The Shame of Israel Apartheid Week
Matthew M. Hausman
The blood libel seems to have gained respectability in the halls of academia now that Israel Apartheid Week has become an annual rite on college campuses across North America. Characterized by hate-speech promoted as political discourse, Israel Apartheid Week (“IAW”) proclaims its goal “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.” Its architects contend they are not antisemitic. However, Israel is not an apartheid state under any definition of the term, and to argue otherwise requires the repetition of odious lies and the denial of historical facts. Because the claim of Israeli apartheid is a malicious fiction, the antisemitic motivations underlying Israel Apartheid Week cannot be minimized or ignored.
The International Criminal Court’s Rome Statute of 2002 defines “apartheid” as a crime consisting of acts similar to crimes against humanity “committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.” Though the term evokes images of South Africa under Afrikaner rule, it just as easily could describe any country in which racial and ethnic minorities are systematically segregated and discriminated against by operation of law. An argument could be made that Sharia states qualify insofar as they subjugate and isolate “infidels” in accordance with their interpretation of Islamic doctrine. The past confinement of Jews in the mellah in Morocco or in ghettos and separate towns in Iran offer apt examples.
In contrast, Israel is a democracy in which Jews and Arabs have equal rights under the law. The Arab-Muslim world and its left-wing allies accuse Israel of apartheid despite the absence of any Israeli laws or policies creating such a system. Israeli Jews and Arabs generally live where they choose and benefit from the same health, welfare and infrastructure policies and programs. The only difference is that Israeli Arabs are exempt from military service, whereas all other Israelis, including Jews, Druze and Circassians, are not. Thus, Arab citizens receive the same governmental benefits as other Israelis without being required to bear any of the national cost. Although the promoters of IAW contend that Israeli Arabs are second-class citizens, they in fact enjoy the highest standard of living, highest rates of longevity and literacy, and lowest rate of infant mortality of any Arab-Muslim population in the Mideast.
Israel also has an open political system in which Arabs vote, run for office, and serve in government. Moreover, they have freedom of speech to a degree not tolerated in the Arab-Muslim world – as demonstrated by those Arab Knesset members who openly identify with Israel’s enemies and engage in seditious conduct that would not be countenanced in other countries. Whereas American law requires all who serve in Congress to swear an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution, Israel presently …read more