By Monessa Shapiro
Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) is once again upon us. And with it are the fabrications and deceit that we have come to associate with the proponents of IAW, not least of all the BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions). For to describe Israel as an Apartheid state is mendacity of enormous magnitude, a lie that minimizes the pain and degradation that Apartheid South Africa was.
A nefarious untruth that negates the suffering that was Apartheid, the misuse and abuse of the term Apartheid – like other emotive terms such as “ethnic cleansing” or “genocide” – stifles debate. For to label Israel an Apartheid state is not to criticize it, but rather to say that it is so evil that it is beyond criticism and any form of debate.
And so, if Israel is an Apartheid state, then the call of the BDS and other advocates of IAW for “Palestine from the river to the sea,” have merit. For them, the notion of “Palestine from the river to the sea” would result in the demise of Israel; necessary of course, because like Apartheid South Africa, no apartheid state deserves to exist.
Is Israel even vaguely aligned to an Apartheid state? Each and every Israeli citizen – Jew, Moslem and Christian, black or white – is equal before the law, has equal access to medicine and education, has the right to vote and the freedom to practice his or her religion. Every Arab living in East Jerusalem was offered full Israeli citizenship after the Six Day War and the return of East Jerusalem to Jewish hands. Those who refused were given permanent residency. Israeli Arabs are judges on the Israeli Supreme Court – an Arab judge sentenced Israeli President Katzav to prison. Supreme Court judge, Salim Joubran, an Arab, was elected as vice-President of the Supreme Court in 2017. Arab members of Parliament sit and debate with their Jewish counterparts in the Israeli Knesset.
In their rantings, the supporters of IAW fail to take cognizance of the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. They fail to recognise that the first Arab state was established from the British mandate in 1922, when Britain, reneging on its obligation to re-establish a Jewish state in the whole of British mandatory Palestine, gave all the land East of the Jordan river to the Hashemite kingdom in the formation of Transjordan (modern day Jordan). They ignore the fact that the establishment of the State of Israel was an affirmation that the only two states in Palestine that had been independent prior to the formation of Israel, were in fact homelands for the Jews – the first in about 1000 BC and the second in 164 BC.
And they conveniently disregard the fact that Jews have since about 2000 BC had a constant presence in the land of Israel, including in Judea and Samaria (today known as the West Bank). The only time that Jews were prohibited from entering East Jerusalem where stood the First Temple and Judea and Samaria, was during Jordan’s occupation of these territories, between 1948 and 1967.
They disregard United Nations Resolution 181 that divided what was left of British Mandatory Palestine into a land for the Jews and a land for the Arabs. The Arabs could today have been celebrating 71 years of independence in the second Arab state, formed from the British mandate.
Death to Jews
In addition, the advocates for BDS and IAW provide no context for the Israel-Palestine conflict. They do not acknowledge that every war Israel has fought has been against an enemy who has wished to annihilate her. They never mention the fact that Israel has since her inception, suffered from ongoing terrorism because her neighbours cannot abide a Jewish presence in the Middle East. They gloss over the fact that the Hamas Charter calls for the murder of all Jews and the destruction of Israel. They never protest the wanton murder of innocent Israeli men, women and children. The slitting of a sleeping Jewish baby’s throat is disregarded, as is the slaughter of rabbis at prayer in a synagogue. No mention is ever made of the thousands upon thousands or rockets fired into Israel aimed at civilians or the underground tunnels burrowed into Israel with the intention of murdering and kidnapping Israeli civilians. The ‘Great March of Return’ is viewed by them as an innocent civilian protest. The fact that Hamas leaders urge protestors to go to the fence “armed with a knife” or “eat Israeli livers” if they are hungry is totally ignored by the advocates and supporters of BDS and IAW.
At the same time those who term Israel an Apartheid state overlook the true Apartheid of the Middle East:
- The fact, that I, as a Jew, cannot enter many of the Muslim countries
- The fact that Mahmoud Abbas has made it quite clear that no Jew will be allowed in a future Palestinian state
- The fact that at the entrance to Arab towns in the West Bank are signs warning Jews and Israelis not to enter as their lives would be in danger
The assertion that Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria are preventing the establishment of a Palestinian state smacks of Apartheid and racism. Why should Jews not be able to live among Arabs in a Palestinian state as Arabs live among Jews in Israel?
By ignoring context; by ignoring history; by ignoring the reality that is Israel; and by calling for the eradication of the only Jewish state in the world and of no other, the supporters of IAW and the BDS reaffirm for all that at the heart of their pro-Palestinianism is primal Jew hatred.
Monessa Shapiro is a retired teacher and a member of the Media Team. Monessa also writes and blogs for the Times of Israel.