Talk:Israel and the apartheid analogy

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Consider link to Adalah database of discriminatory laws[edit]

Should there be a subsection, perhaps following the HSRC analysis section, briefly describing and linking to the database of discriminatory laws maintained by Adalah, the center for Arab minority rights in Israel? The database covers both Israel and the OTs, so it probably should not go under either the OT or Israel sections.

The claim is that all the laws (over 65 at time of writing) discriminate in effect ("de facto"), while at least some discriminate explicitly, in their text or "on their face" ("de jure"). — Preceding unsigned comment added by KindaQuantum (talkcontribs) 11:58, 23 October 2017 (UTC)

In case it isn't clear, I posted this because I don't have sufficient privileges to make the necessary change myself. Can someone please action this for me? KindaQuantum (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 17:13, 23 October 2017 (UTC)

There should probably also be a brief sentence added after Richard Goldstone's reported assessment that there is no de jure discrimination in Israel. Something like "This is disputed," with an accompanying reference link to the Adalah database.KindaQuantum (talk) 15:05, 24 October 2017 (UTC)

Bump. I see no refutation of the appropriateness of these inclusions. Are they not relevant on-topic NPOV improvements to the page? On the contrary, I believe I have made a clear case that continuing to exclude them will amount to bias. It is frustrating not being able to make the changes directly myself; while I understand the motivation for the restrictions, without some reasonably accessible channel for good edits still getting in, this is not what WP should be, IMO. Would someone with sufficient edit privileges please do the right thing and include them? Thank you. KindaQuantum (talk) 23:55, 4 December 2017 (UTC)

This is an organization with a highly biased agenda, not a reliable source.Icewhiz (talk) 09:41, 5 December 2017 (UTC)
Good luck finding organisations without a highly biased agenda. Given that this is an article about highly biased opposing views, bias is no reason to exclude a viewpoint. Adalah seems to be a prominent Palestinian rights organisation and thus a reputable source for such views. However, according to some site called this list is deceptive because it doesn't distinguish between laws and proposed laws. If true, this would indeed be misleading, and it shouldn't be included in this article. also has some weaker criticisms: they claim that the list includes pejorative references to Zionism, and they seem to imply that some of the laws in the list relating to historic Jewish connection (in particular, symbols and the Hebrew calendar) are not in fact discriminatory. Of these latter concerns, they could be dealt with not by excluding the list from the article, but by noting the opposing opinions. Fuzzypeg 02:26, 8 January 2018 (UTC)'s criticisms are credited to this article. The author, Joel H. Golovensky, claims Adalah wants to grant citizenship to Palestinians, changing the nature of Israel so that it is no longer a "Jewish" state. So Golovensky himself is admitting from the outset that Israel discriminates (i.e. distinguishes) between Judaism and other religions. Golovensky in turn is summarizing this study by the Institute for Zionist Strategies. Neither Golovensky nor the IZS claim that the Adalah list conflates proposed legislation with active law. And the list itself has clear labelling of whether each law is active or proposed. Currently all are active. IZS disagrees with Adalah over whether the laws are discriminatory (e.g., does a jewish symbol on the national flag really discriminate against non-jews?), but for the purposes of this article that's fine that the discrimination is disputed. That's the whole point of this article: to explain what the different significant points of view are, without making any judgement over which is right or wrong. I agree with KindaQuantum that this list should be referenced. Fuzzypeg 03:00, 8 January 2018 (UTC)

I agree there's an apparent big problem in this article. As currently written, the lede suggests that there are no explicitly discriminatory laws, and only one possibly implicitly discriminatory law: IDF service being not mandatory for Arabs. Clearly there are laws which discriminate on the basis of creed, such as the Right of Return, and marriage laws. If the Adalah list clearly distinguishes between active and proposed laws (see my comment above), then I would recommend including it in the article. If someone believes there is a more reputable list of discriminatory laws that contains the same or expanded information, then they can replace it with that. Fuzzypeg 02:26, 8 January 2018 (UTC)

