While the claim that that the Jewish state is somehow equivalent to pre-1990s South Africa is an old one, Amnesty International announced the publication of its 278-page report repeating this canard with much fanfare. Justin Danilewitz observes that there is much more at stake than its incoherent arguments and mangling of the facts:
I was born and raised in South Africa during apartheid. Those of us who witnessed that crime up close—to say nothing of our compatriots who were its immediate victims—know full well that the political status of Israel’s Arab citizens bears no resemblance in any imaginable way to that of blacks who suffered for 45 years under a monstrous system. Despite the socioeconomic inequity that exists in Israel (as in every other country), Israeli Arabs are promised by law the full panoply of political and civic rights that were denied non-white South Africans. Any comparison is a perversion of history, reason, and morality. It is an offense to the victims of apartheid. And it is a slander against the state of Israel.
Yet the report’s authors themselves admit that it “does not seek to argue” that Israel’s “system of domination and oppression” is “the same or analogous to the system” that existed in apartheid-era South Africa. What then is the purpose of this new campaign, besides an elaborate publicity stunt? The answer becomes clear in Amnesty’s suggested remedies, which include granting the “right of return” to Palestinian refugees (a “right” not recognized for any other people or group); the trying of Israel by international legal bodies; and boycotts, divestment, and sanctions.
Any differences between this platform and those of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine are purely cosmetic, not substantive. Amnesty’s recommendations come packaged in a glossy and colorful report, but this is legal warfare (“lawfare,” as some have aptly called it) against the Jewish state. The goal, unmistakably, is the destruction of Israel. . . . Lest there be any mistake about this, Amnesty’s U.S. director, Paul O’Brien, declared before an audience in March that Israel “shouldn’t exist as a Jewish state.”
Finally, the human-rights organizations that have internalized the Palestinian narrative, and now aid and abet international lawfare, do the Palestinians more harm than good. [Their approach] furnishes maximalist Palestinian leaders with sham legitimacy and institutional cover to wage war and keep their people in misery.