Israel Is Not an ‘Apartheid’ State
“Apartheid” was the term for the legal policy of racial segregation in South Africa from 1948 until its welcome demise in the early 1990s. Grounded in the evil assertion of white supremacy, generations of people with black, mixed-race, and Asian heritage suffered under apartheid’s inherent and repulsive racial indignities.
Critics of Israel have been accusing the country of an “apartheid” system for years. They use this and related terms not to bring moral clarity to the confused but to confuse the clear morality of the State of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. So, Israel’s Jews are an “occupying” people who “oppress” the Arabs in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank region. They are ethnic “bigots” who denigrate the Arabs’ humanity and deny them liberty, hope, and opportunity.
Some American politicians have gotten into the act. Most recently, Michigan Democrat Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who displays a Palestinian flag outside her Capitol Hill office, calls Israel a “racist state” with an “apartheid system.” As to Hamas’ horrific assault on Israel over the weekend, Tlaib said the attack was due to “the failure to recognize the violent reality of living under siege, occupation, and apartheid makes no one safer. … We must do our part to stop this violence and trauma by ending U.S. government support for Israeli military occupation and apartheid.”
St. Louis Democrat Rep. Cori Bush echoed, in eerily similar language (a coincidence, I’m sure), Tlaib’s remarks: “We must do our part to stop this violence and trauma by ending U.S. government support for Israeli military occupation and apartheid.”
Such revolting commentary is striking in its raw insensitivity and none-too-latent anti-Semitism, but the steady drip of Israel-hatred that for years has been marketed in higher education, some spheres of the media, and growing pockets of leftist political radicalism has had an effect. Earlier this year, Gallup released a poll showing that for roughly the past decade, “Democrats have shown increasing affinity toward the Palestinians, their sympathies in the Middle East now lie more with the Palestinians than the Israelis, 49% versus 38%.”
So now, amidst a slaughter of Jews so horrific the imagination runs from it, we’re told Israel’s “apartheid” behavior is at fault. Were this slander not so coarse and deceitful it would be laughable. But there is nothing funny about a “big lie,” one told so deliberately and frequently that it becomes a common part of the public perception of reality.
Reality? Here it is: Israeli Arabs “have sat on (Israel’s) Supreme Court and worked in the foreign service, with a handful serving as ambassadors since 1995. Many have served as mayors, judges in lower courts, and in civil service positions.” Two Israeli Arab political parties have representatives in Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset. While Israeli Arabs face discrimination from some Israeli Jews, strides are being made to address inequities.
For example, in recent years there has been substantial improvement in Israeli Arab education. Additionally, “to address disparities in the so-called Arab sector, in 2021, the (Israeli) government approved a $9 billion, five-year plan to boost employment, improve health-care services and housing, and develop infrastructure, among other goals.”
Back to Gaza. Certainly, the difficulties of living there are great. After all, the terrorist oppressors of Hamas run things. However, despite the Egyptian-Israeli blockade of Gaza, in 2021 the Associated Press reported that the “international community has sent billions of dollars in aid to the Gaza Strip in recent years to provide relief to the more than 2 million Palestinians living in the isolated, Hamas-ruled territory.” Most recently, last Friday, the day before the Hamas assault, “Secretary of State Antony Blinken quietly released $75 million in aid to the United Nations Palestine refugee agency.” An “apartheid regime” would not allow those it oppresses to enjoy such an inflow of resources.
Not to quarantine the Gaza Strip would be, for Israel, an act of national suicide. Given Hamas’s stated commitment to destroying Israel and the Jews living therein, does not placing Gaza under geographic sanction make only the most obvious kind of sense? The issue is not the Arabs living in Gaza but their cruel masters. That Hamas’s American defenders are not calling on this collection of brutes to end its oppressive reign of Gaza speaks not only to their distorted view of morality but their increasingly overt dedication to the cause of destroying Israel as a Jewish nation.
Pray for Israel. Pray for her persecutors. Pray that Jerusalem’s peace will be established and that in this time of crisis, the good news of the Jewish Messiah, a Man named Jesus, would reach more hearts and minds than ever before.
Rob Schwarzwalder, Ph.D., is Senior Lecturer in Regent University's Honors College.