Wednesday, July 18th | 6 Av 5778

March 6, 2011 6:29 pm

Israel an Apartheid State? I laugh!

avatar by Josh Hasten

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Old City of Jerusalem. Photo: Hoy Asmeg.

I always find it hard to control my laugher this time of year. It’s the Hebrew month of Adar, in which Jews are always a little more jovial commemorating the Holiday of Purim, or “lots”,  as we remember the failed plot of the evil Haman the Agagite to annihilate the Jews of Persia in the 6th Century BCE.  Yes, not only is the day of Purim itself celebrated with feasting, rejoicing, and drinking wine in excess, but in Israel the whole month is marked with a sense of cheer.  Children usually dress in costumes, there are plenty of festive parties and gatherings, and the mood in the country is exceptionally high.

However, the reason I’m laughing these days is not because it’s Purim season, but because the enemies of Israel and the Jewish people around the world are hosting, as they have for the past seven years, something called “Israel Apartheid Week.”  This international phenomenon consists of a series of events held in cities and campuses across the globe. The aim of International apartheid Week, according to the group’s website, 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.”

So while in reality, this is no laughing matter, I can’t help but to ridicule the absurdity of the claims that Israel is an Apartheid State on par with White South Africa.  Anyone who has been to Israel, and I’m sure the majority of the group’s organizers have not, would come to realize in a very short time how utterly preposterous those claims are.

Let’s start by using the capital city of Jerusalem as the ultimate proof of this fallacy.  I take my wife to the mall and Arabs are shopping in the same stores as Jews. I take my kids to the zoo and Arabs are there with their families as well. The movies – it’s the same story. Restaurants, cafes, gas stations, public restrooms more and more Arabs are sighted. Wow! I’m amazed! There are Arabs everywhere I go. In all of Jerusalem’s hospitals Jewish and Arab doctors and nurses work side by side treating – you guessed it, Arab patients!! Not only Arabs from the area, but from all over Israel including Judea and Samaria (the so-called “West Bank”).  In fact, even during Israel’s military Operation in Gaza a few years back, Arabs who needed special treatment were given care in Israeli medical clinics near the border. True Hamas did everything in their power to prevent their fellow Arabs from accepting treatment, but “Apartheid” Israel was still on hand to treat our ENEMIES and their families nonetheless.

The most transparent example of why this myth is bogus can be found in the halls of government and military.  There are currently 14 Arab (and Druze) members of Israel’s Knesset or Parliament elected to represent their own constituency in all parts of the country.  Within the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Beduin Arabs play a key role, often serving as trackers as part of the Desert Reconnaissance Brigade usually in Southern regions of the country.

Does this sound like Apartheid to you?

It doesn’t to me, hence the sarcastic laughter.  In reality the “Apartheid Week BDS” group is an organization of anti-Zionists whose goal is to first delegitimize and ultimately destroy the State of Israel.  There is nothing noble, sincere, or factual in their critiques or actions when it comes to the events surrounding what should be really dubbed “Israel Pogrom Week,” where Israel bashers and haters come to spew their Anti-Semitic rhetoric while they are disguised as pro-Arab left-wing humanitarians.

Why don’t the Apartheid folks ask the Arab living in Israel if they would rather be living in Israel (with civil rights, healthcare and education benefits, insurance – and I could go on and on), or in Libya, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, or any other country whose name I’m sure will not be mentioned this week by these phony saints.  The answers they receive might be surprising to them, but not to me.

See this link for more. You too will laugh!!

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  • An Breatain Bheag


    I accept that part of the motivation in building the dividing wall comes from an understandable fear of attacks. But the systemised oppression of the Palestinian people goes far, far beyond anything that could possibly be justified on the basis of security. Taken together these measures amount to Apartheid, as Bishop Tutu has made clear, above.

    For instance, Palestinians living on the West Bank, under Israeli rule, have no right to live where they want, to travel unimpeded, no right to vote in Israeli elections, or even to seek recourse under civil law. Yet they live in communities side by side with Israeli settlers who enjoy ALL of these rights, simply on the basis of their religion and ethnic background. That is, because they are Jewish.

