Israel and South Africa – The Many Faces of Apartheid

People’s Apart – Israel, South Africa and the Apartheid Question

Ilan Pappé

To appear on 15 October 2015
ISBN: 9781783605897
225 pages

Published by Zed Books

Within the already heavily polarised debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, parallels between Israel and apartheid South Africa remain highly contentious. A number of prominent academic and political commentators, including former US president Jimmy Carter and UN Special Rapporteur John Dugard, have argued that Israel’s treatment of its Arab-Israeli citizens and the people of the occupied territories amounts to a system of oppression no less brutal or inhumane than that of South Africa’s white supremacists. Similarly, boycott and disinvestment campaigns comparable to those employed by anti-apartheid activists have attracted growing support. Yet while the ‘apartheid question’ has become increasingly visible in this debate, there has been little in the way of genuine scholarly analysis of the similarities (or otherwise) between the Zionist and apartheid regimes.

In People’s Apart, Ilan Pappé, one of Israel’s preeminent academics and a noted critic of the current government, brings together lawyers, journalists, policy makers, and historians of both countries to assess the implications of the apartheid analogy for international law, activism and policy making. With contributors including the distinguished anti-apartheid activist Ronnie Kasrils, Peoples Apart offers a bold and incisive perspective on one of the defining moral questions of our age.


‘Comparing Israel and apartheid South Africa is one of the great taboos of our time. This collection breaks the taboo in examining settler colonialism and apartheid in both Israel itself and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.’
John Dugard, former Special Rapporteur to the UN Human Rights Council

‘A key book for deepening the discussion of Israel as an apartheid state of a special kind, and for exploring a different future for Palestinians. The essays give no easy answers, but much food for thought, and for hope. This book’s insights and analysis will be widely debated – it should be a best seller.’
Victoria Brittain, journalist and author of Shadow Lives: The Forgotten Women of the War on Terror

‘Israel is trying to refine the nefarious policy of apartheid to keep the Palestinian people apart. This book cogently argues the inefficacy of the policy of divide and rule. A must read.’
Arun Gandhi, founder of the M. K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence

‘It is clear from this finely crafted collection of essays that Israel has much in common with white-ruled South Africa. Indeed, Peoples Apart provides abundant evidence that Israel is worse than South Africa was, and that Israeli apartheid will be more enduring than the South African variant. This smart and informative book should be read by every person who cares about Israel and its victims.’
John J. Mearsheimer, author of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

‘Nine superbly qualified authors confirm from a variety of perspectives the allegations of apartheid directed at Israel. This book is profoundly convincing, and should put an end to serious debate about whether Israel is guilty of apartheid.’
Richard Falk, author of Palestine: The Legitimacy of Hope

‘Demonstrates how Apartheid as a political system of segregation is not specific to any particular race or country, and why invoking it in the context of Israel /Palestine is both instructive and instrumental. The authors show there’s lots to learn from the successful struggle against the Apartheid of South Africa.’
Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera English, and author of Palestine/Israel: Peace or Apartheid

‘A terrible evil makes the apartheid comparison between Israel and South Africa a valid exercise, that is, the intentional prevention of shared life. On this basis, this book tasks the comparative method as a tool to challenge the dismal reality in Palestine.’
Marcelo Svirsky, author of After Israel

‘One of the most important volumes on the issue of Israeli apartheid. Skillfully incorporating perspectives from various disciplines, the authors provide an excellent and extremely relevant examination of the systemic infrastructure of the Israeli state’s colonial and apartheid enterprise.’
Farid Esack, University of Johannesburg

‘This is an exceptionally important contribution to contemporary debates on Israeli apartheid. There is simply no other collection out there that brings such historical and comparative breadth to bear on this question – a must read!’
Adam Hanieh, SOAS

Table of Contents

Introduction: Ilan Pappe

Part 1: Historical Roots

1. Ronnie Kasrils – ‘Birds of a Feather: Israel and Apartheid South Africa – Colonialism of a Special Type’.

2. Ilan Pappe – ‘The Many Faces of European Colonialism: The Templers, the Basel Mission and the Zionist Movement’.

3. Oren Ben Dor – ‘Asking the Question of the Origin of Apartheid’.

Part 2: The Boundaries of Comparison

4. Jonathan Cook – ‘Visible equality” as Confidence Trick’.

5. Leila Farsakh – ‘Apartheid, Israel and Palestinian Statehood’.

Part 3: Nuanced Comparisons

6. Anthony Löwstedt – ‘Femicide in Apartheid’.

7. Amna Badran – ‘The Many Faces of Protest: a Comparative Analysis of Protest Groups in Israel and South Africa’.

Part 4: Future Models and Perspectives

8. Steven Friedman – ‘The Inevitable Impossible: South African Experience and a Single State’.

9. Virginia Tilley – ‘Have We Passed the Tipping Point? Querying Sovereignty and Settler Colonialism in Israel-Palestine’.

10. Ran Greenstein – ‘Israel/Palestine and the apartheid analogy: critics, apologists and strategic lessons’.

About the Author:

Ilan Pappé is Professor of History at the University of Exeter, co-director of the Exeter Centre for Ethno-Political Studies, director of the Palestine Studies Centre at the University of Exeter