Sunday, February 27, 2011

Is Israel an Apartheid State?

Is Israel an Apartheid State?
©2011 David Talbot

Organizers across the globe are gearing up for the 7th annual “Week of actions in support of Palestinian Civil Society's call for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).” This media feeding frenzy against Israel is based on Palestinian claims that Israel is an Apartheid State. Last year 55 cities around the world participated.

What exactly is an Apartheid State, and does Israel meet the definition?

The word “Apartheid” comes from Afrikaans meaning: To keep apart. It was the system of Political, Economic, and Social segregation introduced in South Africa in 1948 to completely segregate black people from virtually all white society.

Under Apartheid in South Africa, black could not live in white areas; go to white schools and universities; work in certain jobs that were reserved for whites; or, use the same amenities such as parks, beaches, or public transit. They (black people) could not marry white people or have physical relations with them. Black people could not be appointed to the countries civil or legal institutions, stand for political office, and, most importantly, were denied the right to vote. Apartheid finally ended in 1994 after much international pressure.

Some critics, including former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, have accused Israel of being an Apartheid State. And, for 7 years, the Palestinian Authority, along with Israel’s critics, have been holding events in March designed to pressure the United Nations and other world organizations to declare Israel guilty of Human Rights violations akin to South Africa in 1948.

Is the accusation true?

In Israel, are housing areas segregated by race, religion, or national origin? No, it is prohibited by law.

In Israel, are public schools and universities segregated by race, religion, or national origin? No. Of course there are certain, private, Islamic, Christian, and Jewish religious schools in Israel.

In Israel, are certain jobs reserved by race, religion, or national origin. No. Even the IDF has Muslims, Christians, and Jewish soldiers and officers.

In Israel, are parks, beaches, or public transit segregated by race, religion, or national origin? No. There are, however, segregated beaches for men and women on specific days for purposes of modesty.

In Israel, are there any restrictions based on race, religion, or national origin for holding public office, appointment to commissions or boards, or participate in legal institutions? No. There are Muslims, Christians, and Jews at all levels of government in Israel.

Most importantly, is any Israeli citizen denied the right to vote because of race, religion, or national origin? Absolutely not.

What is the National Language of Israel? It’s a trick question because there are two: Hebrew and Arabic.

What do you call an Arab that stayed in Israel in 1948, when Israel was granted statehood by the United Nations? They are called Israelis.

What do you call Arabs that fled Israel in 1948 to live in Jordan, Syria, Egypt, & Lebanon? They are called refugees by the host countries and have no rights or citizenship in those countries, often living in disgusting refugee camps.

Israel is not an Apartheid State. It's a democratic, vibrant, participatory democracy. The only one in the Middle East.

Anyway, that’s my opinion, What’s yours?


David Talbot

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