Jewish and human rights groups are gearing up to counter “Israel Apartheid Week” events next week. “Apartheid Week” is an annual event organized on college campuses in the United States, Canada and elsewhere by extreme anti-Israel groups.
The week-long event includes lectures and exhibits aimed at convincing students that Israel is a racist, colonial state. Participants are asked to sign a document opposing Zionism while supporting the creation of a state for Palestinian Authority Arabs.
One of the groups fighting Apartheid Week is Bnei Brith Canada, which called this week to ban “Apartheid Week” events completely. The group praised MPP Peter Shurman for proposing a resolution to condemn Israel Apartheid Week. The resolution was passed by the Ontario legislature.
"Today's resolution is an important first step towards what must be an outright ban of 'Israel Apartheid Week' and other similar events on campus whose raison d'etre to promote hatred, and whose activities invariably encourage harassment and intimidation of Jewish students,” Bnei Brith stated in a press release.
The organization Stand With Us took a different approach, urging students to “Use the Apartheid weeks ahead as a wonderful opportunity to teach the campus and local community about apartheid that exists today, in a majority of Middle Eastern countries where human rights abuses are commonplace... Simultaneously, encourage students and community leadership to stand up to misinformation about Israel.”
Stand With Us has produced a booklet titled “Middle East Apartheid Today” to counter Apartheid Week criticism of Israel. The booklet describes the oppression of black citizens of South Africa under apartheid and compares it to the situation of women, homosexuals, religious minorities, and reformists in countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia.
The booklet is available on the Stand With Us website. Also on the site are “Israel 101” booklets, available in several languages, and a booklet explaining the Cast Lead counterterror operation in Gaza in early 2009.
The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) has also put materials online to assist those interested in countering anti-Israel rhetoric. The site, www.israeliapartheidweek.com, includes information on the radical nature of Apartheid Week, the double standard implicit in criticizing Jewish self-determination and not that of other national groups, and genuine oppression elsewhere in the Middle East.