Israel's security wall in Jerusalem
Israel's security wall in Jerusalem Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

The leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Tuesday blasted a Human Rights Watch report which accused Israel of “apartheid” against Palestinian Arabs.

“We strongly reject the disgraceful report released today by Human Rights Watch (HRW) that attempts to demonize, delegitimize, and apply double standards to the State of Israel,” said Dianne Lob, Chair, William Daroff, CEO, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Vice Chair of the Conference of Presidents in a statement.

“Authored by Omar Shakir, a longtime operative of the blatantly antisemitic and anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, this libelous document resorts to baseless apartheid accusations against Israel, among other lies and distortions. The apartheid system practiced by South Africa was characterized by tyranny and dehumanization; this has no equivalence to a vibrant democracy where all citizens have rights and representation in the national legislature,” they added.

“These kinds of misguided efforts to vilify Israel inflame existing tensions and incite violence, obstructing the path to peace and the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. HRW should be denounced for giving voice to such vicious hate while purporting to defend human rights,” the statement concluded.

In its report published Tuesday morning, Human Rights Watch excoriated Israeli policies in not only Judea, Samaria, Gaza, and eastern Jerusalem, but also in pre-1967 Israel, claiming they amount to not merely discrimination against Arabs, but even “persecution”.

“Laws, policies, and statements by leading Israeli officials make plain that the objective of maintaining Jewish Israeli control over demographics, political power, and land has long guided government policy,” HRW claimed in the report.

“In pursuit of this goal, authorities have dispossessed, confined, forcibly separated, and subjugated Palestinians by virtue of their identity to varying degrees of intensity. In certain areas, as described in this report, these deprivations are so severe that they amount to the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.”

Israel's Foreign Ministry dismissed the report as nothing more than anti-Israel propaganda.

"Human Rights Watch is known to have a long-standing anti-Israeli agenda, actively seeking for years to promote boycotts against Israel," the ministry stated.

"Their decision not to share this report for review or comment with any Israeli authority, is clear indication that it is a propaganda pamphlet, which lacks all credibility."

"HRW's founder, Mr. Robert Bernstein, has criticized his organization in 2009 for "issuing reports on the Israeli-Arab conflict that are helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state."

"This report is yet another part of the organization's ongoing campaign, led by a known BDS supporter, with no connection to facts or reality on the ground. The fictional claims that HRW concocted are both preposterous and false."