Even after Gaza firing earlier this year some 4,300 rockets at Israel’s civilian population, the false “Zionism = Apartheid” advocates are girding their loins to once again try to delegitimise Israel at the upcoming 20th Anniversary of the UN World Conference Against Racism (WCAR), also known as Durban IV.

If ever a misnomer, we know it by its more common parlance as the infamous Durban Conference.

Their concern shown for the plight of the Palestinians is undermined against the backdrop of the slaughter going on today in the Middle East and North and East Africa – a humanitarian tragedy that significantly escapes their attention.

Such slaughter raises little to no concern because of their preoccupation with Israel.

It is wearying to once more point out the deceitful propaganda posing as facts. Here are a few salient points starting with Israel’s “disproportionate” response against attacks on its country:

Despite Israel over the years encountering incessant attacks on its civilians and their properties from Gaza,  the Jewish state only significantly responds when the situation has so escalated that it has little alternative.

Yet how does an unsympathetic world react? It wrings its hands and cries “disproportionate”. What is disproportionate, one may ask?

When Israel does react, it does so with care and circumspection. Col. Richard Kemp, former commander of the British Forces in Afghanistan said it best:

Based on my knowledge and experience I can say that … the Israeli defense forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in combat situations than any other army in the history of warfare.” 

Safeguarding Civilians. Explaining the truth about Israel’s military, Col. Richard Kemp, a former British Army officer who served from 1977-2006 fighting terrorism and insurgency, commanding British troops on the front line of some of the world’s toughest hotspots, including Afghanistan, Iraq, the Balkans and Northern Ireland.

The charges against Israel reveal much more about those who make them than it does about their target.

Stopping the Slaughter

Much ink is expended in accusing Israel of being an Apartheid state, citing the checkpoints, the security fence and segregated roads. But these critics remain reticent about the forced segregation and anti-gay legislation, which does not exist in Israel but does in Israel’s neighbouring countries. Critics focus on the border between sovereign Israeli territory and the disputed territories of the West Bank, ignoring the efficacy of controls that keep civilians from being murdered. 

The much criticised security barrier for example has been hugely successful in protecting civilians. In 2000, the Palestinian leadership launched a massive wave of suicide bombers into Israel, leading to more than 1,300 civilian deaths and 10,000 injuries. Since the erection of the barrier, these staggering statistics have been reduced to almost zero. 

Death Downtown. Israel needs a security wall to prevent massacres like this suicide bombing in August 2001 that killed 15 people and wounded more than 80 others at the Sbarro pizzeria in downtown Jerusalem. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The same can be explained about separate roads for Israelis of whatever culture or religion. After numerous attacks on Israeli motor vehicles, hitchhikers and civilians at bus stops, Israel responded to the incessant slaughter by creating  separate bypass roads, inspections of suspicious cars and revoking permission for family members of killers to work in Israel. This made it harder for Palestinian terrorists to treat pedestrian precincts as killing grounds. 

Rebuffing Peace

In the last 21 years alone, Palestinian Authority leaders rejected US and Israeli negotiation offers in 2000, 2001 and 2008 without proposing counter offers. The 2008 offer would have provided Palestinians with 93.7% of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), a capital in eastern Jerusalem, and land swaps for the remaining 6.3% of “West Bank” territory. That offer served as the basis for US proposals to restart negotiations in 2014 and 2016 — the latter made by then Vice President and today President of the USA –  Joe Biden.

All were rejected out-of-hand, despite the fact that the Oslo Accords, which created the PA, called for outstanding issues to be resolved through bilateral negotiations. As part of Oslo, Palestinian leaders around the table agreeing to peace and stability promised to “renounce the use of terrorism and other acts of violence”, and to amend the Palestinian National Charter, which denied Israel’s right to exist. This still remains part of the Hamas Covenant as well.

In major and purportedly detailed articles, foreign correspondents fail to detail any of the rejected peace offers. It is as if they never happened. Instead, they indulge in false equivalency, writing that “Top Biden aides have said they can’t pursue a peace deal when neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis appear ready for serious conversations.” Yet, as noted above, Israel has made serious proposals and as a gesture, halted all construction work in disputed territories. What did Abbas deliver? For ten months during which discussions were due to commence, the Palestinians refused to turn up.

The Apartheid Libel

The false Apartheid libel becomes even more offensive in the larger context of Apartheid practices that occur in the entire Middle East including in the Palestinian territories. For example, The PA has a law invoking the death penalty for selling land to Jews. The PA has declared that no Jew will be allowed to live in a future state of Palestine. On the other hand, Arabs, Muslims, Christians and all others across religious and cultural divides live, own property and work in Israel.