There are no discriminatory laws in relation to current citizens. Claimin the flag or calendar are discriminatory are one big stretch.Icewhiz (talk) 05:09, 8 January 2018 (UTC)
In your opinion. The purpose of this article is to represent all significant points of view on the subject, not just the one you personally agree with. Fuzzypeg 21:37, 8 January 2018 (UTC)
In you edit it you didn't gave view that those laws are not discriminatory per WP:NPOV--Shrike (talk) 08:06, 8 January 2018 (UTC)
Hi Shrike. Look more carefully: the sentence immediately prior gave that view. If there is some other significant opinion you believe is not represented, you should add it, rather than remove well-cited text.
Your stated reason for reverting my edit was that the source I added is not reliable. You have given no explanation why. I have explained here why I believe it is reliable; see WP:BIASED. Please either clearly justify why the source is not reliable, or else restore my edit. Thanks! Fuzzypeg 21:37, 8 January 2018 (UTC)
You are citing a WP:PRIMARY source which was published by a highly biased political advocacy group - far from a suitable source for inclusion.Icewhiz (talk) 21:47, 8 January 2018 (UTC)
In no way is it a primary source. It is a secondary source with elements of tertiary, since it does some of its own editorialising, but also gathers and cites other secondary sources. Yes it is biased (as are most of the sources for this article), and that is entirely to be expected, and perfectly permissible under WP:BIASED. Fuzzypeg 21:56, 8 January 2018 (UTC)
If we include this frivolous "database" as a source, one would have to, for the sake of NPOV when using such a highly biased source, include the ample criticism of this "database" (which sees the flag of Israel as "discrimination", or views an ordinance prohibiting trade with enemy nations as "discrimination"). You can not add one without the other.Icewhiz (talk) 22:08, 8 January 2018 (UTC)
There's no reason I shouldn't add one without the other: I have preserved NPOV, and this is a team effort. If you can help expand the arguments around why the laws are not discriminatory, by all means do so! This is a key aspect of the "apartheid" debate, not yet covered in depth; so you may be able to make some great additions to the article! Fuzzypeg 22:34, 8 January 2018 (UTC)
Please don't just say "highly biased agenda", articulate what you mean. This debate is not limited to the arbitrary terms you are setting - the current content is about the privileges and benefits conferred by the state, which is a fundamental concern in evaluating any civil rights issue (including the recent gay marriage decision in the United States) And yes, Adalah is prominent because they are lawyers, which they obviously would have to be as a Palestinian human and civil rights organization to be enjoy the same consideration as ngo-monitor. Seraphim System (talk) 08:25, 8 January 2018 (UTC)

After Shrike has restored my edit, I intend to add this sentence to follow it: "A proposed 'Jewish State' bill, which the government plans to pass by late March 2018, will explicitly restrict the right of self-determination to Jews only.[1][2][3]" Fuzzypeg 23:33, 8 January 2018 (UTC)


  1. ^ Israel takes first step towards ‘Jewish nation-state’ law, Joel Greenberg, The Financial Times, May 11 2017.
  2. ^ Full text of MK Avi Dichter’s 2017 ‘Jewish State’ bill, The Times of Israel, 10 May 2017.
  3. ^ Government Says It Will Push Jewish Nation-State Bill for First Vote Soon, The Jerusalem Post, December 18, 2017.
It would be WP:OR to add this based on the sources you presented. A nation state bill has many parallels elsewhere.Icewhiz (talk) 11:27, 9 January 2018 (UTC)
Hi Icewhiz. You also stated in your revert comment: "Change to lede without change to body. Sources do not connect this to "apartheid" - WP:OR by editor. Nation-states exist elsehwere." In fact, the first cited reference, the Financial Times piece, does connect this with "apartheid". It directly quotes Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint List party in Israel, describing the law as "apartheid, racist and nationalist". So no, it's not original research. As to your other points: yes, nation states exist all over the world; what's your point? And changing the lede without changing the body: what policy or guideline does that violate, and how? If you want to rearrange material, great! But don't just delete. Please take more care before simply reverting well-referenced edits. Far better would be to start in the talk page, by explaining clearly what part of what guideline you believe is violated. I am an experienced and conscientious editor, not a vandal. Thanks, Fuzzypeg 12:16, 9 January 2018 (UTC)
See MOS:INTRO. The lede is supposed to be a summary of the body. If we were to mention everything Mr. Odeh says is "apartheid" and "racist" we will have a very long article indeed.Icewhiz (talk) 12:55, 9 January 2018 (UTC)
I don't think MOS:INTRO stipulates that the lede cannot contain other material as well as summary. But there's no need to quibble over that, as I've already indicated my desire for this material to be reorganised and expanded below. I need time to get there, though, which is only hindered if you revert me. Importantly, please remember that you should always WP:PRESERVE content that meets the content criteria, not delete it but rather reorganise/improve it if you feel it doesn't meet style guidelines, or needs different context etc. I hope, therefore, that you will restore my edit. Regarding Odeh, no I don't intend to fill this article with his views on apartheid. I can't tell if you're joking there, or still trying to somehow argue that my addition is WP:OR. Either way, I don't understand your point. Fuzzypeg 14:24, 9 January 2018 (UTC)
You should probably work on finding how to include Odeh's remark on one version of a proposed bill into the body (where it might be UNDUE/OR as well - I think if you examine Odeh's language of late - this has become a common figure of speech in relation to many alleged wrongs) - before trying to insert this into the LEDE.Icewhiz (talk) 14:31, 9 January 2018 (UTC)
Why do you think Odeh needs to be quoted in the body of the article? I hadn't intended to do so. You haven't explained what your concern is about UNDUE/OR: what part of these policies are violated? if you're suggesting that Odeh might be unique in linking the proposed bill to "apartheid", just google "jewish state bill" apartheid and you'll find plenty others: MK Jamal Zahalka, MK Yael German, journalist Gideon Levy and a horde of others. If this is all you're concerned about, I can easily add more references. Fuzzypeg 21:39, 9 January 2018 (UTC)
I reverted Shrike's edit because he wrote "Not reliable source for such changes", but there were four sources at the end of the sentence. Let him make his argument here against each of the sources. I'm sure he doesn't like any of them, but as we say, Tough. Liking or not liking something isn't sufficient reason to include it or remove it. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 03:13, 9 January 2018 (UTC)
First of all WP:ONUS is on you to prove that those source are reliable and should be included moreover Like Icewiz noted there was also a POV problem but linking a highly subjective database your edit brought a POV violation without bringing any counterbalance.--Shrike (talk) 08:53, 9 January 2018 (UTC)
Thank-you Shrike. Reliability/reputability are all discussed above, as per WP:ONUS. You have repeated the same vague claims about bias ("POV violation") and reliability without explaining clearly what parts of what guidelines you believe are violated. Until you do so I'm unlikely to be able to answer your concerns. Please read WP:BIASED and WP:IMPARTIAL. Fuzzypeg 11:08, 9 January 2018 (UTC)

English usage[edit]

The Oxford English Dictionary defines "apartheid":

1(in South Africa) a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race.
1.1 Segregation on grounds other than race.
They give 20 example sentences of the generic second usage, none of which involves South Africa.
This article is based on the false premise that any use of "apartheid" in connection with Israel is the first meaning. It cites a (very one-sided) collection of sources with straw-man claims that an exact analogy is being made, which they attempt to debunk. Is it "encyclopedic" to indulge in this sort of word games?

Keith McClary (talk) 20:25, 11 November 2017 (UTC)

One reason for this is that certain quotes from Desmond Tutu which were widely discussed in the media did make an analogy, and this article is a discussion of that analogy and criticism of it. It went through a significant cleanup. Some of the content in this article might be better suited for a separate article, as the topic is rather narrow (but long enough with enough sources that I think it would not improve it to add everything to one article.)Seraphim System (talk) 21:07, 11 November 2017 (UTC)

The topic doesn't seem too narrow, as this is a major point of dispute being played out internationally: There are many articles and opinion pieces in the news media on exactly this subject, is Israel an apartheid? Desmond Tutu is far from alone in drawing the analogy. I would suggest that dictionary definitions of apartheid could profitably be included in this article, as well as the legal definition. Currently the very first sentence of the article seems to imply that the word apartheid is always intended in a legal sense; I doubt this very much. Fuzzypeg 23:14, 10 January 2018 (UTC)

Arab citizens of Israel[edit]

The lead of this article claims the following:
"However, others believe that even if Israeli law does not make explicit distinction between categories of citizens, in effect it privileges Jewish citizens and discriminates against non-Jewish, and particularly Arab, citizens of the state, by creating benefits for IDF service, which is not mandatory for Arabs."
Isn't this discrimination in favour of Arabs? For them, military service is voluntary while its mandatory for Jews and Druzes. How could this possibly be considered as discrimination against Arabs?
Dank Chicken (talk) 23:05, 22 November 2017 (UTC)

If you think of military service as a burden, then being free of such service seems like a benefit. But if, as the sentence you quote says, the state provides benefits for military service (and families with members who have served), and leadership in business and politics has historically been linked to military service or military leadership, is not serving in the military a net benefit or a form of discrimination? See Israel Defense Forces#Bedouins and Israeli Arabs for more information. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 04:05, 23 November 2017 (UTC)
It's discrimination against because without military service you are not eligible for certain social welfare benefits and where military service is almost universal for Israeli Jews it is the opposite for Israeli Arabs. Nixon Now (talk) 11:12, 23 November 2017 (UTC)
Its not universal for Israeli Jews. Ultraorthdox Jews aren't serving in the army.--Shrike (talk) 11:20, 23 November 2017 (UTC)
And why its in lead I suggest moving it in the body of the article per WP:LEAD--Shrike (talk) 11:23, 23 November 2017 (UTC)
Nixon Now - for the past 20+ years (following a high court case) - there is no difference in welfare benefits between army veterans and non-veterans.Icewhiz (talk) 12:56, 23 November 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Shrike, this would be great to expand into its own section on laws that have different application based on religion or race, or are viewed as discriminatory. Keep a little info in the lead, since it's a key element of the apartheid debate. Fuzzypeg 23:52, 8 January 2018 (UTC)

Arabs and Orthodox Jews aren't prohibited from serving in the army. They can enlist and get all of the possible benefits if they so please. ~90% of the Israeli Jews and Druzes have no choice but to enlist unless they have a medical condition or any other special reason.
Therefore, it is definitely not discrimination against Arabs and Orthodox Jews, but arguably a form of discrimination in favour of them.
Dank Chicken (talk) 14:44, 23 November 2017 (UTC)

The talkpage isn't meant for general discussion of the subject of the article, but for discussion about changes to be made to the article itself. Shrike, which aspect of WP:LEAD are you referring to? --Dailycare (talk) 18:18, 28 November 2017 (UTC)

Discrimination, literally speaking, simply means making a distinction between groups. There doesn't have to be a value judgement in it. However, discriminating between is often conflated with discriminating against (implying bigotry), because the word is so often used that way. Neutral language would use different wording, e.g. "distinguishes between". Establish the fact that this law distinguishes between religions using neutral language (unless you are conveying the opinion of a non-neutral source), and then you can explain the various views on whether and why this is a benefit or a problem for Palestinian Israelis. Fuzzypeg 23:52, 8 January 2018 (UTC)

NYT article about the legal status of Arab citizens of Israel and OT Arabs (2012)[edit]

This looks like it would make a relevant "Further reading" or reference link:

The author is an Arab Israeli citizen from Lod (Lydda in Arabic) in Israel, his wife a Palestinian from Nablus, 30 miles (48 km) away in the occupied West Bank. They met and live in the USA.


Israeli law prevents my wife from living with me in Israel [...] (Of course, Israelis who marry Americans or any non-Palestinian foreigners are not subjected to this treatment.)

The piece is hardly NPOV in itself, but I believe it would add to this article by tending to confound the claim that Israel is not a de jure apartheid state. KindaQuantum (talk) 01:11, 9 January 2018 (UTC)

Israeli law prevent enemy aliens from entering Israel (whether they marry Jews or Arabs). There is nothing unusual in this.Icewhiz (talk) 11:25, 9 January 2018 (UTC)
Keep drinking the kool-aid. — MShabazz Talk/Stalk 11:48, 9 January 2018 (UTC)

My sense is that the restrictive regulations upon Palestinian movement even for family and friends, not just in and out of Israel itself but also from town to town in close proximity, is already discussed enough in the article and properly cited. If we use this as an external link, something that I wouldn't object to, then we should probably try to find an archived version of the article to prevent link rot. CoffeeWithMarkets (talk) 11:58, 9 January 2018 (UTC)


