A favourite mantra of the BDS gangsters and other Israel-bashers, is the lie that Israel is an apartheid state. This is blatant intellectual dishonesty, based on the assumption that the use of the emotive term “apartheid” will elicit the same knee-jerk reaction that was forthcoming whenever South Africa was mentioned in this context.
And yet no two states could be more different! In South Africa, under the apartheid regime, non-whites were prohibited from serving in Parliament, from voting, from serving as judges, from studying in the same schools and universities as whites, from eating in the same restaurants, attending the same cultural events, even from swimming on the same beaches or sitting on the same park benches! Non-whites could not be treated in “white” hospitals, ride on “whites-only” buses or drink from “whites-only” water-fountains. Interracial sex was also a criminal offence, punishable by a long prison term.
NONE of this is true of Israel. We have Arab judges, including one on the bench of the Israeli Supreme Court – Judge Salim Joubran. In May of this year, Judge Joubran was appointed head of Israel’s Central Elections Committee, which oversaw the country’s municipal elections last month.
We have Arab Knesset members – and have done so since the very first Knesset, in 1949. There have also been Arab and Druze cabinet ministers.
There has been an Arab Miss Israel – Rana Raslan, who represented Israel in the 1999 Miss Universe Contest:
Ten years later, a mixed Arab-Jewish duo, Mira Awad and Ahinoam Nini (Noa) represented Israel in the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest.
Jews and Arabs study together at the same universities. Go into any cafe in downtown Jerusalem on a summer afternoon and you will see Jewish and Arab families enjoying iced coffee at adjacent tables. Go into any of the public parks and you will see Jewish and Arab families picnicking on the same lawns. Visit any of Tel Aviv’s golden beaches and you will find Arab holiday-makers enjoying the sun and the waves side by side with Jewish Israelis and with foreign tourists.
Nor is it true that Arabs are prohibited from living in “Jewish” areas, as some anti-Israel bloggers, blinded by a pathological hatred of “the Zionist entity” (Richard Silverstein, for example), have insisted. In my own apartment block, for example, I have Arab residents above and below me – two apartments out of ten. That’s 20% – approximately the proportion of Arab citizens of Israel.
As for the “segregated buses” – take a ride on any bus in Israel and you will see Arabs and Jews sitting side by side. But this myth is a prime example of how a deliberately misleading headline by a newspaper with an extreme Left-wing agenda, can set in motion a lie that, taken up and repeated by anti-Israel websites and blogs, as well as by mainstream media around the world, within a very short time becomes what Jane Austen might ironically describe as “a truth universally acknowledged” (much like the myth of “illegal Israeli settlements”). Ha’aretz, which, while always being left-leaning, did once have a modicum of journalistic integrity, came out with the following headline earlier this year:
“Israel introduces ‘Palestinian only’ bus lines, following complaints from Jewish settlers”
But examination of the facts reveals a very different picture. Besides the “national” bus company, Egged, there are a number of smaller, private bus companies, servicing the Jewish towns and villages in Judaea and Samaria and connecting them with central Israel. For obvious security reasons, these companies do not enter Arab villages – but there is no law preventing the Arab villagers from taking a long detour and travelling to one of the Jewish communities, to catch buses there – on the assumption that they have permits to enter Israel (by “Israel”, I mean, the area within the so-called “Green Line”, ie. Israel in its pre-Six Day War boundaries). The bus company in question, Ofakim, inaugurated two new routes, running directly from “West Bank” Arab villages into central Israel. No-one is forcing the Arab villagers to travel on those buses and they are at liberty, if they so desire, to travel – at further expense – to one of the Jewish communities and catch a bus there. Apartheid? Segregation? That may appear to be the effect, but what would the Israel-bashers and the Bleeding Hearts Liberals prefer? That the new bus lines be abolished and that the Arab villagers be forced to make long detours in order to catch a bus at a more distant stop, merely to gratify the Loony Left and ensure that the requisite Politically Correct “integration” is achieved? Or perhaps they would like to force the Israeli “settlers” to travel to the Arab villages and catch the bus there, in order to achieve that aim? (In fact, I suspect that this is exactly what they would like, since their ultimate goal, of forcing the Jewish “settlers” out entirely, seems – for the time being, at least – doomed to failure.)
And finally – the lie about the “Apartheid Wall”, which, if you believe the Loony Left, is a 700 kilometre , 9-metre high monstrosity made of reinforced cement and barbed wire, twice as long and three times as high as the Berlin Wall. Now, even if this were true, it would hardly be evidence of an apartheid regime. But it is not true. Despite the well-publicised photos of a few “hot spots” where the wall actually is a wall, designed to prevent sniper fire, (photos which are recycled ad nauseam by Israel’s enemies), in point of fact, for most of its length it is not a wall, but a chain-link barrier. Despite that, it has done its job by greatly reducing incidences of terrorism in Israel.
Now that we have these facts straight, it is time to examine the real motives and aims of the BDS gangsters. But that, my friends, is another story and will have to wait for another time.
Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem.