For the past nine years the International Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has organised a well-funded, internationally co-ordinated hate fest against Israel in more than 250 university cities around the world. The event aims to classify Israel as an apartheid state, thereby delegitimising its right to exist because apartheid is a crime against humanity. So the series of events that extend over a week is branded “Israel Apartheid Week” and usually takes place early on in the academic year, in February or March.
Because there are no race-based laws in Israel, any argument or analogy to the apartheid regime is a fabrication of reality. The analogy is malicious and slanderous and serves a political agenda that wishes to punish and weaken Israeli society, with the ultimate intention of destroying the state apparatus completely. Israel is a society comprised of wave after wave of immigrants. Each wave brought with it, unique ethnic and religious traditions. Israel is a multi-ethnic and multiracial melting pot. The only explanation for wanting to ”delegitimise’’ Israel through stigmatisation is because it is different from all its neighbours. In truth it is the only Jewish state in the world and tellingly the only democratic state in the Middle East. Notably it is one of only 22 democratic states in the entire world that have been able to endure and maintain their intrinsic democratic institutions since 1950. It is ranked as the only ”truly free” state in the Middle East.
Because the Israeli-Arab conflict has nothing to do with race, its roots are entirely different to apartheid, which was a structure based on the premise of race and of maintaining the separation of races. In Israel Arabs and Jews are indistinguishable on the basis of race, which definitively removes race or the separation of races as a factor in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The struggle between Israel with its Jewish character and Palestine with its predominantly Muslim character has more to do with a clash of religions and lifestyles, which is again very dissimilar to apartheid, where the majorities of both antagonists, black and white were predominantly Christian.
The proponents of BDS are not prepared to acknowledge that the use of another analogy may be more appropriate because they specifically aim to crucify Israel on the apartheid cross. The analogy is a misnomer with no foundation in fact. They refer to the security barrier as the ”apartheid wall” because they allege it separates Israelis from Palestinians. What they refuse to acknowledge is that Israeli citizens are also entitled to human rights — the right to live in safety and security, to have access to safe public transport and freedom of movement, which the ”security barrier” affords them. The security fence restricts the movement of Israelis also — precisely because it is a security barrier. The security fence, although temporary, moreover serves as a de facto border between the UN recognised state of Palestine and Israel and is no different from any border control, particularly between hostile states, that with good reason restricts and controls the freedom of movement of people. The ”barrier” has reduced the incidence of terror attacks from being an almost daily occurrence to almost zero, literally overnight.
The most severe criticisms of Israel usually relate to the treatment of Palestinians in the so-called ”occupied” West Bank. One needs to remind these critics that nearly all (more than 98%) of the Palestinian people in the West Bank live under their own self-government — under the rule of the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authority accepted self-government under the Oslo Accords in 2003. The fact that some Palestinians still live in refugee camps is a deliberate ploy to maintain the refugee status of these people, to entitle them to refugee relief from the United Nations Works and Relief Agency and to perpetuate their yearning to return to the land of Israel.
Perpetuating the suffering of the Palestinians is a cynical and cruel policy of the neighbouring Arab states that refuse to allow Palestinians to become integrated into their societies. This spiteful policy, which qualifies to be labelled as a ”war crime” or ”a crime against humanity” is aided and abetted by almost all the members of the United Nations and particularly the European Union. Of all the policies in the region, the perpetuation of the separation of the Palestinian refugees from their host societies resembles most closely the depraved policies of the apartheid era. If the BDS proponents were genuine in their concern for the Palestinian people, they should express their outrage at the regimes that keep people holed up in refugee camps for generation after generation. By not speaking out they show that they care more for political grandstanding than for the welfare of the Palestinian people.
The Palestinian Authority has moreover clearly nailed its principles to the apartheid mast when President Abu Mazen clearly stated that no, not one, Israeli would be allowed to reside in the future Palestinian state. This statement is nothing short of genocidal, because it renounces the rights of Israelis, meaning Jews, to live in a territory that 2 000 years ago was the heartland of two Jewish kingdoms, Judea and Samaria. Abu Mazen has moreover also stated emphatically that there was no Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, where the Wailing Wall remains. This is ethnic cleansing in its most extreme form and deserves condemnation. It displays an utter disregard for the values and rights of Jews. It indicates a continuation of the Jordanian policy, between 1948 and 1967, which oversaw the destruction of all Jewish temples in the Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem and which forbade Jews from even being able to visit the site most holy to them, the Wailing Wall.
The BDS agenda to harm and destroy Israel is typical of all boycott movements in that it apportions blame only to one side. It doesn’t prescribe a solution, rather it contributes to the continuation of the problem. It results in closures of factories that employ the people that it purports to want to help. It is entirely impervious to the suffering of the people it claims to speak for. BDS is blind to the racism, religious intolerance and ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the side it identifies with and this makes BDS fundamentally dishonest.