Israel is not apartheid state
Marcus My Words
All across the nation, anti-Israel activists are involved in what has become known as “Israeli Apartheid Week.” One thing is certain — if you are looking for apartheid, you won’t find it in Israel. Anti-Israel activists call this an apartheid week to instill shock value on a group of people they believe know little about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. By associating apartheid with Israel, they hope students will blindly join their cause. But they cannot bill a week dedicated to anti-Israel sentiment as “Hate Israel Week” because that obviously carries negative connotations. But rest assured, this week is nothing more than the anti-Israel movement’s attempt to draw up hatred against the world’s lone Jewish State.
To call Israel an apartheid state is not only inaccurate, but also highly offensive toward people that have actually faced apartheid. This is a common theme in the anti-Israel movement’s repertoire, use of an appalling historical event for their own personal gain despite no correlation.
Just last year BAKA: Students United for Middle Eastern Justice, brought an event to campus that I believe compared Israeli acts of self-defense to the calculated murder of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust. They tirelessly attempt to delegitimize Israel, fictitiously comparing it to atrocious regimes of the past only to be blinded by their movement’s hypocritical track record.
Anti-Israel activists call for a week dedicated to hating a true democracy in Israel, but they appear silent as the Syrian government ruthlessly murders thousands of their own citizens. They call for the release of probable Islamic Jihad leader Khader Adnan from an Israeli prison, but are silent as Youcef Nadarkhani awaits execution in an Iranian prison for the crime of converting to Christianity from Islam. These are the true colors of the anti-Israel movement — they do not care about Palestinians or human rights, only merely hating Israel.
Israel represents a melting pot of nationalities, cultures and religions. Muslims, Jews and Christians all fight in the army, vote in elections and are represented in Knesset. Arabs, Jews and Christians all live among one another, sharing public transportation, public parks, shopping malls and schools. That is not apartheid. This is what democracy looks like.
In Apartheid South Africa, the government defined four different races and banned beaches, restrooms, voting and transportation from non-whites. To compare that in any way to Israel is a disgrace to the people of South Africa and all those under real oppression today. After Israeli independence in 1948, Jews and non-Jews alike who remained in Israeli territory were naturalized and made citizens with full rights. In addition, Israel absorbed almost 1 million Jewish refugees expelled from Arab countries, while the Arab states created what seem like anti-Palestinian laws to segregate the Palestinians who fled Israel from the rest of society.
While apartheid doesn’t exist in Israel, don’t assume that there aren’t places and leaders in the world pursuing policies similar to South African Apartheid. For instance, it is Palestinian law that selling land to a Jew is a capital offense that could result in a “legal” death sentence. Mahmoud Abbas, the moderate president of the Palestinian Authority, has publicly stated that any future Palestinian state will be Jew-free, effectively becoming the first state since Nazi Germany to officially deny Jews entrance based on their religion. In addition, hundreds of PA-controlled Jewish holy sites are off-limits to Jews and routinely face desecration. Even at Judaism’s holiest site, the Temple Mount, there are discriminatory policies against Jews. Controlled by the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, it is forbidden for Jews to pray where the holy Jewish temple once stood.
In the Palestinian territories, if PA or Hamas officials even believe that a Palestinian has an “improper” relationship with an Israeli, they are seen as collaborators and put to death. These apartheid-like policies are perpetuated by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement in its attempt boycott and ban everything Israeli, no matter how distant the things they are boycotting are from Israeli government policy. Seeking to discriminate against companies, artists and technology solely because it is Israeli is real racism. If anti-Israel enthusiasts in the Palestinian territories and around the world are looking to end “apartheid” in the Middle East, they should stop actively pursuing it against the Jewish people and Israel.
Aaron Marcus is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in political science with a minor in history. His column, “Marcus My Words,” runs on alternate Tuesdays.