In case you're out of the loop, last Monday, March 1, 2010, marked the beginning of the 'Sixth Annual Israeli Apartheid Week'. It runs from March 1 — March 14, 2010. (I know, that's two weeks but I'm just reporting what it says.) According to their Web site, the "demands" of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Movement campaign are:
- ending Israel's 'occupation and colonization' of all Arab lands and dismantling 'the Wall';
- recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian [sic] citizens of Israel to full equality; and
- respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.
It's amazing how people's hatred of Israel blinds them from seeing the actual truth. Many times they just pass on information they have heard or read from someone else without even checking to see if it is true. The basic assumption seems to be, "if it's something bad about Israel, it must be right," whether it's true or not. An excellent example of this is the blood libel that's spread around each year at this time. It states that the Jews murder [insert your favorite anti-Semitic nation here] children and use their blood to make matzos for Passover. Now if someone would just take a few minutes to either read the Torah or check online (google Jews "eating blood"), they would see that Jews are forbidden to eat or drink blood (to say nothing of murdering children). It's like the instructions from Wikipedia, on their page regarding verifiability: "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth." (An excellent reason for not using Wikipedia as a source in written materials, by the way.) So, if someone can verify that the comment was made on another Web site which "someone" considers to be a "reliable source," then it must be true, no matter what the actual facts are. The same thing applies when accusing Israel of apartheid.
No matter how you want to spin it, the definition of apartheid is racial segregation, nothing more. And in the case of Israel, nothing could be further from the truth. Unlike South Africa, Arabs are not segregated from the population in any manner. In fact, in many cases Israel goes to extreme lengths — sometimes to its own detriment — to appease the Arabs. Take the Temple Mount for example. Israel allows the Arabs to control the Mount, giving them complete access to everything there. But the Arabs do not allow Jews or Christians to pray there. There are certain areas where the Arabs do not even allow the Israeli government itself to go. In fact, Israel allows the Arabs complete access to all the holy places in the Land yet the Arabs do not afford the Jews the same courtesy. Israel is constantly destroying "illegally" built Jews homes but it does not do the same for illegal Arab construction. Israel permits Jews to sell property to Arabs; the Arabs do not allow property sales to Jews, and will sentence to death those who do so. Israel permits Arabs and Jews to intermarry. Arabs have equal voting rights; several Arabs even now sit in Israel's Knesset. Arabs are allowed to attend the same public schools as Jews, in the same classrooms; Arabs are also allowed to attend any university in Israel. Arabs are afforded the same medical care as Jews and the hospitals are not segregated. Arabs are allowed to work in any type of employment in the State of Israel. In terms of apartheid, if Israel were guilty of it, it would be on the side of the Arabs not the Jews.
There is one other topic that is brought up by these accusers: the "apartheid wall/fence". Quoting from an excellent article by former South African Jock Falkson:
[This is] the most often repeated and deliberate misuse of the apartheid calumny. South African apartheid never needed security walls, fences or barriers. For the simple reason that the whites never faced anything like Palestinian/Jihadi/suicide terrorism! Did you know that? The Arabs deceitfully imply that the wall covers the full length of Israel's anti-terrorist barrier. The unpalatable fact is that it does not. The barrier is less than 5 per cent wall. [The] wall is mainly erected to prevent terrorist sharp shooters [from] killing Israelis living opposite built-up Arab areas.
Let's look at the "demands" of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Movement campaign and see how they fit into this accusation of apartheid. First of all, Israel does not "occupy" any Arab or 'Palestinian' land. After the declaration of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 (II), the Arabs refused the land, choosing instead to fight Israel for control of all of the territory of Palestine. In addition, the resolution was a recommendation. As with all UN General Assembly resolutions, it was not enforceable. Even the Syrian representative in the General Assembly clearly stated:
"In the first place the recommendations of the General Assembly are not imperative on those to whom they are addressed.... The General Assembly only gives advice and the parties to whom advice is addressed accept it when it is rightful and just and when it does not impair their fundamental rights."
In the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel took back the land from Jordan, not the fictional "Palestinians". Jordan was occupying it illegally after the 1948 War of Independence and the UN declarations.
Besides, the Arabs claim the land belongs to the fictional "Palestinians", so how can Israel possibly occupy land that belongs to a people who do not exist? And up until 1948, according to the Arabs, the Jews were the "Palestinians".
As previously stated, the Arabs already have full equality in Israel, and even more in some cases. That's why a large number of Arab citizens don't want to live under Palestinian Authority (PA/PLO) rule. In fact, Israel was even nice enough to give their most holy place — the Temple Mount — to the Arabs who now refuse to allow Jews to pray there. It's the Arab rulers who oppress the Arab citizens in order to create a picture of an oppressive Jewish regime. The actions taken by Israel are for the protection of all of its citizens — Arab and Jew alike (and others) — to protect them from terrorist attacks perpetrated by the same Arabs who falsely accuse Israel of apartheid. It's the Arabs who are allowed to illegally build homes in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria without any building permits, which Jews must sometimes wait years to obtain. It's the Arab rulers who confiscate Israeli aid to Gaza, as well as that from UNRWA, withholding it from the people so as to falsely declare that they are starving because of the Israeli "occupation".
And, finally, as to the matter of the rights of return for the Arab "refugees". First of all, there is no such thing as Arab "refugees". According to Professor Nitza Nachmias of Haifa University:
[T]he word "refugee" is being applied to Arabs in order to gain international sympathy, though few realize they do not fit the common perception of what a 'refugee' is. "If people would stop calling the places in which they live 'refugee' camps,' then they would see that these places are just like villages and towns anywhere else, and the inhabitants are totally rehabilitated," said Nachmias. "Real 'refugee' camps are like the ... camps now in Haiti -- not the villages with streets and stone houses in what is known as Palestinian 'refugee' camps of today." She also noted that most of those Arabs living abroad who claim to be 'refugees' have been fully integrated into their host countries, meaning they are technically no longer 'refugees'. Nachmias also took issue with the unique rules applied to the Arabs that allow the descendants of those who may have really been 'refugees' to continue claiming 'refugee' status. "According to international law, a 'refugee' is an individual or family that was forced to run away -- but this definition does not extend to children, a community or a group. The only exception to this rule is the Palestinians, for whom the international laws are apparently different."
Secondly, there were approximately the same amount of Jewish "refugees" who had fled Arab countries as there were Arabs who fled Israel. The difference is that Israel absorbed most of them while the Arabs refused to do so. But Arab leaders, writers, and "refugees" themselves have been speaking out in recent years and candidly blaming the Arab leadership for the creation of the "refugee" problem. According to these Arab accounts the massive departure of Arabs from Israel was willful, the result of orders by the Arab leadership. This contradicts the Arab charge that the hundreds of thousands of Arabs who left in 1948 were expelled by Israel. (See "From Time Immemorial", by Joan Peters, for the truth about the "refugee" situation.)
Now, just think for a moment what would happen if Israel held an event such as this ... and in that case it would be true.