Saturday, February 21, 2009

Apartheid and Israelis

Dubai, an oil-rich emirate that wants to become a significant part of the world - or rather, bring the world to it - caused headlines recently when it barred an Israeli female tennis player from attending a tournament.

It subsequently relented, and made special provisions to allow Andy Ram, an Israeli male tennis player, to compete.

That reminds me of the days of apartheid in South Africa, where everyone was classified on the basis of perceived races. This frequently arbitrary system fell apart when it was tested at the fringes - for example, some VIP visitors being given temporary 'white' status. This just showed how the whole system stank, since it wasn't based on a rigorous logic.

Likewise Dubai's actions stink - in particular in granting Ram a special status visa. Of course, they're caught between the desire for global status and their righteous sympathy for the plight of all Palestinians. Unfortunately, the two goals clash at times like this. In an ideal world this would not happen, but in an ideal world the US would not bankroll an Israel that continued to support Israeli settlements in the occupied territories - much less condoning occupation at all.

One can only hope that the new administration has the capacity to force meaningful resolution for the Palestinians.

1 comment:

Anne Gilbert said...

The entire Palestinian-Israeli situation, which after 50 years is still unresolved, and likely to stay that way for the near future, makes me very sad. And the actgion of Dubai, while understandable, is part of the wider ramifications of this lack of resolution. Too bad. Because most Israelis just want peaceful, normal lives. So, I suspect, do most Palestinians, But their governments and leaders remain intransigent, and Israel has all the weapons. Sad, sad, sad.
Anne G