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'Israeli Apartheid? I Know What Apartheid Really Is'

South African parliament member and clergyman refutes "lies" of anti-Israel movement who "minimize the pain of apartheid."
By Kochava Rozenbaum
First Publish: 9/29/2013, 10:17 AM

S.African MP Reverend Kenneth Meshoe
S.African MP Reverend Kenneth Meshoe
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After participating in a two-day conference held in Jerusalem last week, Reverend Kenneth Meshoe, a member of the Parliament of South Africa and founder of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), vocalized why calling Israel an apartheid state actually "minimizes the pain of apartheid."

Meshoe, along with 25 other international members of parliament, is one of the chairmen of the Israel Allies Caucuses, which represent hundreds of members of Congress and Parliament around the world. Under the Israel Allies Foundation (IAF), these caucuses coordinate international activity on Israel-related issues.

During the two-day conference held by the IAF, the lawmakers discussed ways to strengthen Israel and specifically addressed the recent European boycott of Israeli products and academia in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem.

In addressing some of the challenges that Israel faces, Reverend Meshoe focused on accusations of apartheid often hurled at the Jewish state by anti-Israel activists.

"Anyone who knows what apartheid really is and still makes such a claim [about Israel] should be told to their faces that they are lying," Meshoe insisted. 

"If [what happened] in South Africa," Meshoe continued, "was the same as what's happening in Israel, then definitely there would not have been any need for an armed struggle [in South Africa]."

He explained that there was an armed struggle because South Africans were denied basic rights such as the right to vote. Arab-Israelis, Meshoe noted, do not struggle with the right to vote and have the choice to go to the schools and hospitals of their choice. 

"Apartheid was very painful," Meshoe recalls, "anyone who claims Israel is an apartheid state is actually minimizing the pain of apartheid."

Meshoe stated that the claims about apartheid Israel need to be challenged head-on.

"Many of them are just good at intimidation, but they cannot reason. If you have to reason, fact-for-fact, then they cannot reason because they know in their own hearts that there is no apartheid in Israel."

The reverend has been previously quoted as saying, “I was born in South Africa 59 years ago and I lived through Apartheid. I can assure you, Israel is no Apartheid state.”