A leading Israeli journalist has prompted outrage by calling Israel an “apartheid” state.
The author, Bradley Burston, is a senior columnist and editor of Haaretz which is Israel’s oldest and most daily newspaper. In his blog entitled, “It’s Time to Admit It. Israeli Policy Is What It Is: Apartheid,” Burston denounced Israel’s foreign policy and failure to curb Jewish extremism.
His comments came just weeks after an 18-month-old toddler was killed after a Palestinian home in Duma, a village near the city of Nablus, was allegedly set on fire by Jewish right-wingers.
Although Israel has long been accused of discriminating against Palestinian and Arab citizens – more recently, Ethiopian Jews – Burston’s comments have cause a stir in Israel primarily because he has been a staunch supporter of a “truly Jewish democratic state.”
“I used to be one of those people who took issue with the label of apartheid as applied to Israel. I was one of those people who could be counted on to argue that, while the country’s settlement and occupation policies were anti-democratic and brutal and slow-dose suicidal, the word apartheid did not apply. I’m not one of those people any more. Not after the last few weeks.”
“Not after terrorists firebombed a West Bank Palestinian home, annihilating a family, murdering an 18-month-old boy and his father, burning his mother over 90 percent of her body – only to have Israel’s government rule the family ineligible for the financial support and compensation automatically granted Israeli victims of terrorism, settlers included.”
Burston then went on to point out how Israel’s Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, declared Palestinian stone-throwing to be terrorists when at the same time pro-settlement Jews were “rewarded” with more settlements for hurling rocks and bottles of urine at Israeli soldiers and police at a West Bank settlement.
“This is what has become of the rule of law. Two sets of books. One for Us, and one to throw at Them. Apartheid.”
While Burston’s opinion has raised many eyebrows, it has also received much praise for self-criticism of Israel’s controversial policies. Listen to him explaining his stance to BBC in the audio link below: