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Zionism and Apartheid: a moral comparison

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This article subjects to normative-theoretical scrutiny the common claim that Israeli Zionism is 'like' South African apartheid. Drawing on a range of historical and sociological evidence, it shows that this claim (or accusation) is substantially justified in two senses. Firstly, Israeli Zionism is, in many areas, morally bad in the same way as apartheid; secondly, where it is different from apartheid in character, it is in some respects anyway as bad - that is, the difference is not invariably morally favourable to Israeli Zionism. 'Israel proper' (within its pre-1967 borders) is neither much like nor as bad as apartheid. The justification of the analogy only becomes clear when we view Israel and its occupied territories as a single political entity. The article argues that we are justified in so viewing them.
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Keywords: Apartheid; Ethnicity; Israel; Palestine; South Africa; Zionism; comparative history; normative political theory

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Strathclyde, UK

Publication date: 01 May 2003

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