So You Think Israel is Apartheid?

Once again accusations of Israel being an apartheid state have hit the headlines.  A UN committee ESCWA (Economic Social Commission of Western Asia) has released a report accusing Israel of practicing ‘apartheid,’ which has since been pulled from their web site. The term itself refers to what took place in South Africa between 1948 and 1994. However, its popularity increased primarily as a result of a book written by former President Jimmy Carter-  “Peace, Not Apartheid” released in November 2006. Carter, a strong supporter of Hamas and Yasser Arafat, sought, to portray Israeli policies toward the terror groups committed to its destruction as racist and discriminatory.

To call Carter’s use of the term “apartheid” a mischaracterization is akin to calling the Pacific Ocean a tiny lake. Moreover, his use of said term suggests he either doesn’t understand its meaning, or he is truly anti-Israel, which is more likely.

Let me illustrate….

During apartheid South Africa was comprised of approximately 70 – 75% black people with roughly 25 – 20% whites. Under the apartheid system of government, the small minority of white people ruled the country. The black majority was forced to live in ghettos, which were separated from the white cities. Plus, they were surrounded by walls or fences, making it impossible for blacks to come and go freely. The gates were guarded and no black could leave without proof of ID and the strict understanding they were only allowed to leave for specific purposes, such as work.

Within the cities they lived in “townships,” which were very rundown separate slum areas. All non-whites were required to carry special passes which designated where they lived. They were required to show them to police upon demand.

After a prolonged series of negotiations between 1990 and 1994 the apartheid system was done away with and free elections took place. Nelson Mandela, a hugely popular black activist who had been imprisoned for 27 years was elected President.

Comparing and Contrasting

Let’s review why use of the term “apartheid” is so incorrect.

First off, the situation in South Africa occurred within the sovereign borders of the country. In the Israeli-‘Palestinian’ conflict there are three distinct areas. The land within the ’67 lines, Judea/Samaria (disputed territories) and the Gaza Strip, which is run by the terrorist group Hamas, whom Carter is quite fond of. Both the major terror groups Fatah in the disputed territories and Hamas in Gaza have charters which commit them to destroy the Jewish state of Israel.

Unlike the blacks under apartheid in South Africa, the ‘Palestinians’ in Judea/Samaria and Gaza have always had the option of resolving the conflict by renouncing terror and accepting the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. In South Africa the blacks and whites all lived within the country. The blacks were subjected to overtly racist laws and were harshly mistreated by the white Afrikaners, and never had the same options as the ‘Palestinians.’ In other words their fate was not in their hands, whereas the ‘Palestinians’ have always had that option. To date they have not committed to peacefully co-exist with the Jewish state of Israel. This is an important distinction.

Unlike the blacks of South Africa the ‘Palestinians’ have weapons and have made it clear they prefer to murder innocent Jewish Israeli’s rather than live in peaceful co-existence with them.  Plus, their charters specifically call for the destruction of Israel, to be replaced by a single Muslims controlled ‘Palestinian’ state. Whereas, all the ruling white Afrikaners had to do was agree to fully integrate the country and allow democracy to take hold, which is what ended up happening in 1994. There were no border issues in South Africa, everything occurred within the sovereign nation. This is another distinction.

However, with the ‘Palestinian’s’ commitment to eliminate the Jewish state and kill innocent civilians it makes unilateral moves of full integration impossible for Israel. Plus, the demographic s would shift dramatically, placing the Jewish majority of Israel at risk.

Apartheid Practice inside ’67 Lines?

Israel has been accused of practicing apartheid within the ’67 lines as well. This is absolutely false. Within the ’67 lines there are roughly 1.5 million Arabs who are full Israeli citizens. They own homes and businesses. They vote, hold local government positions, are elected to the Knesset, and serve on the Israeli Supreme Court.

They are fully integrated into Israeli society, sitting side by side with Jewish Israelis throughout the overall workforce in virtually all cross sections of industry. They are construction workers, taxi drivers, truck drivers, electricians, etc. Go to a supermarket and you’ll find Arabs working side by side with Jews. The same is true in hospitals. In fact in certain industries Arabs make up virtually all the employees on the weekend because of the Jewish Sabbath, (Shabbat).

Arabs are professors, students, doctors, lawyers, gas station attendants and virtually every other profession.

Fact Checking President Carter

Regarding President Carter, here are some of his comments, which question his integrity and truthfulness:

  • For example, in his book he describes Yasser Arafat as a man of peace saying “the PLO has never advocated the annihilation of Israel.”  (pg. 62)
    Fact check: “Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine.” (Article 9 PLO Charter)
  • He also says there would be peace if Israel would only return to the 1967 borders. (pg 242)
    Fact check: The PLO was founded in 1964, 3 years before the Six Day War of 1967. The goal of the PLO is to replace the Jewish state of Israel with a Muslim controlled Arab state.
  • He said “Since August 2004 Hamas has not committed a single act of terrorism that cost an Israeli life, not one.” (PBS Newshour interview Nov. 28, 2006.
    Fact check: There have been 44 Israeli deaths from terror attacks from Gaza since 2004.

I once had the opportunity to speak with him one on one when he was a guest on a talk show. He stuck to the same lies as indicated in the aforementioned quotes. I, along with the show host took him to task for his remarks. He remained immovable.

There are also critics who say if Israel wishes to be seen as truly ‘democratic,’ it should cease the practice of Zionism, which they describe as racist. Former Secretary of State John Kerry for example, said” Israel can be Jewish or Democratic, it cannot be both.” Let’s examine this…

Jews were scattered all over the world after the failed revolt against Roman Emperor Hadrian in 135 AD. In his anger he renamed Judea Phillistia. For two millennia they were separated from their ancestral homeland and the center of their spiritual life. The Zionist movement sought to bring Jews home to the land which was given to them by God. The realization of the Zionist dream provides the only nation on earth the Jewish people can truly say is their home. This, in spite of its 20% Arab population. Keep in mind there are already 22 sovereign Arab nations in the Middle East with a population of almost 400 million. One tiny nation with 6.5 million Jews as the majority should be fully understandable by any fair minded person.

I’ve had the privilege of speaking with Arabs who live within the ’67 lines and they have acknowledged the quality of their lives is superior than if they lived under ‘Palestinian’ rule, or in a Muslim dominated country. They also indicated those who accuse Israel of practicing apartheid are incorrect.

I suggest those who accuse Israel of such practice take a closer look at themselves, and check their own level of racism.

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