User:Icewhiz has added who and dubious tags to the claim that Israeli statesmen have used the term "Israeli apartheid". I agree this formulation is problematic, because (a) that precise phrase doesn't appear in the cited article, nor in the article cited to support the claim that UN investigators use this term; and (b) as currently phrased it could equally apply to people who claim there is no "Israeli apartheid" — as long as they utter those words. I propose changing the wording to:

"Israel has been described as an "apartheid" state by some scholars, United Nations investigators, Israeli statesmen, human rights groups critical of Israeli policy and those supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel."

That would resolve the who and dubious tags and be clearer and more to the point. This article is about the apartheid analogy, not about only one specific phrasing of it. Fuzzypeg 22:50, 10 January 2018 (UTC)

Some Israeli statesmen warned of future apartheid if the two state solution were to collapse (and a one state were to emerge). They did not use the term in the present sense. You may find some far left Israeli individuals (who may have formally held a position in the past) that have made such a present stmt. Israeli statemen, in general, reject this tag to the present state.Icewhiz (talk) 05:20, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
Good call. The people who "have suggested that apartheid is not a future risk but a present reality", according to that article, are not current statesmen. They are: former education minister Shulamit Aloni, former environment minister Yossi Sarid, former attorney general Michael Ben-Yair and former Foreign Ministry chief Alon Liel. I suppose it should be "former Israeli statesmen". Fuzzypeg 04:45, 12 January 2018 (UTC)
In most other countries, such people are referred to as "elder statesmen and -women". But we can refer to them as dead politicians. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 04:54, 12 January 2018 (UTC)
Statesmen would be puffery (and none of those you mentioned did foreign relations so wrong on that, all 3 referred to the West Bank specificially). You could qualify this as "a few former far left politicians".Icewhiz (talk) 05:12, 12 January 2018 (UTC)
Thank you for proving my point. — MShabazz Talk/Stalk 12:31, 12 January 2018 (UTC)
Icewhiz, "far left" is a highly disputable label. Quote some reputable source for this opinion, by all means, but the article itself shouldn't adopt such a point of view. The term "far left" is typically used in a derogatory and highly imprecise way — and in this case I highly doubt any of these politicians qualify as "[Far-left politics|far left]", if you read what far left actually means. Nor are these politicians all dead. I have looked up "statesman" and I agree that isn't the right description for these people. They are former senior Israeli politicians. Fuzzypeg 09:23, 13 January 2018 (UTC)
I've changed the wording. I'll let you remove the dubious and who tags once you're satisfied that the wording is accurate. Feel free to expand it with whatever else you think is important, as long as it is well-cited, neutral and not original research. Fuzzypeg 09:34, 13 January 2018 (UTC)
Better, but senior is puffery (heading Meretz is not particularly senior), and one typically identifies the leaning of the politicians involved - in this case members of the farthest left Jewish party, which at the time the stmts were made held 5 of 120 MKs.Icewhiz (talk) 21:14, 13 January 2018 (UTC)
That's bullshit. First, we should include either "senior" or "former", as it's descriptive, not puffery. Second, tagging everybody who has said that as "left-wing" is a smear, not a "leaning". (Ben Gurion was "far left" only perhaps with respect to Jabotinsky and Begin.) If a reader is curious, she or he can click on the link to read more about the politician or the party she or he was associated with. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 21:32, 13 January 2018 (UTC)
Ben Gurion said nothing of the sort (he warned of a possible future). The "senior" former politicians referred to are all from Meretz which proudly self identifies as left wing, and is often described as far left. Left or right wing is not a smear - but a description of political position (inside the US one usually says liberal or conservative - but this labelling does not fit non US politics and Israel in particular).Icewhiz (talk) 21:42, 13 January 2018 (UTC) Addendum, this is their homepage, the big green banner on the top reads "Left is Meretz", which was their campaign slogan. This is not something they are shy of (Labor (Zionis Union) sometimes tries to portray itself as center or center-left, but never Meretz).Icewhiz (talk) 21:54, 13 January 2018 (UTC)