Sakset/Fra hofta

NYTimes Roger Cohen tar for seg Jimmy Carters «Palestine Peace not Apartheid». Hans evaluering har også et budskap til norsk Midtøsten-kritikk. Cohen kritiserer Carter, men også utviklingen på Vestbredden.

Først er det harelabben over palestinsk korrupsjon, vanstyre og araberlandenes kyniske bruk av palestiner-spørsmålet.

But he does his case no good through strange omissions and poor wording that undermine his work. The internal divisions, corruption and disastrous leadership of the Palestinian people – especially disastrous in the long twilight of Yasser Arafat’s rule – get short shrift.

The self-serving manipulation of the conflict by Arab states is similarly glossed over, as is its growing religious overlay. And, in a passage for which he has apologized, Carter says Palestinians should stop suicide bombings and terrorism «when international laws and the ultimate goals for the Roadmap for Peace are accepted by Israel.»

Den skarpeste kritikken gjelder imidlertid bruken av ordet apartheid, og forsøket på å gi det en egen definisjon.

The harshest debate has centered on Carter’s choice of the word «apartheid,» the system of institutionalized racial discrimination and persecution once used by South Africa’s white minority to dominate the black majority.

Carter has defended his choice of words, saying it’s meant to convey the forced separation and domination of Palestinians rather than Israeli racism. He has insisted that using «apartheid» to describe Israeli West Bank policies «should give no aid or comfort to any of those who have attempted to equate racism with Zionism.»

Nice try, Jimmy. Trying to take race out of the word «apartheid» is as far- fetched as trying to take Jew out of the word «Zionism.» It doesn’t work.

Hva så med apartheid-metaforen, finnes det paralleller?

That said, Carter is not wrong to see analogies with aspects of apartheid. Anyone visiting the West Bank, with its garrison-like Jewish settlements on hilltops connected by modern highways barred or inaccessible to donkey-riding Palestinians, can only be struck by how humiliation is now built into the very terrain.

«The West Bank has been fragmented into three areas – north (Jenin and Nablus), center (Ramallah) and south (Hebron) – which increasingly resemble the Bantustans of South Africa,» John Dugard, a South African law professor who has examined conditions there for the United Nations Human Rights Council, wrote recently.

Det går altså an å skrive om Israel på en fundamental kritisk måte, men uten at det får den «slur» som preger norsk Midtøsten-journalistikk. Som når VGs Harald Berg Sævereid skrev om voldteksttiltalen mot president Katzav. Selv den israelske machismo tilskrev han sionismens idealer!

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