Israel v. Palestine, Plessy v. Ferguson

Haaretz (3/13/13):

Starting on Monday, certain buses running from the West Bank into central Israel will have separate lines for Jews and Arabs.

The Afikim bus company will begin operating Palestinian-only bus lines from the checkpoints to Gush Dan to prevent Palestinians from boarding buses with Jewish passengers. Palestinians are not allowed to enter settlements, and instead board buses from several bus stops on the Trans-Samaria highway.

Last November, Haaretz reported that the Transportation Ministry was looking into such a plan due to pressure from the late mayor of Ariel, Ron Nahman, and the head of the Karnei Shomron Local Council. They said residents had complained that Palestinians on their buses were a security risk.

The buses will begin operating Monday morning at the Eyal crossing to take the Palestinians to work in Israel. Transportation Ministry officials are not officially calling them segregated buses, but rather bus lines intended to relieve the distress of the Palestinian workers.

Plessy v. Ferguson (1896):

Laws permitting, and even requiring, their separation in places where they are liable to be brought into contact do not necessarily imply the inferiority of either race to the other, and have been generally, if not universally, recognized as within the competency of the state legislatures in the exercise of their police power.

…Every exercise of the police power must be reasonable, and extend only to such laws as are enacted in good faith for the promotion for the public good, and not for the annoyance or oppression of a particular class.

In determining the question of reasonableness, it is at liberty to act with reference to the established usages, customs, and traditions of the people, and with a view to the promotion of their comfort and the preservation of the public peace and good order. Gauged by this standard, we cannot say that a law which authorizes or even requires the separation of the two races in public conveyances is unreasonable…

We consider the underlying fallacy of the plaintiff’s argument to consist in the assumption that the enforced separation of the two races stamps the colored race with a badge of inferiority. If this be so, it is not by reason of anything found in the act, but solely because the colored race chooses to put that construction upon it.


  1. revolutionaryactionnow March 3, 2013 at 4:12 pm | #

    Reblogged this on P.E.A.C.E..

  2. JRCohn March 3, 2013 at 4:21 pm | #

    I wonder if they know that this is coinciding with Anti-Apartheid Week, giving it the worst PR moment possible.

  3. Mike Page March 3, 2013 at 4:49 pm | #

    thank you

  4. troy grant March 3, 2013 at 5:16 pm | #

    Racism, pure and simple.

  5. neffer March 3, 2013 at 8:32 pm | #

    So a law put in place to keep people from killing each other is racist? Nonsense!

    • jasdye March 4, 2013 at 7:24 am | #

      That, yes. And the knee-jerk response that Palestinians are murderous thugs.

      • neffer March 4, 2013 at 9:02 am | #

        Quite a large number are very violent. Most are not. But, enough are violent to justify taking steps to prevent violence.

        I note, for what it is worth noting that the reason given for the bus lines in issue is to be helpful to the Palestinian side and, in fact, there is no law preventing either or both Israelis from riding in the buses. My inclination is to believe, notwithstanding the justification – which may well be quite true -, an important real reason for the buses is security, as security from terrorism is a critical concern for Israel – as it is for any country and, as I noted, there are a lot of Palestinian Arabs that have been engaged in violence.

        • Corey Robin March 4, 2013 at 10:09 am | #

          Of course, the whole point of my citing the specific statements from Plessy is that the Court in upholding the law of segregation also cited security and safety, not just of whites but of blacks as well. Phrases like “police power,” “for the public good” (and not for “annoyance or oppression” of a particular class), “public peace and good order,” and so on — all point to the fact that the Court believed, not just in this case but in a great many cases that upheld segregation, that it was keeping the races apart for the good of both, to avert violence, etc. And to a certain degree I think that was quite sincere on its part. As I’ve argued elsewhere, the notion of security and safety of a nation and a people is inextricably linked to notions of racial hierarchy and ethnic difference. So when one cites security, one is not being hypocritical or deceptive; the notion of race and ethnicity is baked into the concept of security itself.

      • neffer March 5, 2013 at 1:19 pm | #

        Mr. Robin, In other words, you have decided to descend into citing a pseudo-analogy. That is pretty pathetic.

    • Councilman March 9, 2013 at 5:58 pm | #

      Quite a large number of Israelis are occupiers of another nation, most are not.

  6. steve white March 3, 2013 at 9:15 pm | #

    Don’t be stupid, the purpose is to prevent the Muslims from MURDERING their fellow passengers by bringing bombs onto the buses. Or in your world are the cuddly sweet Muslims not fond of suicide bombings?

    • Cavoyo March 4, 2013 at 12:06 am | #

      Don’t forget that the purpose of the Plessy v. Ferguson ruling is to prevent Black people from RAPING and MURDERING whites. Or in your world are the cuddly sweet Black people not fond of rape and murder?

      • steve white March 9, 2013 at 4:59 pm | #

        How many suicide bombings or rocket attacks have your murdering Palestinian friends carried out? Or their talaban friends who just murdered the 20 or so civilians, women and 8 children — yesterday in Kabul? Your either a bigot or a moron, and I’m not sure which is worse

  7. Bennett Lerner March 4, 2013 at 12:04 am | #

    From what i know of Scalia’s comments from the bench during oral argument of the voting rights case, it seems it is his intention to apply this same logic

  8. Malcolm Schosha March 4, 2013 at 7:34 am | #

    There is no apartheid-like law behind this: “…Palestinians legally cannot be refused permission to board the regular bus lines, an unnamed Afikim bus driver told Ynet.”

    Afikim is a private bus company, but If they refuse a Palestinian who wants to board their buses, that is illegal under Israeli law.

  9. wembley March 6, 2013 at 10:55 pm | #

    Not only sad and disgusting, but creepy as hell. As a Jew, it’s– “drilled into my head since childhood” overstates it, but I’d definitely been given the message that the Holocaust could happen again, so keep vigilant. Not “Never again” so much as “Probably never again, but it could totally happen, just fyi, the gentiles are your friends and neighbors and they love you, but btw, they’re capable of totally murdering your ass.” So, with that as my background, if I heard that my city was segregating its bus lines by religion? I’d be trying to get the fuck out for my own safety. To see Israel do this? Effing Christ. I shouldn’t be surprised, but… fuck.

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