    This blatant discrimination between Jews and non-Jews has nothing to do with security, as you well know. It derives from the Zionist aim is to create a state specifically for Jews – just as some right-wing extremists in post Apartheid South Africa have campaigned for a specific state for whites. As the Zionist project started in the early 20th century at a time when non-Jews made up the overwhelming majority of the population in what is now Israel, there was never any chance that this could be achieved without violence and discrimination. What we see now in the West Bank and Gaza is simply the working through of this logic.

    The solution to the problem of Apartheid in South Africa was first, international condemnation of the policy, and ultimately, the introduction of civil rights for all and real democracy, one person one vote. So in Israel and the Occupied Territories, the solution is first, international condemnation of Israeli Apartheid policies, and ultimately, the granting of civil rights for everyone living in Israeli and the Occupied Territories, and real democracy.

  • An Breatain Bheag

    You’re quite right on one thing, Jen, it is a no-brainer that “apartheid barriers against the Arabs be done away with”. As Biship Tutu has said, Israel will “never get true security and safety through oppressing another people”.

    You don’t know very much about history, do you? Nelson Mandela was impisoned in Robin Island for 20 years for…terrorism. The ANC never renounced the use of violence against the Apartheid regime. The way to get out of the cycle of violence, as De Klerk recognised, is to remove the causes of the injustice. Responding as Israel has done with totally disproportionate violence can only make things worse. Can you be surprised that the people of Gaza hate Israel and the Israelis when they see well over 1000 of their own people killed, most of them civilians and many of them children, by indistriminate attacks by the IDF?

    One question for you, and then one observation.

    Israel says its attacks on Gaza are purely in response to rocket attacks from Gaza. Hamas says its rocket attacks on Israel are purely in response to Israeli attacks on Gaza, plus the seige imposed on Gaza. Israeli attacks on Gaza have killed, roughly 100 times more people that rocket attacks on Israel. Can Israel claim, for a minute, to have a superior moral position to Hamas?

    (My attitude, for the record is that I condemn violence against civilians committed by either side, including that by both recent Israeli Governments.)

    Now the observation. You really should get your story staight with Josh Hasten if you are trying to support what he wrote. He’s doing his best to try to deny that Israel is an Apartheid state. By talking about “the Apartheid barriers against the Arabs”, you’re admitting Israel is an Apartheid state, but you’re trying to justify it!

    • Jen

      An Breatain Bheag, I see you missed my point in pointing out the difference between Apartheid in South Africa, which was based on racial discrimination, and legitimate security concerns Israelis have over Fatah, the Palestinian Authority, and Hamas. If you read the news, check out the story on the massacre of the Fogel family in Itamar on Friday evening. Maybe that will help you understand the difference between acts of terror on the side of some Palestinians which Israelis are trying to deal with by putting up security barriers versus the social and physical barriers which were erected in South Africa against black people based only on the color of their skin. I don’t know if security fences are the best answer, but they are certainly not comparable to the segregation that occurred in South Africa, which was based on the color of one’s skin. Racism and responding to terrorism are two different things. I hope you can see that.

  • Aaron

    I grew up in Apartheid South Africa and what Israel is doing the Palestinians is even worse than what happened to us.

    Yes, we went to the same shopping malls and movie theaters even during Apartheid. We were prevented from living in certain areas just like Israel. We were treated like second class citizens just like Israel.

    South Africa didn’t care that I was Jewish. I was BLACK and a Jew and that’s what counted just like being a Pali = BLACK in Israel.

    Funnily enough, White Jews in South Africa were the ones profiting from Apartheid.

  • Andy G

    Great article Mr. Hasten. Agree 100%. You also failed to mention that Palestinians are playing tackle football in the ISRAEL Football League. That’s right American football in Israel is being played by Palestinians. These players are recognized by Israel Sports Radio as any player would be. I am sure Israeli’s would be allowed to participate in sports in Judea and Samaria if they chose.

