Action Alerts & Events
|DECONSTRUCTING "ISRAELI APARTHEID" TO EXCUSE BDS|
Deconstructing "Israeli Apartheid":
Countering the incessant lies on your campus and in the Media
March 19, 2012
While Israel's adversaries have always charged the country with many misdeeds, only relatively recently have these alleged transgressions coalesced into the so-called BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), modeled after the campaign against apartheid South Africa, and based on the allegation that Israel too is an apartheid state and should cease to exist. An integral part of the BDS campaign is Israeli Apartheid Week on some college campuses, featuring speakers, demonstrations and street theater meant to illustrate the claim that Israel is, simply put, bad. So bad that, like apartheid South Africa, it is illegitimate and should cease to exist.
When examined in detail, however, the apartheid charges fall apart, since Israel is, in fact, a progressive and liberal democracy. Unlike neighboring Arab countries Israel has free elections, a free press, full religious freedom, and full rights for women and minorities, including gays. In Israel there are Arab legislators in the Knesset, Arab diplomats in the Foreign Ministry, Arab generals in the Israel Defense Forces, and also Arab judges. In fact, it was an Arab District Court judge ( George Karra) who recently sentenced former Israeli President Moshe Katzav to jail, and an Arab Supreme Court Justice who upheld the sentence (Salim Joubran).
In fact, in many ways even Arabs who lived under Israeli administration in Gaza and the West Bank had more rights than they have today under Hamas rule in Gaza, or under PA rule in the West Bank, and more rights also than the citizens of any Arab country.
A full analysis can be found in Deconstructing "Israeli Apartheid", which is excerpted below.
Israeli Apartheid Week, and charges of Israeli apartheid generally, are based on a monstrous series of lies, an inversion of reality that targets the only open and liberal democracy in the Middle East, in favor of promoting those states and movements that are enemies of human rights and democracy.
ACTION ITEMS to / Top / In Brief / Action Item
Please use the information in the alert as background for your own letter. Do not copy and paste directly from the alert and do not forward it to the media.
The Israel apartheid charge is becoming more and more common. The information outlined below can help you to fight back with convincing facts and details.
If you are associated with a college or university, stand up against Israeli Apartheid Week or any anti-Israel conferences or speakers coming to the campus. If you are an alumnus, alumna, student, parent of a student, faculty, donor or live near a university:
IN DETAIL to / Top / In Brief / Action Item
Apartheid Charges versus the Facts
The anti-Israel charges leveled by the Israel apartheid sites, to the extent they can be checked at all, are usually based on phony or nonexistent sources. To see this it's instructive to take a close look at one of the leading Israel apartheid sites, ItisApartheid.org . As we shall see, actually tracking down the sources and facts shows that they simply have no case, and that their charges can only be attributed to prejudice or reckless ignorance.
The Ethnic Cleansing Charge
Myth: Israel is guilty of ethnic cleansing. One of the site's key "fact sheets," on the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, charges that:
Certainly there are many websites with essentially the above quotation, but that is not enough -- as historians know, one must always depend upon, as much as possible, primary sources. And as with so many other alleged "Zionist quotes," the primary source here paints a very different picture. According to Professor Efraim Karsh, who went to the archives to examine the original 1937 document (a handwritten letter from Ben-Gurion to his son Amos), here is what the relevant passage actually said:
Myth: Both in its overview and in the fact sheet Water as an instrument of Apartheid in the Occupied Territories, Israel is charged with water apartheid. According to the overview, Israeli Apartheid in the Occupied Territories:
The fact sheet Water as an instrument of Apartheid in the Occupied Territories repeats a similar charge, this time with a citation that at least seems to offer support for the charges:
The reason the water is mostly under Israel, and accessible there, is easily understood: Israel, with a Mediterranean coastline (that is, at sea level), is at a lower elevation than the West Bank, and under gravity the underground water flows down to the lowest point, which is Israel. For the same reason, the aquifer is much closer to the surface in Israel, and therefore more accessible there, than in the higher elevations of the West Bank.
Thus, even in the 1950s, when the West Bank was occupied by Jordan, Israel used 95 percent of the Western Aquifer's water, and 82 percent of the Northeastern Aquifer's water. Today, Israel's share of these aquifers has declined to 83 percent and 80 percent, respectively. That is, under direct Israeli administration the Palestinian share of these aquifers has actually increased.
It is therefore simply ludicrous to claim that Israel's use of this water (which began in the 1920's during the pre-state era) is "illegal under international law."
In addition, every year over 40 MCM (million cubic meters) of water from sources within Israel is piped over the Green Line for Palestinian use in the West Bank. Ramallah, for example, receives over 10 MCM annually. And despite the virtual declaration of war against Israel by the Hamas rulers of Gaza, Israel still sends to Gaza over 4 MCM of Israeli water annually. Thus, it is the Palestinians who are using Israeli water.
