this year: ” I personally draw a great deal of inspiration from the state of Israel and am proud of her achievements. The state was born against all odds and, despite having to fight every day for survival, has become a world leader in medicine, technology, science, agriculture and beyond. But of course, as even the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has said, Israel is not perfect – no country is. The challenges she faces, both external and internal, are urgent and severe. And yet, the beauty of Israel’s democracy, unique in the Middle East, is that there is no social or political problem that is not given abundant consideration within Israel’s own parliament, free press and civil society.
    Join that constructive debate by all means, but reject language that stigmatises and polarises. Pursue instead a tone of open dialogue, respectful disagreement and ultimately a common desire for peaceful reconciliation. Say that the conflict in the Middle East is an intractable struggle over nationalism, heritage and territory, if that is what you believe, but please, do not say that it is about race. Say that you are concerned, that you object and that you feel an obligation to speak out but please, do not denigrate or de­legitimise. Say that there is social inequality, under-representation and disadvantage but please, never say that there is apartheid.”

    • Erica Edelman says:

      Well said Hilary – communication is EVERYTHING
      That, empathy and the facts on the ground – delivery and content
      And foresight and a WILLINGNESS toward peace NOT POWER!
      There’s enough land in that region for EVERYONE – it’s a matter of finding a
      Way to dividing it up – and Israel has had it worked out since 1917

  7. Erica Edelman says:

    We don’t need ppl like this. Firstly he has no concept of
    The meaning of the word Apartheid and secondly clearly he should stick
    To reporting conflict in other parts of the world. Clearly they like him there and he has
    No dog in the fight in middle Europe.
    If his knowledge of Middle Eastern Politics was as big as his LACK of
    Being able to bring something NEW and ORIGINAL and USEFUL to the
    Discussion we may be able to respect him.! Who told you, Cohen, (or the ABC) that
    You are the best we have on the subject? For goodness sake Jewish ppl! Let ONLY
    THE VERY BEST speak up for ISRAEL! This man is doing NOBODY any good !

  8. Leon Poddebsky says:

    Mr Benjamin’s characterisation of Roger Cohen as “a renowned international journalist” is very incongruous, given Mr Cohen’s grave errors of omission and commission.
    Apartheid was a system of domestic segregation and discrimination within the nation-state of South Africa, based on race.
    On the other hand, many of the problems that are experienced by Arabs in Judea and Samaria [ the “Cohen”, Roger, cannot bring himself to use the Jewish terminology] are the product of the refusal of that Arab society to recognise Jewish national rights, a refusal that is often expressed by means of mass murder and attempted murder and threats of murder.
    Moreover, those Arabs are not citizens of Israel since Israel has not annexed Judea and Samaria. Non-citizens in any democratic state do not have the same rights, privileges or responsibilities that citizens possess.

    All this notwithstanding,any Arabs from Judea and Samaria who have a security clearance, when travelling within the 1949 “Green Armistice Line”, are free to interact with anyone else in Israel without restrictions or segregation.

    It is not for ‘the Cohen,” Roger, to tell Israel (or Arabs) what they “will have to give up” or do. Neither Israelis nor Arabs are Mr Cohen’s little vassals.

    Advocating capitulation to Arab demands is not a sign of moral superiority.
    Advocating placing Jews in mortal peril is not a sign of moral superiority.
    Propaganda collaboration with Israel’s mortal enemies is not a sign of moral superiority.
    Presumptuous pompously proclaimed prescriptions for the protagonists from the offices of “The New York Times” is not a sign of moral superiority.

  9. David Singer says:

    Perhaps Roger (and Henry) are unaware of some pertinent facts:

    1. The division of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) into three separate areas “A”, “B” and “C” was agreed on by Israel and the PLO pursuant to the Oslo Accords.

    2. 95% of the West Bank Arabs live in Areas A and B and their daily lives are under the total administration and control of the PLO since the Palestinian Authority was disbanded by Abbas in January 2013.

    3. The PLO has total security control in A and shares security control in B with Israel.

    4. Israel has total administrative and security control in C.

    Israel is entitled to and will continue to take responsibility for the security of Jews living in the West Bank.

    Does Roger expect Israel to do nothing when a family of five is slaughtered whist sleeping in their beds or a mother of six is murdered in her own home?

    Cohen has clearly been duped and become a victim of Arab propaganda in swallowing the myth of apartheid in the West Bank.

    What Roger should be focusing on is demanding why :
    1. the West Bank Arabs have had no elections for 10 years,
    2. their President is in the 11th year of his four term of office,
    3. their President will not recognise Israel as the national home of the Jewish people
    4. the PLO wants 100% of the West Bank when they never made any claims to that territory in 1964 or between 1948 to 1964 after all the Jews living there had been driven out by five invading Arab armies.
    5. The PLO has failed to return to the negotiating table with Israel for the last 2 years.

