With a history of apartheid, it seems suitable that South Africa will be the platform to spearhead the Israel-Apartheid narrative and activists, Anti-Zionists and propagandists certainly use the hard earned democratic freedom to portray themselves as a beacon of righteousness shining from a free South Africa.
I have great respect for people standing up against injustice, but we often see justice not been served due to an imbalanced view which create more injustice.
Apartheid was an inhumane system, it is therefore appropriate to honour the legacy of the freedom fighters by honestly and soberly analysing the two scenarios, Israel and Apartheid South Africa. To bluntly and without factual background compare Israel to Apartheid South Africa is to trivialize the legacy of those who fight for freedom in South Africa.
It is thus important to analyse the elements of the South African Apartheid system to be able to make a fair and just comparison with the current situation in Israel.
Some of the basic elements of the South African Apartheid system:
- Non-whites, classified as Bantu (Black), coloured (mixed), or Indian, did not share full rights of citizenship with the white minority.
- Black people could not vote in Parliamentary elections
- Many public facilities and institutions were restricted to the use of one race only
- Black national states were established
- All blacks over the age of 16 had to carry identity documents
- Separate transport and other public facilities for non-whites
- The population was segregated into different areas on the basis of ethnic background
- The establishment of “ethnic universities” and the banning of non-white students from all other universities
- Organizations opposed to Apartheid were banned.
Some of the basic elements of the so called Israeli “Apartheid system”
- Palestinians living in Israel have full citizenship
- Israeli Arabs (Palestinians) have representatives in the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) and thus have full voting rights
- Public facilities and institutions are open for all
- Palestinians demand their own state. (A future Palestinian state will be free of Jews (Pres. Mahmoud Abbas), Palestinian President
- Security checkpoints between Israel and Palestinian territories are the result of violence against Jewish citizens.
- Jews and Palestinians share the same public transport and other public facilities. Jews and Palestinian doctors work side by side in Israeli hospitals
- Segregated areas based on demographic, political and religious reasons
- Israeli universities are open to all
- Freedom of speech is protected by law.
Based on these few comparisons, and there are many more, it is difficult to see how Israel can be labelled as an Apartheid state. It is thus ironic that the same activists and others, who launched the Apartheid campaign against Israel, are not concerned about the situation in some Arab countries including Gaza, where:
- Women are not allowed to drive a car
- Women and men are not allowed to work together in an office
- Jews are not allowed to live or buy property
- Christian churches are not allowed to be built
- Christians are persecuted, even Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem.
Before branding Israel as an Apartheid state, let us be honest with ourselves by taking all the facts into consideration and let us not be fooled by unsubstantiated propaganda.