    The world if full of hypocrites and the UN leads the way. How the comparison to S.A. is even possible shows such shortsightedness. In addition Desmond Tutu should be ashamed of himself to compare the two countries. Israel is a country that has proven over the years to help the entire world when needed during a crisis. Israeli technology has empowered the world and lastly Israeli Pride will continue for those truly educated on the topic.

    A previous post quoted Ha’aretz and Israel being one of the most hated countries in the world. First of all consider the source. A BBC survey in a left wing newspaper. Lastly, The headline failed to mention that the hatred had actually dropped over the year. Please remember…Anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism

    • Greg

      Are you suggesting that had the same questions been asked in the same 27 countries by a different newspaper the results would be different? The survey was not about hatred but instead about which countries have a positive or negative influence on the world. Although the headline did not mention it, the article does state the positive view of Israel increased 2% since 2007. What is most telling however is that the negative view of Israel in the U.S. increased by 10% over that same period. As I stated in an earlier post your views are clearly in the minority. Your insistence that your right and the rest of the world are Anti-Semitic has never been a compelling argument.

  • Jen

    Yeah, apartheid in South Africa is a perfect comparison to how the Israeli’s are treating the Arabs because the black population in South Africa was also continually launching rockets indiscriminately on civilian populations from schools where children were present. The black people were well known for teaching their children to hate the white people and one of the most glorious things they taught there children to do was to strap bombs to themselves and blow themselves up, taking as many white people with them. The black people’s mantra was that the white people’s land should be wiped off the face of the earth and all the white people should be pushed into the sea. Just as it was a no-brainer that these peace-loving black people deserved the racist barriers of apartheid erected against them to be toppled, so it is a no-brainer in Israel that the apartheid barriers against the Arabs be done away with…………..and I am totally sharing in Josh’s sarcasm.

  • An Breatain Bheag

    If you want an informed view of the similarities between the situation in Israel and the Occupied Territories and Apartheid South Africa, you should go to someone who knows something about Apartheid, like Bishop Desmond Tutu.

    The Nobel peace laureate has said he was “very deeply distressed” by a visit to the Holy Land, adding that “it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa”.

    In a speech in the United States, carried in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, Archbishop Tutu said he saw “the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about”.

    More here:

  • Rocky Brody

    Awesome article. Said so perfectly. Thanks for all your efforts to get the truth out there into the world. You’re doing a great job – keep up the good work!

  • Tova

    John Dugard’s UN “job’deliberately excludes Palestinian human rights abuses..
    “I have a limited mandate, which is to investigate human rights violations by Israelis, not by Palestinians.” There is no perennial criticism at the UN of the human rights record of any other state, or terror organization for that matter. Just Israel.
    Worse than being laughable, by espousing Apartheid myths, and demonizing Israel, the world is ignoring genuine misery in Arab lands caused by their own leaders. This diversion has helped contemptible Arab dictatorships to continue persecuting their own people . Haven’t any of those Apartheid party goers, learnt ANYTHING from the demonstrations across the ME?

  • Akiva

    Josh, all I can say if this is the intelligence level of your detractors you have a lot of work ahead of you. I see you are doing it right though, so keep it up. I only hope for the day that the same hole that these people created to be open minded and let their brains fall out, will be used to let a little intelligence in.

  • Greg

    You know who has been to Israel and the occupied territories? United Nations Special Rapporteur for Palestine John Dugard. He stated in 2007 that “elements of the Israeli occupation constitute forms of colonialism and of apartheid, which are contrary to international law” and suggested that the “legal consequences of a prolonged occupation with features of colonialism and apartheid” be put to the International Court of Justice. Richard Falk, John Dugard’s successor has also been to Israel and the occupied territories. As UN Special Rapporteur for Palestine listed these points as indicators of apartheid in a 2010 report to the UN:
    -Preferential citizenship, visitation and residence laws and practices that prevent Palestinians who reside in the West Bank or Gaza from reclaiming their property or from acquiring Israeli citizenship, as contrasted to a Jewish right of return that entitles Jews anywhere in the world with no prior tie to Israel to visit, reside and become Israeli citizens;
    -Differential laws in the West Bank and East Jerusalem favouring Jewish settlers who are subject to Israeli civilian law and constitutional protection, as opposed to Palestinian residents, who are governed by military administration;
    -Dual and discriminatory arrangements for movement in the West Bank and to and from Jerusalem;
    -Discriminatory policies on land ownership, tenure and use;
    -Extensive burdening of Palestinian movement, including checkpoints applying differential limitations on Palestinians and on Israeli settlers, and onerous permit and identification requirements imposed only on Palestinians;
    -Punitive house demolitions, expulsions and restrictions on entry and exit from all three parts of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
    Mr. Falk concludes that this “general structure of apartheid that exists in the Occupied Palestinian Territories makes the allegation increasingly credible despite the differences between the specific characteristics of South African apartheid and that of the Occupied Palestinian Territories regime”.

    Wow! That contradicts everything you just wrote. Still laughing?

    • Rashi Rosenzweig

      Sure! I’m still laughing. The UN is one of the most racist, biased bodies in the world today. I’m not surprised by that man’s “observations”. I live in Israel and what Josh Hasten wrote is 100% true.

      Most people, like yourself, don’t even know what apartheid is or even better, don’t even know what democracy or Israel is. You’re influenced by the biased leftist media and it shows.

      You want to see apartheid?? Go to Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt..heck go to the Arab / Muslim world. You’ll see plenty of apartheid.

      Until you actually know WTF you’re talking about. Kindly keep your trap shut.

      And yes…people like Josh and I are celebrating Purim and laughing very loud!!

      • Ayyub

        First of all, I think it needs to mentioned that the Israel/Gaza debate is incredibly emotionally fuelled. Additionally the overall situation is too complex to discover an objective truth in this debate.

        However you are right – Israel is far from being as bad as Saudi Arabia or Lybia in terms of equal right. But as a Western Democracy different standards apply to Israel, compared to these Islamic States.

        Because if you apply these standards you will see that Israel is behind the EU-countries in terms of equal rights etc.

        Furthermore it is not only Muslims that are discriminated against, but also the Falasha-Jews as well as Yemeni-Jews. And there are many reports on that matter.

        Best Regards

    • rebleib

      Um surely you are referring to the same UN that has Libiya (China, Cuba etc. as well) on their “Human Rights” Council.

    • Chaim F

      Richard Falk is a notoriously controversial and biased individual. For this reason the UN chose him to be its “observer.” You are a victim of the “big lie.” Words have the power to transfix and disguise and they’ve done so to you. True, there are serious problems that Arabs face but most of these are of their own making.

    • rebleib

      How does something someone wrote or believes contradict reality? I briefly lived in a city called Arad. The joke is that the city’s name is an acronym for Arabs Russians And Datiim (orthodox Jews), because everyone living there falls into one of those three categories. Every store in the mall is full of Arab shoppers. Every pizzeria full with Arab diners. The difference between these Arabs and most West Bank and Gaza Arabs, is that for the most part they live peaceful and lawful lives and are not a security threat to Israel. Dumbing down and simplifying this issue as you attempt to do, is insane and unhelpful. We can debate from today until tomorrow about the virtues of Israel’s defense policies, but as your comment proves reality is not as important to you as some “experts” analysis or opinion. Lastly, your accusations only point to Israel being racist (which, as I said is a debate for later), but certainly not apartheid!

