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Countering Bias and Misinformation mainly about the Arab-Israel conflict

THE APARTHEID EPITHET AND BDS

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By Maurice Ostroff

 

Click here for more on apartheid

THE APARTHEID EPITHET and BDS  

 

The word “apartheid” is widely used as a pejorative propaganda epithet in the full knowledge that the description is unjustified.  As with every country in the world, there is much about Israel that justifies criticism, but apartheid is not among its warts. Even the most vocal critic of Israel, Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of the Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel movement (BDS), admits that the apartheid description is inaccurate. In an interview with Electronic Intifada on May 31, 2009, he said,” We don’t have to prove that Israel is identical to apartheid South Africa in order to justify the label “apartheid.”

 

In fact, real apartheid enforced by legislation is currently practiced in many countries including Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, but not in Israel. Even the new South Africa has been criticized for apartheid by none other than Al Jazeera.  In a TV program Riz Khan asked “Is class-based discrimination South Africa's new apartheid?”  http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/rizkhan/2010/11/2010112362142630788.html

 

In the Guardian of June 24, 2010, American Palestinian writer Ahmed Moor wrote that the vast majority of the 400,000 Palestinian refugees born and raised in Lebanon don’t have anything approaching the privilege that he enjoys in the US. He said Lebanon is the most hostile country to Palestinian refugees after Israel. “They are second-class citizens here. Racism is so widespread that African and Asian guest workers are openly barred from attending the beaches where Lebanese people frolic. And that's saying nothing of the often inhumane working conditions they are subjected to on a daily basis”.

See  http://www.2nd-thoughts.org/id289.html

 

Former US Ambassador to the UN, Daniel Patrick Moynihan declared categorically that the situation in Israel is not apartheid. He added that racism under apartheid was skin color. “Applied to Israel that's a joke: for proof just look at a crowd of Israeli Jews and their gradations in skin-color from the blackest to the whitest”.

 

In “The apartheid analogy: Lessons for Israel” (Jerusalem Post Feb. 20, 2011), Professor Gideon Shimoni, an acknowledged expert on the subject, wrote “While Israel's democratic constitution is certainly flawed, only hostile prejudice explains the ever-growing trend of comparing it with apartheid South Africa..in the propaganda war against Israel an equation is fabricated insidiously between the present State of Israel and the former apartheid state of South Africa. This must be exposed as a malicious slander, and utterly refuted”.

 

What BDS Organizers should have told us but didn’t

Labeling Israel as an apartheid state comparable with the old South Africa is the most potent weapon in the armory of BDS promoters.  The argument goes like this. Sanctions were effective against South African apartheid. Therefore if we merely associate Israel with apartheid, no matter that the appellation is unjustified, the world will simplistically support sanctions against apartheid Israel.

 

But did you know that BDS opposes the two state solution?

Many well-intentioned people believe the BDS movement is worthy of support because they mistakenly believe that BDS advocates the common goal to which the UN, the US, the EU and Russia as well as Israel all subscribe, namely two states, Israel and Palestine, existing side by side within agreed borders. But these supporters will be shocked to learn that in reality the BDS organizers actually oppose the two state solution.

 

Omar Barghouti, a leader of the BDS movement disclosed in an article in The Electronic Intifada in 2004, that the true aim of BDS in his words is “euthanasia” for Israel. The objective of BDS, he said, is one state to which all Palestinian refugees and their descendants will “return”. Barghouti is not referring to the original number of approximately 700,000 to whom the word “return” may apply but to the estimated 4.7 million presently defined by UNRWA as Palestinian refugees so as to achieve in his words “The two-state solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is really dead. Good riddance

See http://www.2nd-thoughts.org/id130.html and

http://electronicintifada.net/content/relative-humanity-fundamental-obstacle-one-state-solution-historic-palestine-12/4939

                                   

While most well-intentioned BDS supporters consider calls to end the occupation as meaning adjustment of the 1967 lines in terms of resolution 242, Barghouti rejects this concept outright. He doesn’t recognize Israel’s right even to the pre-‘67 borders.

http://electronicintifada.net/content/boycotts-work-interview-omar-barghouti/8263

 

These well-intentioned supporters of BDS will also be shocked to learn the real attitude of BDS organizers to the Palestinian Authority. In the above interview Barghouti stated “In the West Bank you have a largely quisling [traitor] government that is completely supporting Israel in anything it wants to do. They get immediate support from the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah, which is an unelected authority imposed by an American general” adding that a return of the refugees would end Israel’s existence as a Jewish state.

