At the Durban Conference back in 2001, as many as 1,500 non-governmental organizations determined in a final statement that Israel is an “apartheid state,” and that the international community should treat it as such and therefore isolate it.
A Palestine Civil Society Strategic Position Paper written by the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) for the Durban Review Conference held in Geneva from April 20-24, 2009, was widely distributed at that conference. This paper tended to argue that by allowing the right of return to Jews only, Israel has instituted a Jewish nationality thereby excluding “non-Jews” from nationality rights in Israel (§35).
The underlying idea is that by denying nationality rights to Palestinians (Arabs), Israel is equivalent to an “apartheid state.” Consequently, and beyond the Palestinians, any Christian and any non-Jew wishing to settle in Israel, is a victim of the “apartheid” regime created by the Jews. And like South Africa, this Jewish “apartheid state” must disappear, and the Arabs have the right to fight and take back the land.
Here again, this relates to the facts on the ground only partially and makes abstraction of the fact that any state has the sovereign right to decide who can become a national. And since Israel is a Jewish and democratic state and must remain democratic and Jewish, i.e., the one and only state of the Jewish people, it can only accept Jews and non-Jews through family reunification, by being a legal resident of eastern Jerusalem or going through a naturalization process like any other state.
This is not apartheid. This has to do with the internationally recognized right to national self-determination of any people. This right has been sanctioned by the League of Nations, as well as by international law and treaties (the Treaty of Lausanne (1923), the British Mandate (1922) that incorporated the Balfour Declaration (1917), the San Remo Resolution (1920), the Treaty of Sèvres (1920), all of which re-established the Jews’ historical indigenous rights to the land.
The Palestinian Paper does not mention that in 1922, Great Britain requested that the majority of the land of Palestine (77 percent), be transferred to the “Arabs of Palestine” thus creating the basis for the State of Transjordan (the State of Jordan later on), who was to be the State of the Arab population of Palestine. Jews who were living there from time immemorial were chased out and who today even after a peace treaty cannot buy land or immigrate there.
What is not mentioned in this paper is that Israel’s citizens come from more than 120 countries, including Arab, European, African and Asian countries. The colors of their skins are as beautiful as a rainbow, from black to white, to yellow. Those Jews brought with them the best of their different cultures of origin. Their children are going to the same schools and play together. They sing and dance on beautiful Jewish songs. They all enjoy the right of return without any apartheid.
Several attempts have been made since 2007 by the Israeli NGO Adalah, financed among others by the European Union and the New Israel Fund, to impose a democratic, bilingual and multicultural constitution on Israel. They want a secular, multi-ethnic, multi-faith state that would eliminate a Jewish national state, until Muslims would be able to take it over. Several other papers were also published by those who participated in the writing of this Adalah draft constitution: “The Future Vision for the Palestinian Arabs in Israel,” prepared by a team consisting of the head of the High Follow-up Committee for the Arabs in Israel on behalf of National Committee for Arab Mayors; and “The Haifa Covenant,” which in itself was drafted by a team consisting of Mada al-Carmel—the Arab Center For Applied Social Research.
The same slogan “Israel is an Apartheid State” was raised after the adoption of the Israel nation-state law which was attacked by Arabs/leftists and surprisingly by many Druze, who were asked to “Resist Apartheid.” They claimed that Israel is racist, that this law is an apartheid law and that 17 percent of the Israeli population must have national minority rights. In other words, they claimed to have a right to national self-determination in the same Land where the Jews have the right to self-determination, and eventually even to secede from the state of Israel.
Even some prominent Jews in Israel and in America joined the chorus against this law. If some Jews in Israel, America or elsewhere feel that they “cannot live” in a Jewish state (because it is too Jewish for them), they can leave or stay in the foreign countries where they now reside. They are free to live in “exile” like their forefathers and continue to live with the rhythm of Christian or Muslim religious holidays, work or rest on Friday or Sunday. Israel was and is the home of the Jewish people. It is therefore logical that Jewish settlement is a national interest/mission/obligation, to be able to receive Jewish people. A “Jewish state” must have like all the countries its national emblem, national anthem, national flag, state emblem, its (Jewish) feasts and days of rest, its calendar, its holy sites, its national language, its Jewish history, culture and traditions that help make the Jewish people a vibrant Jewish nation. The Jews, who immigrated to Israel, came to live with their people in their Land and in a Jewish state. Millions of Jews are dreaming to join us.
Unfortunately, what is not mentioned in the Israel nation-state law is that the State should help promote the knowledge of Jewish history, traditions and values, of the Laws of Moses and the commandments (mitzvot). This will come later to bolster Israel’s original mission. Some Jews, still living with the memory of the Shoah, are confused about this.
The Basic law: The Knesset bans parties denying that Israel is the home of the Jewish people or which incite to racism. It was wise to recall to the Muslims/Arabs among us (who do not exceed 17 percent of the population), to the world and even to our Supreme Court Judges that Israel is the home of the Jewish people, to prevent them from designating it as a different country.
If Muslims living in Israel feel uneasy about living in a Jewish state, they have the choice to live in the Autonomous Palestinian territories, only a few kilometers away, and/or in any of the existing 22 Arab states and 52 Muslim states. There, those who so wish can exercise their national rights as an integral part of the Palestinian people, or the Arab and Muslim nation.