      • Greg

        The intellectually challenged president of Iran has often denied the holocaust. Asinine words from an insignificant little man. There is however a small percentage of the world population that unfortunately share his belief. Luckily there is overwhelming consensus from the international community that this horrific event took place. Now before any of you go blind with rage at my mentioning of the holocaust I assure you I am in now way attempting to find comparison with the Israeli /Palestinian conflict, but rather to show correlation in international consensus. On Feb. 18th a draft resolution to have Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories declared illegal was put to the UN. The resolution was sponsored by over 130 nations, 14 of the 15 serving members including all but one of the permanent members voted to ratify the resolution. Only a veto from the U.S. forced it to fail. On March 7th HAARETZ published an article with a headline that read “Israel grouped with Iran, North Korea as worlds least popular countries”. You can continue to deny Israel as an apartheid state. In fact you can continue to laugh about it and call it whatever you like. Luckily there is overwhelming consensus from the international community that what Israel is doing is wrong. A Palestinian state is coming sooner than later. What should be of greater concern for the Jewish community than labelling everyone who disagrees with Israeli policy as an anti-Semitic Jew basher that doesn’t know WTF he’s talking about. Is whether a mutually agreed upon negotiated Palestinian state would be better for Israel than an internationally mandated and enforced state that may not take Israel’s unique security needs into account. I don’t agree with the treatment of the Palestinians and admittedly took offence to Mr. Hastens assertion that any part of this situation be laughable. But as an avid supporter of the state of Israel and an admirer of your faith I see the continued isolation of Israel as an unfortunate but avoidable consequence of some of your policies. Now, political debate aside. Make some noise “Haman” and enjoy your celebration of Purim.

        • rebleib

          Thank you for your Purim wishes! I would like to point out however, that you hit the nail on the head when you said, “there is an overwhelming consensus from the world that was Israel is doing is wrong”. This is the true debate. There is no reason to say that Israel is an apartheid though. In regards to your concern about the worlds view of Israel, I am not troubled at all. The reality is that Israel is in the predicament they are in now precisely because of the rest of the world. Despite decisive military victories in both the ’67 and ’73 wars, Israel was pressured by the UN into a cease fire. Had Israel pushed further in those wars, causing the Arab nations to surrender, there would be no debate about the legality of the settlements, and many more Arabs would have full Israeli citizenship. In truth though I agree that this is far from a laughing matter, which is why ignoring the security threat that many (!) Palestinians pose toward Israel, and automatically calling for Israel to ease its’ security restrictions on Gaza and the West Bank is offensive.

          • rebleib

            Let me add as well, that no intellectually honest person can deny that “the rest of the worlds” moral clarity has significantly lessened in the past several years. Once the world stopped calling evil evil, there has become a place for sane people to mistakingly excuse evil behavior. You yourself refer to Ahmadinijad as,”intellectually challenged”. But he is far from that, he is pure evil!


    Very nice of jews to allow Palestinian they blow up be treated in Israeli Hospitals. Very nice of Israel to evict Palestinians from homes they have lived in for 1000 years.Very nice of Israel to forbid Arabs that leave to Israel, west bank and Gaza to be forbidden from coming back to their own home. Very nice of israel to slowly starve Gaza so the world wont notice. very nice of israel to forbid Palestinains from owning and homes, business. Very nice of Israel to make arab babies shotting targets. very nice of Israel where Jews can shoot any muslim on site and be honored by Netanyahu. The Palestinains need to give the Jews the same treatment the Jews give the palestinains

    • Toby Davis

      Very nice how you use NAZI propoganda and falsehoods. What a pity you have swallowed such hallucinatory narrative.Don’t you realize that demonizing Israel, caused the world to ignore REAL PALESTINIAN SUFFERING in Arab lands? The world media, pay little attention to the conditions of the Palestinians living in Arab countries, despite extreme oppression for decades.. This game has served some of the most notorious Arab dictatorships.Blaming Israel for everything has lead to myths about their situation in Israel & provides an excuse to ignore &compromise human rights of Palestiniana in Arab Lands and by their own leaders. YOU are causing Palestinian suffering by espousing the nonsense you wrote..

      • Conor Ryan

        He may have gone over the top, but how exactly does what he said make him a nazi? You dishonour those that really perished to their evil by using it the term as a stock insult to those you disagree with.

        Israel can not take the higher moral ground as long as illegal settlements continue to be built and tolerated, just the same as HAMAS cannot take the higher moral ground as long as it continues to kill civilians. Both sides need to be willing to meet each other half way if there is to be a chance of peace and mutual prosperity.

        • Sagi Chekroun

          Do your homework… it’s not about peace. Look at the charter of these terrorist groups and countries, they just want to kill and exterminate… don’t be fooled by their lies. They use the land of Israel as a front to justify their plan of mass-murder, do the right homework and you’ll see…