Op-Ed: Israeli Apartheid? I Laugh
Josh HastenThe writer is President of the Bar-Am Public Relations Firm, and author of the recently released children’s book, “Itamar Makes Friends: A Children’s Story of Jewish Brotherhood.”
However, the reason I’m laughing these days is not because it’s Purim season, but because the enemies of Israel and the Jewish people around the world are hosting, as they have for the past seven years, something called “Israel Apartheid Week.” This international phenomenon consists of a series of events held in cities and campuses across the globe. The aim of International apartheid Week, according to the group’s website, 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.”
So while in reality, this is no laughing matter, I can’t help but to ridicule the absurdity of the claims that Israel is an Apartheid State on par with White South Africa. Anyone who has been to Israel, and I’m sure the majority of the group’s organizers have not, would come to realize in a very short time how utterly preposterous those claims are.
Let’s start by using the capital city of Jerusalem as the ultimate proof of this fallacy. I take my wife to the mall and Arabs are shopping in the same stores as Jews. I take my kids to the zoo and Arabs are there with their families as well. The movies – it’s the same story. Restaurants, cafes, gas stations, public restrooms more and more Arabs are sighted. Wow! I’m amazed! There are Arabs everywhere I go.
In all of Jerusalem’s hospitals Jewish and Arab doctors and nurses work side by side treating – you guessed it, Arab patients!! Not only Arabs from the area, but from all over Israel including Judea and Samaria (the so-called “West Bank”). In fact, even during Israel’s military Operation in Gaza a few years back, Arabs who needed special treatment were given care in Israeli medical clinics near the border. True Hamas did everything in their power to prevent their fellow Arabs from accepting treatment, but “Apartheid” Israel was still on hand to treat our ENEMIES and their families nonetheless.
The most transparent example of why this myth is bogus can be found in the halls of government and military. There are currently 14 Arab (and Druze) members of Israel’s Knesset or Parliament elected to represent their own constituency in all parts of the country. Within the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Beduin Arabs play a key role, often serving as trackers as part of the Desert Reconnaissance Brigade usually in Southern regions of the country.
Does this sound like Apartheid to you?
It doesn’t to me, hence the sarcastic laughter. In reality the “Apartheid Week BDS” group is an organization of anti-Zionists whose goal is to first delegitimize and ultimately destroy the State of Israel. There is nothing noble, sincere, or factual in their critiques or actions when it comes to the events surrounding what should be really dubbed “Israel Pogrom Week,” where Israel bashers and haters come to spew their Anti-Semitic rhetoric while they are disguised as pro-Arab left-wing humanitarians.
Why don’t the Apartheid folks ask the Arab living in Israel if they would rather be living in Israel (with civil rights, healthcare and education benefits, insurance – and I could go on and on), or in Libya, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, or any other country whose name I’m sure will not be mentioned this week by these phony saints. The answers they receive might be surprising to them, but not to me.
See this animated movie on Israel Apartheid Week.
(Reprinted from the Algemeiner Journal, sent to INN by author)