IAW is an international series of events held in cities and campuses across the globe. The aim of IAW is to educate people about the nature of Israel as an apartheid system and to build Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns as part of a growing global BDS movement.'Apartheid' along with 'genocide' are two words people love to associate with Israel, neither of which apply, in any way, shape or form.
First of all, let's take a look at the true definition of 'apartheid'- According to freedictionary.com 'apartheid' is an Afrikaans word, meaning:
1. An official policy of racial segregation formerly practiced in the Republic of South Africa, involving political, legal, and economic discrimination against nonwhites.2. A policy or practice of separating or segregating groups.3. The condition of being separated from others; segregation.
If the Arabs in Israel had no rights, were not allowed positions in the government, not allowed to attend universities, not allowed in hospitals, then perhaps Israel could be called an apartheid state, but this is far from the truth. Unlike the blacks in South Africa who were truly discriminated against, non-Jews in Israel have more rights than non-Muslims in Arab countries. In fact, if we want to get technical, most Arab countries are guilty of apartheid- are there any Jews in the Palestinian government? Saudi Arabian government? I think not.
I read a great post on Instablogs (my other blogging home) that lists all the reasons why Israel is not an apartheid state. Here are some snippets:
Apartheid IS: A deliberate government policy of social, political, economic, educational and physical separation and discrimination between the people of a single country based solely on race, such as existed in South Africa.
Apartheid IS NOT: A situation in which two people of the same race, for example two SEMITIC peoples, are at war.
Apartheid IS NOT: A situation in which one of these nations, having lost its own state in an attempt to destroy the state of the other, finds itself conquered by the nation it had tried to destroy.
Now, to believe that “Israel is an Apartheid state”, you have to believe the following:
1) That Islam and Judaism are races, not religions.
2) That the entire area of Palestine as defined by the League of Nations, including Israel, the West Bank, Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and Jordan is a single national entity.
3) That the self-declared Palestinians are legitimate citizens of the State of Israel (which, by their own admission, they are not and do not wish to be).
4) That the state of Israel, or indeed any state, does not have the right to defend and protect its citizens from belligerent actions by foreign entities.
Israel is not perfect (is there any country that is?) but there is no way you can claim it guilty of apartheid.
As further proof that Israel does not discriminate against its non-Jewish population, Ishmael Khaldi, the vice consul of Israel (based in San Francisco), just so happens to be an Arab Bedouin AND a Muslim. A proud Israeli, he wrote a scathing commentary in the San Francisco Chronicle about the fallacy of proclaiming Israel as an apartheid state and how those who continue to propagate such hateful ideology are doing more harm than good.
You are part of the problem, not part of the solution: If you are really idealistic and committed to a better world, stop with the false rhetoric. We need moderate people to come together in good faith to help find the path to relieve the human suffering on both sides of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Vilification and false labeling is a blind alley that is unjust and takes us nowhere.
You deny Israel the fundamental right of every society to defend itself: You condemn Israel for building a security barrier to protect its citizens from suicide bombers and for striking at buildings from which missiles are launched at its cities - but you never offer an alternative. Aren't you practicing yourself a deep form of racism by denying an entire society the right to defend itself?
Your criticism is willfully hypocritical: Do Israel's Arab citizens suffer from disadvantage? You better believe it. Do African Americans 10 minutes from the Berkeley campus suffer from disadvantage - you better believe it, too. So should we launch a Berkeley Apartheid Week, or should we seek real ways to better our societies and make opportunity more available.
You are betraying the moderate Muslims and Jews who are working to achieve peace: Your radicalism is undermining the forces for peace in Israel and in the Palestinian territories. We are working hard to move toward a peace agreement that recognizes the legitimate rights of both Israel and the Palestinian people, and you are tearing down by falsely vilifying one side.
So there you have it, Israel is NOT an apartheid state, but idiots never care about the truth. Too bad the ignorant happen to be the most vocal.
Hat Tip/Tundra Tabloids