Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is in Israel for an official state visit. Yesterday, he spoke to Israel's parliament—the Knesset. There, he declared that “any comparison between the Jewish state and apartheid South Africa was sickening".
It was not a passing reference. “Think about the twisted logic and outright malice,” he said. “It is nothing short of sickening…this is the face of the new anti-Semitism."
He spoke strongly in favour of Israel. But when he slammed those who called Israel, ‘Apartheid’, two Arab MKs heckled him, then walked out of the Knesset Chamber (“Harper: Support for Israel is morally and strategically right” Times of Israel, January 20, 2014). Reuters news service reported they had ‘stormed out’ (“Canadian PM draws applause and anger at Israeli parliament”, Reuters, January 20, 2014).
The message of these Arab MKs was clear: Israel is an Apartheid state. No self-respecting human would remain in the same room with any head-of-state who said otherwise.
It’s a harsh message. Apartheid is evil. Anyone who practices it should be denounced.
But these two elected Arab Members of the Israeli Knesset create a problem for anyone who calls Israel the ‘Apartheid State’. You see, if Israel is Apartheid, why are these two Arabs serving as elected Members of Knesset—the national parliament?
In an Apartheid state, disenfranchisement is the keystone that supports the entire structure. Apartheid is racial segregation legislated into law. Law creates the Apartheid reality. Disenfranchisement then protects that law because its victims can’t vote to change the law.
Therefore, the disenfranchised victims of Apartheid cannot vote. They cannot serve in a Parliament or Congress or Knesset. They have no voice. They have no power. They have no elected representation.
So if Israel is Apartheid, how can Arabs get elected to the Knesset? Ever think of that?
In Israel, Arabs who have become Israeli citizens have the right to vote. They have a voice. They have representation. They have the right to elect their own, Arab, Members of Knesset.
For that reason alone, Israel is not Apartheid.
It is pure hate that drives Arabs to call Israel, ‘Apartheid’. Indeed, in the Middle East, Israel is the only State that does not practice Apartheid.
Apartheid is the rule in the Arab Middle East, not the exception. Jews know this because they are the main—but not the only—victim of Apartheid policies.
In the Arab Middle East, you will find one or more—or all—of the following Apartheid policies: Jews cannot own land. Jews cannot vote. Jews cannot run for national office. Jews cannot serve in national parliament. Jews cannot be High Court Justices. Jews cannot get graduate degrees in local Universities. Jews cannot become Medical professionals.
In Israel, Israeli Arabs can do all of these things—all of them.
For these reasons, Israel is not Apartheid.
Every Arab in Israel who has travelled to an Arab country knows this. This is why, in poll after poll, Israeli Arabs indicate they prefer to stay in Israel over moving to an Arab country.
Writing for Stonegate Institute, Ramzi Abu Hadid ( “Apartheid State”, March 1, 2012) puts this preference a different way. He states that Arabs from Gaza and Bethlehem “have moved to live in Israel because they feel safer in the ‘Apartheid State’ than they do among their Muslim ‘brothers’”.
Israeli Arabs are not stupid. They know what real Apartheid looks like. They see it in every Arab regime they travel to. They understand that if they want to avoid that Apartheid, they should stay in Israel: Arabs have more rights, freedom and safety in Israel-- and they know it.
Apartheid means not only the use of law to deny rights to a homogeneous group, it means also institutionalized denial and dehumanization of that group. Look at how South African laws isolated and denied blacks and black rights. Look at how South African media dehumanized blacks. Look at how important churches in South Africa demonized blacks.
Compare Arab institutionalized Jew-hate with an almost complete absence of dehumanization (of the Arab) in Israeli media and synagogue. The official Arab position in virtually every Arab regime is to incite against Jews and to dehumanize and demonize both Jews and Israel.
Israel has no such institutionalized Apartheid policy.
Every Western nation has the ability to google-search how Apartheid worked in South Africa—and to compare that with official Arab Jew-hate. Every nation has the ability to study how the regimes of Israel’s so-called ‘peace partners’, Hamas and Fatah, promote Apartheid policies towards both Jews and Arabs.
It is pure hypocrisy for nations to speak out against Apartheid—and then ignore Apartheid Arab policies. It is pure hypocrisy for nations to dismiss real, truly vicious Arab Apartheid policies in order to support ‘Apartheid’ accusations against Israel.
Canada’s Prime Minister Harper is correct: such behaviour is not only sickening. It’s the new anti-Semitism.
What must the G-d of Israel think of those who enable and ennoble Apartheid Arab regimes?