'Apartheid' applied to Israel

The opposing May 17 Op-Ed articles by Michael Oren ("Israel isn't, and will never be, an apartheid state") and Saree Makdisi ("Does the term 'apartheid' fit Israel? Of course it does") present an intriguing puzzle: Which author cites the most germane facts?

It appears to me that professor Makdisi has exercised impressive care in defining "apartheid" and then demonstrating how the word applies to Israel and Palestine. Moreover, having traveled to both locations, I hold perceptions that are in line with Makdisi's.

Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., surrenders to paranoia when he says that those who apply the word "apartheid" to Israel are attempting to delegitimize the state.

I do not know anyone who wants to undermine the existence of the state of Israel, but there are many who wish that Israel would change its behavior.

Carole Burnett

Silver Spring, Md.

Israel's scarlet "A" is preposterous.

Makdisi elides Arab-Israelis and those Arabs under Palestinian Authority control. Given ongoing terrorism threats, the latter inevitably face greater scrutiny. The former enjoy and exercise full rights as citizens.

Makdisi's cited U.N General Assembly Conventions are broadly written, essentially requiring equal results for all population subgroups. No wonder the U.S. has declined to sign.

And how horrible that Israel's "religious and cultural symbols" adorn state regalia, including the flag. Is this not so for many Muslim-majority states?

Israel provides medical treatment to Gazans and Syrian refugees. Even under rocket attack, it continues to supply electricity and humanitarian shipments to Gaza.

Among the first to offer aid worldwide in the event of natural disasters, Israel truly is an "A" nation:

always there.

Richard D. Wilkins

Syracuse, N.Y.

Makdisi's excellent article aligns with my experience as a reporter in the West Bank from 1979 through 2009.

I first reported on the ultra-right-wing settler movement Gush Emunim, the expropriation of Palestinian land for the movement's first settlements, and the movement's hatred of and vigilante acts (including murder) toward Palestinian Arabs.

These practices have been the practices of the Israeli state. They are sanctioned by the United States, without whose support they would not be possible. They violate U.N. Resolution 242 as well as other international laws, including laws against apartheid.

The South African Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu has said that Israeli apartheid is worse than South Africa's was. Further documentation is a matter of detail but is easily obtainable, because much of it has been reported in the Israeli, the international and even the U.S. media.

Ellen Cantarow

Medford, Mass.

If we accept Makdisi's definition of apartheid, then how does he explain the treatment of his Palestinian brothers and sisters at all the different refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria and other Arab countries?

After 66 years, why are these camps still there, and how come their Arab brothers haven't integrated them as full members of their societies?

Stewart Chesler

Sherman Oaks

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