Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Infamous "Apartheid Week"

Thank you Jimmy Carter for falsely equating Israel with the most notorious racist regime of the late 20th century. So now, the propagandists try to turn this week into a mass outcry for on campus rallies and anti Israel activism. Fortunately, Jewish student groups have been up to the challenge. On the campus of American University, they even convinced Islamic groups to change the name to something less provacative, understanding that Israel is not even close to being an apartheid state. In Canada, they produced slick pro Israel campaign entitled "Size Doesn't Matter" featuring this edgy video on YouTube that will, at the very least, be noticed.

The Jerusalem Post has chimed in with an editorial on the subject and so has the Jewish Week.

But the best thing I've read by far is this op-ed by a college student, Brown students for Palestine (and Israel), dedicated to the memory of Avi Schaefer, the Israel activist and peace supporter who died two weeks ago.

It's always best to be armed with facts, and no one does that better than Myths and Facts:

Israel Is Not An Apartheid State

Even before the State of Israel was established, Jewish leaders consciously sought to avoid the situation that prevailed in South Africa. As David Ben-Gurion told Palestinian nationalist Musa Alami in 1934:
We do not want to create a situation like that which exists in South Africa, where the whites are the owners and rulers, and the blacks are the workers. If we do not do all kinds of work, easy and hard, skilled and unskilled, if we become merely landlords, then this will not be our homeland (Shabtai Teveth, Ben-Gurion and the Palestinian Arabs: From Peace to War, London: Oxford University Press, 1985, p. 140).

Today, within Israel, Jews are a majority, but the Arab minority are full citizens with voting rights and representation in the government. Under apartheid black South Africans could not vote and were not citizens of the country in which they are the overwhelming majority of the population.

The situation of Palestinians in the territories — won by Israel in a defensive war forced upon it by its neighbors—is different. The security requirements of the nation, and a violent insurrection in the territories, have forced Israel to impose restrictions on Arab residents of the West Bank that are not necessary inside Israel’s pre-1967 borders. The Palestinians in the territories, typically, dispute Israel’s right to exist whereas blacks did not seek the destruction of South Africa, only the apartheid regime.

If Israel were to give Palestinians full citizenship, it would mean the territories had been annexed. No Israeli government has been prepared to take that step.

Meanwhile, Palestinians from the territories are allowed to work in Israel and receive similar pay and benefits to their Jewish counterparts. They are allowed to attend schools and universities. Palestinians have been given opportunities to run many of their own affairs. None of this was true for South African blacks.


The ICC (Israel on Campus Coalition), of which USCJ's KOACH is a member, has a handbook

They will ship batches of these handbooks to any campus that requests them.

They also have the following Resource Guide

and a Response by Dr. Yossi Olmert

The ADL (Anti-Defamation League) has produced a booklet entitled:

"Fighting Back: A handbook for Responding to Anti-Israel Campaigns on College and University Campuses"
Here is a link to a PDF file of the booklet

They also have: "Confronting the Apartheid Analogy"

Stand-with-Us has produced several brochures:

"Apartheid South Africa vs. Democratic Israel"

"Apartheid Today"

"Israel's Military Operation against Hamas"

The David Project has produced the following booklet:
"Apartheid: Fact or Fiction"

and have other resources at their website: click here


Americans Love Israel Even More Than You Think - Barry Rubin (Global Research in International Affairs Center, IDC, Herzliya)

Public opinion polls can be useful in countering myths. Gallup's latest poll measuring how Americans feel about different countries rates Israel 67% favorable and 25% unfavorable. Only one-fourth of those 25%, that is 6%, are really hostile. After 20 years or so of intensive media criticism, hostility on campuses, double standards, and controversy, that's nothing short of remarkable.

At the same time, the PA receives constant good publicity in the media, campuses, and among policymakers as moderate and friendly to the U.S. Yet only 20% are favorable to the PA and a whopping 70% are negative.

What about the idea that young people are steadily becoming more hostile to Israel? While 70% of those over 55 are favorable to Israel, that number only sinks to 63% for those between 18 and 34.

Why does all this matter? It matters to members of Congress who are running for election in November and know that voters don't want to see them bash Israel.

See also Israel Increasingly Popular. Surprised? - Editorial (New York Jewish Week) Support for Israel among Americans is at a 19-year high, according to a February Gallup poll that found that 63% side with Israel in the Mideast conflict, compared to 15% who support the Palestinians.

For all the criticism of the mainstream press among pro-Israel advocates in this country, most Americans get their news and views about the Mideast from the very same news media so often perceived of as biased against Israel. Somehow a positive message must be getting through. The encouraging survey results do not mean that we should, as a community, ease up on our advocacy for Israel. But we should keep our work in perspective, mindful of and grateful for an American society that appreciates the importance of Israel as a strong and loyal ally in an increasingly dangerous neighborhood.

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