I sometimes wish words could be taxed. Maybe then people would think twice before using them so viciously and light-headedly. Unfortunately, in a world where anyone can say or write anything, anywhere, without being held accountable, words become a dangerous tool.
Calling Israel an “Apartheid Nation”, and by that labeling us Israelis as bigots and racists, is a cheap shot. The ones calling us that are the same people who are conducting a de-facto apartheid policy on the basis of political views, gender, race and religion, in their own, respective, Middle-Eastern countries. When you repeat such vicious and unfounded accusation too many times, people start believing it.
In recent years, the Muslim student association in and around US campuses hold an annual “Israel Apartheid Week”. It is aimed at portraying Israel as an Apartheid nation, a mass murderer of innocent civilians, a ruthless occupier of the Palestinian People and a country which does not have a right to exist. Those groups are funded and motivated by the extremist Muslim Brothers. They are allowed to hold their protest in the name of the freedoms they are deprived of in their respective countries of origin (watch the Horowitz Freedom center presentation on the matter: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_vGjv29QdA&feature=player_embedded).
South African Apartheid (1948 – 1994) was based on a political and judicial systems promoting legally sanctioned racial segregation. The regime sponsored the political, economical and social interests of the minority whites who ruled over the colored majority in the country by means of discriminatory laws. Those were enforced by repressive violent methods.
Colored people in apartheid South Africa were deprived of citizenship status and basic human rights. The government segregated the basic rights for education, medical care, transportation, social services etc., providing inferior services, if at all, to the colored majority. What was known as “Petty Apartheid” – acts of legislation and governmental decisions designed to insure the survival of the regime – prohibited mixed marriages between colored and white people, prohibited inter-race intercourse, deprived colored people from running their own businesses in professions reserved only for whites, and limited their economic activity to “colored-only” territories, set up by the regime in order to physically separate the whites from the colored. It also prohibited colored workers from forming their own trade unions, segregated public transportation and public health and public ambulance services, deprived colored people from having passports, etc.
No colored people in Apartheid South Africa could run for office or serve in the country’s parliament or work for the government or practice law (let alone reside as a judge in one of the country’s judicial instances), or work as a physician at a white-only hospital or teach white children, represent the country in international sports events, and again the list goes on. In Israel, all of that is legally open to all people.
Israel is not an Apartheid nation! It never was and it never will be!
Israelis are not racists! They never were and they never will be!
In Israel, all people are legally equal, regardless of race, religious persuasion, political affiliation, gender, color of skin, place of origin, cultural traditions, socio-economic circumstances, etc. People living in Israel are free to conduct their lives as they wish, free to run for office, free to practice law, free to serve in the Knesset or work in the public sector. Everyone is free to buy their own land, free to build their own house, free to marry whomever they love, free to play for in the national sports teams, free to serve as judges in Israel’s various judicial instances, free to run their own business – as long as they are law-abiding citizens who do not jeopardize the lives, the happiness and the freedoms of their fellow Israelis (watch the Maoz-Israel presentation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eupkfyd1ulc&NR=1).
Israel is not a ruthless occupier! It never was and it never will be!
Israelis are not insensitive to the suffering of others! They never were and they never will be!
Israel has been a very active player in the international aid scene for many years. It has a long tradition of extending humanitarian aid in many forms and shapes – alleviating hunger, battling disease, helping the poor and the needy and rushing to the aid of other human beings all around the world in times of natural disasters or in light of terrorist attacks.
The same goes for Israel’s attitude toward the Palestinian people. Israel extends ongoing medical assistance to sick Palestinians from the Gaza Strip who wishes to be treated in Israeli hospitals. Israel supplies the Palestinians school materials, gas for domestic use, supplies, medicine, etc., on a regular basis. Despite never-ending attacks by Hamas, Israel maintains an ongoing humanitarian corridor for the transfer of perishable and staple food items to Gaza. The UN relief agencies and the Red Cross are free to use this conduit for the benefit of the Palestinian people.
Israel is a democratic country, extending rights and freedoms to all its citizens; so calling it an apartheid nation is mean and unjust. Israel does not occupy the Gaza Strip or the territories governed by the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria, so accusing it of implementing an Apartheid policy in these territories is false and deceiving.
So, don’t leave out this important information when coming to form an opinion about us Israelis.