The apartheid canard so freely being bandied about by people who have absolutely no idea of what apartheid is. Apartheid was a system of institutionalised racial segregation that the Nationalist government in South Africa instituted to protect the white minority and ensure its domination over other racial groups based on the colour of their skin.
I lived most of my life in South Africa through the darkest days of apartheid to the dawning of democracy to what it has now evolved to today. I have now been living in Israel for the past two years and those commentators and see nothing of what I understand to be apartheid here or in Palestine.
Allow me to illustrate some examples of what apartheid in practice was:
There were separate entrances to any official building, separate toilets, schools, park benches, beaches, busses, hospitals and clinics, school curriculum’s, cinema’s, theatres, restaurants — all vastly inferior for those who were not white-skinned people.
Love across the colour line was forbidden by law. People of colour were forbidden to live in “white” areas. There are many, many more examples of this abhorrent system I could detail but space does not permit.
Any negative reporting or criticism of the state would have been immediately shut down, banned and those responsible would be victimized and jailed, yet B’Tselm operates openly in Israel together with other human rights organizations vigorously opposed to Israel’s occupation and other policies but these do not suffer the kind of victimization that was apartheid, in fact, there is any number of groups and publications openly hostile to government policies that have an open platform for expression.
Like every country on the globe, Israel has its warts and is far from perfect. There are many issues that I am opposed to and am fiercely against the occupation and neither vote for the ruling party, but having lived most of my life in South Africa and now live in Israel I have not seen nor experienced anything that remotely resembles what apartheid was.
However journalists should present two sides to a story and practice journalistic integrity — any journalist has the right to present a view but at least present the whole story and not only a one-sided distorted and untrue version without any background. It seems clear that Israel’s success with forging ties with some previously hostile Arab countries and more importantly her success in its vaccination program has irritated the likes of her critics who cannot see anything positive coming out of Israel. Had Israel produced an effective vaccine against the Covid19 and shared it at no cost with the world, the B’Tselm and Co. would still dig deep to find fault in such an enterprise. To the likes of those who thrive on hate, how can anyone digest such opinions?