Apartheid Is Awful, But Who Is the Real Racist?
Published in the Huffington Post
By Lilac Sigan
Here’s an interesting question for you: if someone who’s known for their very violent temper declared they hate you and would rather see you dead, would you let them into your house?
Now let me ask you another question: if as a result of your decision not to let them in, your neighbors would say your behavior is racist, would you still value your life and safety over your image in the neighborhood? Not an easy choice, but I’m guessing choosing life and surviving the bad image is what you’d do.
I’m asking because of the slander festival against Israel that just ended these days. It’s called Israeli Apartheid Week, and it’s being held in 109 university campuses in cities all around the world, for the 8th year in a row. It calls for boycott and sanctions on Israel claiming it is a racial state because it discriminates Palestinians.
After spending quite some time in the official website of this noble organization, I must confess — it I hadn’t known the truth, I too would have been convinced — the site is packed with information and facts. The only problem is that these facts are partial, and therefore paint a partial picture that brings to false accusations.
Let’s talk about the word apartheid for a minute: it means racial segregation. Specifically, it refers to a former political and economic discrimination against black people in South Africa.
The website will tell you that apartheid is a crime against humanity. It is. But is Israel really guilty of it? The allegations against Israel’s policy towards Palestinians chooses to overlook one very simple fact. I searched the whole site, and strange how with all the research and professionalism, it neglects to mention that the Palestinian leaders have always wanted Israel to cease to exist, and still do today. The extreme ones, such as Hamas in Gaza, have no problem saying it right out. The moderate ones, such as PLO, are more modest about this fact.
Is it a crime against humanity to protect yourself from a declared enemy? And if we’re already on the subject — do the people who run this organization think using children as human shields is a crime against humanity? Or perhaps teaching toddlers to become shaheeds and blow themselves up in public places? They don’t seem to be bothered by these everyday actions of Hamas.
The crazy thing is that real racist laws that do exist and awfully discriminate women, homosexuals, Palestinians and of course Jews, in Arab countries such as Jordan or Syria, are completely overlooked. These discriminating autocratic countries who truly go by apartheid laws are never mentioned. Why? Because that description is ironically saved for Israel, the only democracy in the middle east, which has equal rights and equal laws for all genders, religions and races, and has appointed Arab parliament members and judges in the supreme court.
So can security measures be considered racism? I guess when people want to hate and blame, they don’t really need logic and can always find “facts” that will defend their state of mind. Abbas, for instance, is considered a moderate Palestinian leader, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deny the holocaust ever happened, or refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.
If you think Israel must evacuate the settlements and let the Palestinians build their own state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, I will agree. That’s exactly what PM Ehud Olmert offered Abbas 3 years ago, but Abbas refused. This was only one of quite a few refusals of Palestinian leaders to Israeli peace offers made in the past 20 years.
I too think the suffering of the Palestinian people should stop. I truly wish they had their own state. But it’s their leaders are a bit more particular about the conditions under which such a thing would actually happen. Israel does not still occupy some of these territories for imperialistic reasons — it would give them away for peace and safe borders. You cannot blame a country for wanting to keep its borders safe from those who define themselves as enemies and continuously practice terror against it.
Has anyone in the world ever been called “racist” because it protected itself against an enemy? I guess that privilege is saved for the Israeli Jews. And does anyone bother Palestinian leaders with the very basic question — why they don’t recognize Israel’s right to exist? Not very often, if ever. Maybe it’s because everyone is so busy with promoting the Israeli Apartheid Week. And if that’s not racism, then I seriously don’t know what is.