JPOST Editorial: The ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ libel

It is tempting to ignore “Israel Apartheid Week,” an anti-Israel hate-fest taking place this week in Canada, England and the US. The organizers of such events, though they claim to be supporting Palestinian rights, will obviously not be satisfied unless the Jewish state ceases to exist.

But there are, no doubt, decent, caring people who may come across these events, or who bought Jimmy Carter’s best-selling book branding Israel an apartheid state, who may be taken in by such vitriol.

So let us consider: Is Israel an apartheid state?

In an op-ed last week in The Australian, Muslim author Irshad Manji answers: “Would an apartheid state award its top literary prize to an Arab? … Would an apartheid state encourage Hebrew-speaking schoolchildren to learn Arabic? Would road signs throughout the land appear in both languages? Even my country, the proudly bilingual Canada, doesn’t meet that standard.”

She continues: “Would a Hebrew newspaper in an apartheid state run an article by an Arab Israeli about why the Zionist adventure has been a total failure? Would it run that article on Israel’s Independence Day? Would an apartheid state ensure conditions for the freest Arabic press in the Middle East?”

We would only add: What other state airlifted thousands of black Africans from Ethiopia to grant them instant and full citizenship?

The absurdity of the apartheid charge is illustrated by the Arab MKs who make it. Jamal Zahalka, an MK from one of the two Arab parties represented in the Knesset, said, “Calling the occupation apartheid… is an understatement. The Israeli occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is worse than apartheid.” (see Some might find it strange that Zahalka sees the Gaza Strip as “worse than apartheid” when it has been completely controlled by Palestinians since every Israeli settler (living and deceased), soldier and road block was withdrawn from that area in 2005.

Further, Zahalka appears not to realize that “apartheid week” organizers are not just referring to the situation in the territories captured by Israel in 1967 – most of which it has been desperately trying to hand over to a Palestinian state, and where, east Jerusalem apart, it has never asserted claims to sovereignty – but to Arabs in Israel itself. As their Web site states, “Israel is in fact an apartheid state, not just a belligerent occupying power.”

Zahalka himself puts the lie to this claim. He and other Israeli Arab MKs are living proof that Arab citizens of Israel, unlike blacks in apartheid South Africa, have full political and civil rights, can vote and be elected to their parliament, and can even freely (if immorally) support the enemies of the state they are sworn to represent.

Indeed, many Israeli Arabs do not vote for the Arab parties, which have become so radicalized that they ignore their constituencies, but for Jewish parties. An Arab member of the Labor Party, for example, has just become a minister in the Israeli government.

And that’s just the beginning. Israelis, be they Arabs or Jews, are much freer than anywhere in the Arab world. This is relevant because the “apartheid” charge brands Israel as a human rights abuser. But what sense does it make to berate the only country in the region that does respect human rights, while ignoring the rampant abuses taking place throughout the Muslim world?

According to the American Anti-Slavery Group ( “Though slavery was legally abolished [in Mauritania] in 1980, today 90,000 slaves continue to serve the Muslim Berber ruling class. Similarly, in Sudan, Arab northerners are known to raid the villages in the South – killing all the men and taking the women and children to be auctioned off and sold into slavery.”

February 15, 2007 | 1 Comment »

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  1. Israel Apartheid Week at the University of Toronto, Canada 2007

    I had written before to the U of T two years ago to express my objections to their lending their university facilities for Israel Apartheid Week which was very likely going to be an Israeli-Jewish hate fest, which is what I was later advised it turned out to be. The U of T responded with a long form letter, basically cloaking themselves in principles of academic freedom and freedom of speech to justify their aiding and abetting the cause of Jew hatred, not that they would ever admit to that.

    On news of the U of T again hosting this Jew hate fest and that a Meir Weinstein of the JDL Director in Toronto was intending to take some kind of action, I wrote the following letter to Meir Weinstein.

    While I have had no response, I am hopeful JDL will take heed of what I have suggested. My suggestions include making approaches to the U of T financial supporters and seeking to induce them to lessen or drop their support of the U of T in protest to the U of T’s aiding and abetting this Jew hate fest event.

    I encourage others to either write to the U of T and Meir Weinstein in Canada and for those in the States and England, to take similar action.

    To: Meir Weinstein, JDL National Director

    I am suggesting several strategies and tactics to take the University of Toronto to task for aiding and abetting the anti-Israel crowd by providing their university facilities to host Israel Apartheid Week. It will take Jewish organizations and pro-Israel advocates to unite and co-ordinate their efforts. These suggestions however are also directed generally with respect to combatting anti-Israel propaganda in general.

    The main effort must of course come from those in the Toronto area as well as Montreal where the problem of anti-Israel/Semitism is most pronounced and vocal.

    1. Retain expert legal counsel to advise on what if any legal remedies are available, whether they can potentially succeed completely or be successful in a limited way of effectively throwing sand in the gears of the anti-Israel propagandists, including the framing of a complaint to the Human Rights Council that can stick;

    2. Pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel propaganda makes effective use of slogans, pictures and pithy statements to communicate their views which usually are lies, half truths and distortions of reality. Nonetheless they deliver a message easily understood. Pro-Israel advocates are given to fighting those spurious allegations and accusations with long winded and more intellectual explanations that just are not nearly as easily grasped.

    Work on a new advocacy strategy that breathes passion and fire into pro-Israel advocacy. Make use of slogans, photographs, and any other kinds of modes of expression that will state truths simply in easily understood terms. That would not just be aimed to support Israel but also aimed to go after, attack, undermine and embarrass anti-Israel advocates and those such as the U of T that aids and abets them as they hide behind their cherished principles of freedom of speech which they exercise in a way to curb dissent and insult proprieties.

    In essence I am advocating taking a page out of the anti-Israel propaganda playbook and that the only thing different would be that pro-Israel/pro-Western advocacy would maintain a high regard for truth, honesty and fairness, even if advocated bluntly;

    3. Organizations and individuals must go after the U of T directly with criticisms and condemnations, including staging protest marches on campus. Pro-Israel advocate leaders must give more attention to rallying support for their initiatives.

    Identify all donors and supporters of the U of T and make the case to them to cease or lessen their financial support to the U of T.

    The following link identifies a list of hundreds of donors to the U of T.

    4. Light a fire under Jewish and pro-Israel advocacy organizations or groups to be far more aggressive in ensuring that every opportunity is seized to get the message out through the media.

    The civil war between Fatah and Hamas is a very current example to support an arguement as to why the dream of an independent Palestinian state is just a delusion fostered by Westerners.

    Muslim radicals are painting a picture of what Islam is and so called peaceful Muslims rarely speak out.

    There are a mulititude of opportunties almost daily for pro-Israel and pro-Western advocates to give commentary on current events as they are happening.

    Efforts to open lines of communication with the media and convince the media that true and complete, honest,and fair coverage of events is far more important than seeking to achieve a politically correct balance that only obfuscates truth and serves honesty and fairness poorly.

    There are of course many more ways to beef up pro-Israel advocacy and improve on methods to better implement such advocacy to achieve better results.

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