And not just the Palestinians. Despite its own meager supply, Israel annually provided 600,000 CM of water to ten otherwise dry villages in South Lebanon, and under its peace treaty with Jordan provides more than 55 MCM annually to the Kingdom. Perhaps no other country in the world, facing the severe shortages that Israel does, has shared so much water with its neighbors.
Myth: Palestinian usage per person has actually declined since 1967:
Total use (domestic, industrial and agricultural) also increased: In 1967 total Palestinian usage in the West Bank was 60 MCM, amounting to a per capita annual usage of 85.7 CM, while in 2006 total usage had tripled to 180 MCM, amounting to a per capita annual usage of 100 CM (see The Issue of Water between Israel and the Palestinians, Israel Water Authority, 2009; p 15)
This huge jump in Palestinian consumption was possible only because Israel drilled or permitted the drilling of over 50 new wells for the Palestinian population, laid hundreds of kilometers of new water mains and connected hundreds of Palestinian villages and towns to the newly built water system, and supplied Israeli water to the Palestinians through this new system. (Background: Water, Israel and the Middle East, Israel Foreign Ministry 1991; Marcia Drezon-Tepler, Contested Waters and the Prospects for Arab-Israeli Peace, Middle Eastern Studies, Vol 30, No. 2, April 1994)
To summarize, the "apartheid" water charges could not be more false. Israeli water, drilled in Israel, is piped over the Green Line into the West Bank for Palestinian use, and therefore it is the Palestinians who are using Israeli water. More details are available here, here and here.
Alleged Apartheid within Israel
There are at least two separate fact sheets dealing with alleged apartheid within Israel: Apartheid and Discrimination in the State of Israel and Discriminatory Laws in the State of Israel. Somewhat confusingly, there is also a PDF version of the first fact sheet with a slightly different title, and somewhat different content: Apartheid and Discrimination inside the State of Israel.
Myth: As with the other fact sheets, the Apartheid and Discrimination fact sheet is filled with blatant falsehoods and distortions. For example, it includes Israel's Law of Return in a listing of supposedly apartheid laws:
Furthermore, Article 1(4) provides for "affirmative action." That is, a state may employ a preference in granting citizenship to undo the effects of prior discrimination. In the case of Israel such prior episodes of discrimination are clear: the British decision in 1939, for example, to bar Jewish immigration to Mandatory Palestine, thereby consigning millions of Jews to deaths in the crematoria of Europe. To an exceedingly small degree, the Law of Return helps to mitigate this wrong.
As stated above, other democracies have similar laws. For example, in Ireland the the appropriate minister can waive the usual requirements for citizenship under various conditions including:
Myth: Before 1948 Arabs owned most of the land in Israel, which the Jews proceeded to steal:
Myth: The higher infant mortality among Arab citizens of Israel, and the growing gap as compared to Jewish citizens, is yet another example of the country's discriminatory policies:
The average infant-mortality rates in the period 2001-2004 and the rates in 2010, for Jews, Arab Christians, Arab Muslims and Arab Druzes, break down as follows: (Sources: Statistical Abstract of Israel 2011, Table 3.1 and Infant Mortality 1997-2004 Demographic and Health Characteristics, Table 2, p 62)
Jews Arab Christians Arab Muslims Druze
2001-2004 3.6 3.1 8.6 5.9
2010 2.7 2.8 7.3 3.2
Among the reasons for the higher rate among Arab Muslims are the following known risk factors for infant mortality: (1) motherhood at a very early age tending to lead to low-birth-weight babies; (2) large families -- almost 24% of Arab households in Israel contain 7 or more people, and a further 16% contain 6 people, while for Jews the corresponding numbers are just 8.3% and 5.7%; (3) marriage among close relatives , leading to birth defects.
Finally, to place the infant mortality numbers in context, one should note that in 2007 the rate in the United States was 6.8 ( Statistical Abstract of the United States 2012), far higher than the rate in Israel for Jews, and Arab Christians and Druze, and not that different from the rate among Arab Muslims.
In other words, the infant mortality charges are baseless, and under scrutiny fall apart.
Myth: The fact sheet Discriminatory Laws in the State of Israel charges that Palestinians (that is, Israeli Arabs) are forbidden from serving in the Israeli army:
Men from the Israeli Arab Bedouin community also routinely volunteer for the army, where they have served with special distinction as scouts and trackers. For instance, according to a recent BBC report:
Elinor Joseph, a Christian Arab and a combat soldier in the Israel Defense Forces, says that "At the end of the day, this will always be my home too."
The fact sheet's claim that Arabs are prevented from serving in the Israeli army is thus yet another obvious falsehood.
The apartheid accusations are merely a pretext in the hands of activists who are bound and determined to be anti-Israel, regardless of the facts. The activists who accuse Israel of apartheid and similar charges therefore deserve absolutely no credibility whatsoever.