Thursday, May 24, 2012

Separate But Equal—never happened, never will

Back in the days of my youth (yes, I’m that old) bus stations in the southern part of the United States had four bathrooms and two water fountains.  Today my adult children look at me with puzzled expressions on their faces at the idea of segregation.  I might as well be telling them stories about dragons and sea monsters.  I like that.

Yes, I know that racism is still rampant in this country, but now there are so many issues on which to discriminate that any halfway decent bigot can get up a good rant without breaking a sweat.  I’m not even sure race is at the top of the list any more.  Abortion, sexual preference, religion, political preference... the list goes on and on.
The point I’m trying to make here is that we have made progress in this country.  We’re far from perfect, but we’re working on it.  The "Christians Only" sign, posted in the United States, was not dated, although the blogger said that until the late 1960's Jews were still being discriminated against in many places in the southern United States.

Racist groups, cults, fanatics, skinheads, etc. do exist in this country and in many other countries, but most people agree that it brings shame on the country and we must continually fight against it.  It is NOT legally sanctioned; it is NOT national policy.
Apartheid is alive and well and living in Israel.

Earlier this year, Israeli courts upheld a controversial marriage law that bans Palestinians who marry Israeli Arabs from obtaining Israeli citizenship or even residency rights.  Quoting ABC News:

Under current Israeli law, when an Arab Israeli marries a Palestinian they either live apart or must move to another country to live together long-term.

Various human rights groups challenged the law in the Supreme Court on the grounds that it violates the rights of Palestinian spouses to a proper family life.

But the court has ruled that human rights cannot override Israel's security concerns, with one judge writing that: "Human rights are not a prescription for national suicide."

Human rights groups have attacked the court decision, and accused the court of stamping its approval on a racist law that will harm the lives of families whose only sin is the Palestinian blood that runs in their veins.

"It is a dark day for the protection of human rights and for the Israeli Supreme Court," attorneys Dan Yakir and Oded Feller from the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) said in a statement.

Reading about a law is very different from reading about an individual whose life has been changed by the law. A wonderful op-ed piece in the New York Times of a couple who are self-exiled to the United States—far from their respective families because the law prevents them from living in the husband’s home.

This makes me wonder what would happen (Heaven forbid!) if a non-Arab Israeli citizen married a non-Israeli Palestinian. Would the same law apply? Maybe one of my readers can find an answer.


  1. Powerfully put, Dixie.

    And speaking of Dixie - the other one - my wife and I would not legally be married in Virginia under laws that existed into the mid-60s.

    Apartheid thrives on obsession with pedigree more appropriate for corn farmers and horse race gamblers than national policy makers. It is stunning that "our staunch ally" continues to receive blind support from self-proclaimed followers of the Christ while it practices such ghastly behavior toward a population it has virtually declared to be without life.

  2. Thanks, Sackco.
    Discriminatory laws and practices become much more real when they touch your or someone you know and love, or you are close enough to say "there but for the grace of God and the passage of time..."

  3. What is so sad about apartheid is that ALL of our ancestors walked out of Africa - some earlier than others! Race is a human construct, not DNA.

    We no more have claim to belonging to a 'superior' race than we have claim belonging to the 'true' church.

    Yes, my friend, we have come a long way, but we have a long way yet to travel.

  4. Thanks, Lenora.
    All we can do is keep trying.

  5. A non-Arab Israeli citizen can marry a non-Israeli Palestinian if they can find someone to legally perform the ceremony. A Rabbi in Israel could not preform the ceremony, not because of the Arab-thing but because I am assuming that the Arab is not Jewish. Even Jews marrying in Israel cannot legally marry if one is a convert. It may very well be discriminatory but it has nothing to do with the Arab. It's weird but that's the way it is. We've got to get the Rabbis out of the Israeli legal system. Does that answer your question?