Sabreen Saadi became the first hijab-wearing Muslim woman to attain the rank of lieutenant in the Israel Police. Saadi comes from a traditional Muslim family in a Bedouin town in northern Israel. Since 2016, when the Israeli government established a special unit aimed at improving policing and security in the country’s Arab communities, more than 600 Arab men and 55 Arab women enlisted in the Israel Police. Eight new police stations were established in the Arab sector, with the intention of adding ten more. 

Arab countries with large Palestinian populations – notably Lebanon, Jordan and Syria  – practice statutory apartheid against Palestinians, including denying them the right to work in most professions, attaining citizenship, passports, education and freedom of movement.

Forgotten People. Unable to blame Israel, where were the cries of global anguish for the suffering of the Kurds following Turkish troops launching an attack on Kurdish northern Syria after US troops pulled out? (Photo. Ilyas Akengin)

In Saudi Arabia, non-Muslims are severely discriminated against by the government, yet those who accuse Israel of Apartheid seem never to complain about such official discrimination. And so it goes on. To any objective person it would be evident that many of the practices that characterized South African Apartheid while absent in Israel, are very much present in many of the Arab countries in the Middle East.

 Over and above the strategy to delegitimise the only Jewish state and to hold it to different standards from the rest of the world, critics of Israel hide behind the argument that they are not antisemitic but “anti-Zionist”, all the while seeking to blur the distinction between the two concepts. They  disregard Jewish people’s right to self-determination, despite promoting their distorted definition of Zionism as an Apartheid system. Even more so, they seek to rewrite any manifestation of Jewish identity that does not fit their propaganda in which they align Jews with the South African Apartheid regime.

Hardly Apartheid. In 2020, Sergeant Sa’adi became the first Hijab wearing Muslim woman to attain the Rank of Lieutenant in the Israeli Police.

Those ostensibly supporting Palestinians, devalue their cause by quoting from propaganda and not from independent sources. One such independent source is Freedom House, which evaluates countries throughout the world and apportions a percentage score dependent on each country’s human rights performance. Israel scores 79%  despite facing constant terrorism and ranks above every country in the Middle East and North Africa, with Syria scoring a low of minus-one and Jordan a high of 37%. Israel’s record is better than South Africa’s 78% and just behind the USA at 86%.

Who Cared? With no Israel to blame, where was the UN, the international media and human rights NGOs when the Yazadis in Syria were fleeing for their lives from ISIS?

If the Palestinians were to use the billions they receive to build dams instead of attack tunnels, educational structures instead of colleges of hatred and indoctrination, water conservation infrastructure instead of rockets and other weaponry, Israel would be the first to offer a hand of friendship and cooperation. Proof of this are the 2020 Abraham Accords that is illuminating a new progressive direction in the Middle East.

New Directions. Following the 2020 Abraham Accords, Israel’s President Isaac Herzog (left), shakes hands with United Arab Emirates Ambassador to Israel Mohamed Al Khaja during the opening ceremony for the new UAE Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel, Wednesday, July 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

It is astonishing that 73 years after Ben-Gurion’s Declaration of Independence in 1948, a period that includes more than 16 wars, continuous terrorism, existential threats, refusals of neighbours to accept a Jewish State, BDS, Palestinian intransigence, global anti-Semitism, anti-Israel movements, UN bullying, media obsession, and the persistent antisemitism emanating from the recuring Durban Conferences, miniscule Israel is:

  • The 11th happiest country on Earth (beating the US, Germany, UK and of course South Africa),
  • The 4th best place on Earth to raise children.
  • Remains in 2021 the only democracy in the Middle East and a thriving place for minority groups.
  • Is a technological, water and medical superpower and has more start-up companies per capita than anywhere on earth that intricately affect our lives everywhere.

Israel has enriched the world in spite of adversity with the fruits of her innovation, and the world has thrived as a result.

There are those who say that they are “offended” by Israel’s actions. I too am “offended”, not by trumped up accusations of disrespect, but by beheadings of civilians, cowardly attacks on public and private buildings, attacks on Westerners for the crime of drinking beer at their local pubs, suicide murders, murders of Christian priests in Middle Eastern countries, burning of Christian churches and Jewish Synagogues, the continued persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt, the imposition of Sharia law on non-Muslims and Muslims alike, the rape of Scandinavian girls and women and what we are witnessing tragically unfolding in Afghanistan today.

As countries gather for the UN World Conference Against Racism, one hopes that after 73 years, instead of conspiring to undermine the legitimacy of Israel  with false narratives, they instead embrace the Jewish people’s right to their ancestral homeland.

1st published on Lay of the Land.

Get Newsi In Your Inbox

Rodney Mazinter

RODNEY MAZINTER, a Cape Town based writer, poet and author. Past vice-chair of the South African Zionist Federation, Cape Council, he has held numerous leadership positions within a range of educational,...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *