This week has been Get Fiona Byrne Week at The Australian.
Today's Murdoch fishwrapper, however, in addition to the usual sniping, featured a 'commentary' by one Bruce Louden, described as "a senior writer with The Australian who has worked in both South Africa and the Middle East as a foreign correspondent."
Louden sets the scene thus: "Fiona Byrne, the Greens candidate who is favoured to win the [state] seat of Marrickville, is being plain silly in trying to draw parallels between Israel and apartheid South Africa." (Green foolish to liken Israel & apartheid)
Silly because she supports "the so-called BDS movement ('boycott, divestment and sanctions' against 'Israeli apartheid')" apparently.
He writes, "Contrast Israel's democracy with the situation in South Africa during the dark days of apartheid when a small elite of whites held virtually all the political and economic power and members of the overwhelming black majority - 30 million to fewer than 3 million - were, simply because their skin was the wrong colour, discriminated against at every level..."
What Louden, of course, leaves out is that, at the beginning of 1948, the year in which the leaders of the Jewish colons in Palestine declared the establishment of a sovereign Jewish state in Palestine, the Palestinian Arabs were a majority in their homeland. By the end of 1948, however, they had become a precarious minority in the new Jewish state, dubbed Israel.
Simple. They'd been ethnically cleansed, driven beyond the limits of the 78% of Palestine overrun by Zionist forces at the time. In this way, and no other, did the minority Jewish colons become a majority in most of Palestine. Think of it, if you will, as the mother of all gerrymanders.
Needless to say, if at any point thereafter, those Palestinians who had been driven out had been allowed to return to their ancestral lands, there would today be a Palestinian majority in Israel proper, but one lorded over by a small elite of Jews holding virtually all the political and economic power, to borrow Louden's words. However, having gone to the trouble of driving out the vast bulk of Palestine's indigenous Arab population, Israel's leaders were not about to risk such a quintessentially South African scenario and so lose Israel's trumpeted Jewish and democratic status.
Now, if only South Africa's whites had simply driven South Africa's blacks out in the same way...
For the full story on why, even without a Palestinian majority to lord over, Israel proper is still an apartheid state simply click on the Israeli apartheid label below and read my 24/5/10 post Second-Class Khaled. And for why Israel's occupation in the remaining 22% of Palestine merits the same designation, read my 21/9/09 post Israeli Apartheid: The Jury's In.