    Roger claims the West Bank is “a colonial landscape” – another false piece of Arab propaganda. Does Roger understand that Jews were given the legal right to settle in the West Bank under article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the UN Charter? That they did so for decades until they were driven out in 1947 and not able to return there until 1967?

    Roger should study the history of his own people and the attempts by the Arabs over the last hundred years to deny the Jews their hard earned rights – before swallowing the rubbish spewed out by the PLO.

    Roger – one final comment: The narratives did not begin in 1948 – they began in about 1917. Get real and wake up to the fact that you have been well and truly duped.

    How do you make peace with an enemy that has been obsessed with not recognising any Jewish national rights in former Palestine for the last 100 years.

    Becoming a spokesman for the PLO is not a position any Jew should really consider aspiring to. That regrettably is what you are doing.

    • Leon Poddebsky says:

      The only colonialists in Judea and Samaria and within the 1949 Armistice “Green Line” are those Arabs, Egyptians, Sudanese, Bosnians et al, whose forebears settled illegally in The Land of Israel, some with and others without the connivance of the British Mandatory authorities.

  10. Lynne Newington says:

    If only Mr Cohen realized he was fuelling the likes of now retired grandstanding advocate bishop Pat Power.
    He wrote to the priminister of the day some time ago, begging him to take a stand on the brutish treatment of the Palestinians at the hands of the Israelis and the appauling “wink and nod” of the US funding the crushing of a disenfranchised people, lacking essential food, water,fuel and medical suppies pushed to desperate measures.
    Maybe they should meet up and shake hands as members of a mutual admiration society……..

  11. michael Burd says:

    Not surprising to hear comrade Herzog agree with yet another Palestinian Useful idiot Cohen.
    I’m sure the Australian supporters of NIF will be happy to give ‘ Moral ” support to the Palestinians, Arabs , Muslims and their Socialist stormtrooper allies in oz .
    No doubt all the Jewish patronising Jewish progressives here know what’s best for Israel.

    • Henry Herzog says:

      Mr Burd, are you at all capable of putting together a rational argument, based on reality, rather than your usual hateful and baseless name calling?

    • Rami Reed says:

      That’s right. The Israeli only roads are roads which lead directly and only to Jewish settlements. There are no cafes, businesses, petrol stations or any Palestinian villages on the way, so obviously they were built for access to the settlements only. They were built because when these roads did not exist, Israely vehicles were attacked.

  12. Henry Herzog says:

    Roger Cohen is only saying, how it is. It’s only by definition that in the West Bank, there is an echo of apartheid, roads that only settlers can use, etc.

    • Eleonora Mostert says:

      Must visit this planet you live on… sounds so fantastic I can hardly wait to get there and listen to more Fairy Tales Mr. Herzog.

      • Henry Herzog says:

        So settler only roads; that is, Palestinians aren’t allowed to use them, is a fairy tale Ms Mostert? And the 4.1 million plus Palestinians living under occupation, another fairy tale?

        • david singer says:

          Henry Herzog


          1. There are Arab roads only in the West Bank that Jews are not allowed to use. Jews are also forbidden from entering Area “A”.
          Does this not constitute by Cohen’s definition Arab apartheid?

          2. Selling land to Jews is forbidden by the PLO under pain of death. Is this an echo of Arab apartheid and also unadulterated Arab racism?

          3. The PLO runs the daily lives of 95% of the West Bank Arabs and Hamas runs the daily lives of 100% of the Gazan Arabs. They have been under occupation – and subjugation – by these two evil groups for the last ten years and given no say in their future or any opportunity to elect others to lead them following the disastrous political decisions of their leaders over the past ten years.

          4. Hamas and the PLO do not accept the continued existence of a Jewish State and call for its disappearance. A tad racist maybe?

        • BARRY MOND says:

          Well done, Henry Herzog.
          Finally, after possibly thousands of letters to the Australian Jewish News, and other newspapers, you have finally got it right.
          You agree that 4.1 million so called “Palestinians” are living under occupation, that of course, being the occupation imposed upon them by Fatah, Islamic Jihad, Hamas and all the other terrorist groups including the Palestinian Authority.

          Oh, silly me. I misread your post to Elenora Mostert.

          Obviously, as per usual, your left wing ideology over rides the truth, and you actually believe that 4.1 million so called Palestinians are living under some sort of Israeli occupation, which by extension, you would obviously blame on those terrible Israelis.

          The fact that Israel under both Left and right wing leaders have attempted to come to some sort of a solution with those Fakestinians, and have been rebuffed time and again, and the fact that Abu Mazzen, or Mahmoud Abbas as he is better known, has declared that he won’t even sit down to discuss anything with the Israelis, has totally escaped your attention.

          Michael Burd’s description of you was the epitome of reality.

          It’s a pity, that you are the only one who fails to understand that.

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