Regarding apartheid, what is also not mentioned by the Palestine Civil Society Strategic Position Paper and by those Arabs who decided to fight the Israel Nation State Law is that there are no separate hospitals, separate restaurants, separate beaches, separate swimming pools, separate buses for Arabs (Muslims or Christians) and for Jews. Jews and Arabs eat and swim together. In Israeli hospitals, Jewish doctors are treating Jews and Arabs, and Arab doctors are treating Arabs and Jews. Arabs living in the Palestinians Autonomous Territories actually prefer to be treated in Israeli hospitals, and public services are provided on the basis of need and no other criteria. Even P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas, who considers that Israelis have filthy feet, sent his wife to be treated in an Israeli hospital, and Hamas chief Haniyeh sent his daughter to an Israeli hospital just weeks after the 2014 Gaza war, as if nothing had occurred and Israel agreed to this.
For anyone who is familiar with Israel’s way of life and with the facts on the ground, the Palestine Civil Society Strategic Position Paper is no more than a Soviet-style propaganda piece aimed at disseminating lies, and provoking racism Those actions undertaken by some Muslims and Leftists aim to delegitimize, demonize and dehumanize Israel and Israeli Jews in order to prepare the world to accept the destruction of the Jewish state.
There is no such thing as “apartheid” in Israel. They are Manipulating International Law as part of Anti-Israel “Lawfare” and some Jews believe them: “Among the prominent features of the South African apartheid policies, that do not exist in Israel, were the prohibition of marriages between white people and people of other races; prohibition of extramarital sexual relations between white and black people: prohibiting a black person from performing any skilled work in urban areas except in those sections designated for black occupation; prohibiting strike action by blacks; preventing Africans from receiving an education that would lead them to “aspire to positions they wouldn’t be allowed to hold in society.” Black students were banned from attending major white universities; all public amenities, such as restaurants, swimming pools and public transport were separate for “Europeans Only” and “Non-Europeans Only”; signs to this effect were put up to enforce such legislation.”
In South Africa, acts and other laws institutionalized the system of racial segregation including compulsory segregation of all residential areas based on racial categories established by the State, compulsory passbook IDs with the color classification of the person; schools and hospitals were segregated by law on the basis of race, the same for ambulances, buses, bus-stops, swimming pools, beaches, theaters, hotels and restaurants.
Even though the Israeli Arabs/Muslims could have only equal civil and religious rights in the Jewish state, as provided for by international treaties, Israel gave them political rights. The Israeli Druse as well as Bedouin citizens who are Muslims, fight in the Israeli Army. The Bedouins have fought in all of Israel’s wars side by side with Israeli Jewish officers and soldiers ever since the War of Independence. Muslim Arabs are granted more rights in Israel than in any Arab country in the Middle East. Arabs are members of the Knesset (Parliament), and enjoy the same rights and immunities as their Jewish counterparts. Arab judges can be found at every level of the judiciary in Israel, from the lower courts to the Supreme Court, something that was unthinkable in South Africa before Mandela. A Judge of the High Court of Justice is an Arab; the Arabs are represented in the Knesset; one of the two Vice Chairmen of the Knesset, Majalli Wahbee, was a Muslim, and a former Deputy Minister, Ayoob Kara, is a Druze and a Zionist and is presently Minister of Communication.
Let us compare. In the Saudi Arabia kingdom only mosques are allowed; it hosts not a single church—or, for that matter, synagogue, or Hindu, Sikh, Jain or Baha’i temple. … In Saudi Arabia, where there are special roads for non-Muslims to ensure they cannot enter Mecca or Medina. “Non-Muslims in Saudi Arabia are barred from visiting the main Islamic holy shrines of Mecca. The Bible is not allowed in the country.” It would seem that this is racism; that is also apartheid.
“It is no secret that many Arab countries despise Palestinians and subject them to apartheid laws and strict security measures that deny them the most basic freedoms. The mistreatment of Palestinians at the hands of their Arab brothers is an issue that is rarely mentioned in the mainstream media in the West. Most journalists prefer to look the other way when a story lacks an anti-Israel perspective. When Arab countries such as Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, move against Palestinians, foreign journalists choose to bury their heads in the sand. It’s safer and more career enhancing that way.
Syria, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon maintain their Palestinian Arab “brothers” as refugees in camps that many have become shantytowns. No Arab state has granted them citizenship except for Jordan, but the power remained in the hands of the Bedouin Arab population. What is the European Union saying about the ban on 20 types of professions or occupations in Lebanon? And the Palestinian and European NGOs who permanently attack Israel? Is the European Union banning its refugees from some types of professions?
How many Jews live in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco? Where are the Jews who are considered to be everywhere? These are the apartheid states who implemented ethnic cleansing.
Are there any local or foreign NGOs or Christian churches with European states and the European Union funding who have instituted “Apartheid Weeks” for Saudi Arabia, Syria and Lebanon? Or BDS actions against them? No!
Are the Palestinian Autonomous Territories practicing apartheid? Yes. They don’t accept Jews in their midst, and any who enter risk being killed.
You still say Israel apartheid? Open your eyes if they are closed. If they are open, stop lying to yourselves and to the world. Some Jews may feel a moral obligation to rightly oppose injustices that happen in every society. But they should ask themselves why so many in the world are using them.
Dr. Michael Calvo is an international lawyer and author of the book “The Middle East and World War III: Why No Peace?” with a foreword by Col. Richard Kemp, CBE.