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ADDENDUM


MORE ABOUT ISRAEL and APARTHEID  (See also http://www.2nd-thoughts.org/id32.html )

 

It is interesting how the use of slogans in the advertising world has been successfully adopted by propagandists. Avis' "We try harder" and Coca Cola's "Pause that refreshes" have been effectively adapted to "Israel apartheid” and similar pithy, but not necessarily truthful messages

 

 A serious study will convince any impartial observer, that allegations of a similarity between the old South Africa’s apartheid regime and the Israeli system are spurious. Moreover, such false allegations are used as propagandistic slogans, unworthy of consideration by anyone who values moral integrity. Let's examine the FACTS.

 

In South Africa, apartheid was entrenched in the law and strictly enforced. The law not only denied the vote to Black citizens, it legislated to force discrimination in almost every aspect of daily life. In stark contrast, Israel’s Declaration of Independence specifically ensures complete equality of social and political rights to all inhabitants irrespective of religion, race, or gender. Israeli Muslims, Christians, Druse and other minority groups enjoy exactly the same civil and political rights as Jews. They serve in the Knesset and speak freely against the government.

 

Unfortunately, as in every country, injustices do occur but Israelis are proud of the fact that human rights organizations operate freely in Israel and that by contrast with neighboring states, they frequently win arguments even against the state. The litmus test is that in complete contrast to the despised South African laws, which enforced apartheid, the Israel high court upholds the civil rights of all citizens without distinction.

 

However, if the intention is to justify an opinion, formed before examining the relevant facts, one can always find spurious parallels between almost any country and apartheid; even Britain, to take an extreme example. In March 2007, the Guardian reported that Black and Asian women face significantly greater employment barriers than white women even in areas with high ethnic minority populations. On April 30 2007 the Guardian, reported that ethnic minorities suffer much greater levels of poverty than White Britons. Only one in four white children live in poverty compared with 74% of Bangladeshi children, 60% of Pakistani children, and 56% of black African children and that a baby born today will have its future dictated by race, not abilities or efforts and that ethnic minority groups are overlooked for jobs and are paid lower wages.

 

Of course, any informed logical person realizes that these statistics, quoted out of context, reflect a completely unrealistic picture of Britain, with its laudable history of racial tolerance, universal justice and strenuous efforts to ensure racial equality.

 

Parallels drawn between Israel and apartheid are as unjustified as they are offensive. Such comparisons, repeated by persons who should know better are not only intellectually dishonest; they are often lazy repetitions of catch phrases propagated by cynical propagandists.

 


Israeli hospitals and unbiased medical care

Before reading further it is worth viewing a CNN video clip about how Dr. Yuval Roth and his organization transport sick Palestinians into Israel to receive quality medical care. http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=dd2_1296461875

 

An unblinkered visit to an Israeli hospital will convince the most biased individual about the complete absence of any form of racial discrimination. Arab and Jewish doctors collaborate easily and in some hospitals Arabs outnumber Jewish patients. Especially noticeable after bombing incidents, is the equal treatment given to victims and perpetrators.

 

The Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem, treats thousands of patients of diverse ethnic backgrounds annually, without any trace of discrimination. Its international reputation for promoting peace in the Middle East region by providing equal treatment to Palestinians and Israelis was recognized by nomination for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize.

 

A study, published in Pediatrics, reported that from 1990-2000, Arab Israeli children received 66 kidneys from cadavers and Jewish children received 64. The waiting times for a kidney and the long-term outcome of surgery were identical for both   By comparison, studies carried out in the United States and other countries showed that minority groups in those places had significantly lower rates of kidney transplantation compared to the population's majority; apparently due to reduced access to medical care for minorities. In Israel, which has a system of universal health insurance, transplant surgery is covered by health funds and computers select patients on the basis of objective data.

 

Since its establishment in 1991, the Schneider Children’s Hospital  like other Israeli hospitals, provides equal specialized treatment to children from Israel, the Palestinian Authority and neighboring countries. Some 30% of patients come from the Arab sectors of Israel or from neighboring countries in the Middle East. Even in times of terror, the hospital welcomes Palestinian Arab children in the spirit of realizing peace, co-existence and mutual respect.

 

The Hospital’s ongoing unpublicized program to conduct cardiac catheterizations on critically ill Palestinian children from Gaza and the West Bank has enabled many Arab youngsters to undergo life-saving treatment in spite of political divides.

 

Typically, with the cooperation of the Israeli security forces, even during a wave of Arab violence, a three-week-old Palestinian baby, Mustapha Zaid was brought from the Palestinian town of Kalkiliya, suffering from severe respiratory distress. A CT scan showed the infant had a double oesophagus, a rare congenital defect. Senior surgeons operated immediately to alleviate the pressure, after which the baby was able to breathe for the first time without the assistance of a mechanical ventilator. Does this remotely resemble “apartheid”?

 

Israel’s achievements in providing healthcare and medical support to Palestinian society over past decades are highlighted in an article available at http://www.beyondimages.info/b110.html

 

 

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