Accusations of Israeli Apartheid Are Completely Disconnected from the Ugly Realities of South African History

Jan. 15 2021

This week, the Israeli human-rights group B’tselem issued a statement claiming that the Jewish state as a whole practices “apartheid,” a term it has heretofore avoided. The statement appeared in English, and was duly reported on by CNN, NBC News, and other major American news outlets, suggesting that the group, once well respected in Israel, is now engaged in what Matti Friedman has termed the “moral striptease.” Through careful comparison with the realities of apartheid-era South Africa, Eugene Kotorovich dissects B’tselem’s argument:

Despite massive systematic oppression of racial and ethnic minorities in countries from China to Sri Lanka to Sudan, the apartheid label has never been applied to those countries or any other country by the U.S. or anyone else. Invoking the heinous crime of apartheid [is to accuse] Jews, uniquely among the peoples of the world, of one of the most heinous crimes, while also judging the Jewish state by a metric not applied to any other country. And the clear agenda is to delegitimize Israel entirely: the remedy for apartheid is not reform, it is the abolition of the regime itself and a total reshaping of the government.

Under [South Africa’s] Reservation of Separate Amenities Act of 1953, municipal grounds could be reserved for a particular race, creating, among other things, separate beaches, buses, hospitals, schools, and universities. Inside of Israel there is no separation of this sort. In Judea and Samaria Israelis and Palestinians buy at the same stores, work together, etc. In South Africa public beaches, swimming pools, some pedestrian bridges, drive-in cinema parking spaces, parks, and public toilets were segregated. Restaurants and hotels were required to bar blacks. In Israel and all territories under its jurisdiction, Palestinians patronize the same shops and restaurants as Jews do.

Some policies do resemble apartheid rules—in particular, the Palestinian Authority’s prohibition, with severe penalties, of selling any real estate to Jews. Ironically, the closest thing in the region to an apartheid policy is not mentioned [by B’tselem] at all.

Read more at Kohelet

More about: Anti-Zionism, apartheid, NGO, South Africa

Israel Is Courting Saudi Arabia by Confronting Iran

Most likely, it was the Israeli Air Force that attacked eastern Syria Monday night, apparently destroying a convoy carrying Iranian weapons. Yoav Limor comments:

Israel reportedly carried out 32 attacks in Syria in 2022, and since early 2023 it has already struck 25 times in the country—at the very least. . . . The Iranian-Israeli clash stands out in the wake of the dramatic events in the region, chiefly among them is the effort to strike a normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and later on with various other Muslim-Sunni states. Iran is trying to torpedo this process and has even publicly warned Saudi Arabia not to “gamble on a losing horse” because Israel’s demise is near. Riyadh is unlikely to heed that demand, for its own reasons.

Despite the thaw in relations between the kingdom and the Islamic Republic—including the exchange of ambassadors—the Saudis remain very suspicious of the Iranians. A strategic manifestation of that is that Riyadh is trying to forge a defense pact with the U.S.; a tactical manifestation took place this week when Saudi soccer players refused to play a match in Iran because of a bust of the former Revolutionary Guard commander Qassem Suleimani, [a master terrorist whose militias have wreaked havoc throughout the Middle East, including within Saudi borders].

Of course, Israel is trying to bring Saudi Arabia into its orbit and to create a strong common front against Iran. The attack in Syria is ostensibly unrelated to the normalization process and is meant to prevent the terrorists on Israel’s northern border from laying their hands on sophisticated arms, but it nevertheless serves as a clear reminder for Riyadh that it must not scale back its fight against the constant danger posed by Iran.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, Syria