Part Two of Four – the Apartheid Myth
In Part One of this series we looked at the nefarious origins and background of BDS. If the leaders of BDS were successful in achieving their goals, the state of Israel would cease to exist, leaving zero democratic nations in the Middle East, and not a single Jewish state in the world. The BDS movement, focused solely on Israel to the exclusion of all other countries on the globe, espouses falsehoods and hyperbole about Israel and the Jewish people. It has failed to accomplish any goal other than serving as an incubator for antisemitism.
BDS is responsible for disseminating inflammatory, false and misleading antisemitic and anti-Israel statements. BDS’s objectionable conduct only serves to provoke and intensify the flames of antisemitism. In Part Two we will address the false BDS claims that Israel is an Apartheid state.
The Fallacy of Israel being an Apartheid State
BDS orchestrated the propaganda campaign that Israel is an apartheid state. This is false and such parallels diminish the struggles endured by the South Africans oppressed by true apartheid. In South Africa, an all-white government enforced racial segregation laws oppressing the rights of that country’s non-white majority. Non-whites were deprived of civil liberties including the right to vote. Israel has no laws, policy or intention to segregate, persecute or mistreat its Arab population. Israel’s Declaration of Independence provides equal rights to all citizens. Israeli Arabs participate in all facets of Israeli life. Arabs and other non-Jews vote in all elections, and serve in Israel’s armed forces, police, judiciary (including Israel’s Supreme Court) and the Parliament (Knesset). In April, 2019, ten Israeli Arabs were elected to the Knesset. This is the antithesis of an apartheid state.
In 1967, Israel took control of Judea and Samaria in the defensive Six Day War when its Arab neighbors attempted to annihilate the Jewish State. The residents of this land, the true heartland, homeland of the Jewish people, have since been a target of terrorism and murder. To protect lives and reduces the number of victims of terror, Israel installed a barrier fence protecting Jewish areas from areas under Arab control and dominion. Arabs in Judea and Samaria vote for their local government officials and representatives. They are not citizens of Israel so they do not vote in Israeli elections as they are governed by their own elected officials. (In fact, Israeli Jews are not permitted in many of these Arab-controlled and governed areas.) No country permits non-citizens to vote in elections and Israel is no exception. Apartheid South Africa never attempted to allow or encourage the creation of a separate nation for black and minority citizens. However, Israel has attempted just that on numerous occasions.
How many times have Palestinian Arabs rejected statehood?
Why is there no Palestinian state? The Palestinians, either directly or through proxies, have refused, rejected, failed or sabotaged statehood ten times.
1. 1937 – The Peel Commission. This was Britain’s first offer of statehood by partition, creating two states – rejected by the Palestinian representatives.
2. 1939 – British White Paper. Once again partition of Palestine into two states was rejected by the Palestinian Arabs.
3. 1947 – U.N. partition proposal was rejected by the Arabs.
4. 1948 – 1967. Judea and Samaria was under Jordanian control; Gaza under Egyptian control. Ample opportunity existed for creation of a Palestinian State.
5. 1979 – Israeli – Egyptian peace negotiations. Palestinians were offered autonomy, which would have enabled statehood. No agreement reached.
6. 1993 – Oslo. The Oslo agreements provided a path for Palestinian statehood, which was ultimately derailed by terrorism.
7. 2000 – Camp David. Israel offers Palestinians Gaza and 97% of Judea and Samaria. No agreement reached.
8. 2001 – Taba Summit. The parties were close, but no agreement reached.
9. 2005 – Israel disengaged from Gaza, providing an opportunity to create a nation state of the Palestinian people.
10. 2008 – Israel offers to withdraw from nearly all of Judea and Samaria and partition Jerusalem. Yet again this offer was rejected.
Fair offers were made and rejected. Opportunities squandered. How can Israel be expected to unilaterally forge an everlasting peace and statehood for the Palestinians? In 1973, following the Geneva Peace Conference, Abba Eban observed that the “Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”
I recall rallies in the mid and late 1980’s on college campuses against Apartheid South Africa. My own college, SUNY Binghamton, renamed the student center the “Nelson Mandela Student Union.” That was a noble cause, and we were proud. BDS is a morally bankrupt endeavor that not only deprives much needed attention to current, horrendous human rights violations and genocide, but robs supporters, particularly our college students, of the ability to advocate for valid causes.