Those who accuse Israel of being an Apartheid State are speaking out of the wrong orifice. They could not have lived under that odious system otherwise they would know what it was really like and shut their mouths.
I write now as one who took part in a lark painting walls with the letters OHMS – On Her Majesty’s Service. I was the only one caught by Apartheid-era police, and even though refusing to disclose the names of the others, I was physically assaulted and splashed with their urine.
Under Apartheid, blacks and anyone else not white, were subjected to horrific discrimination. Most importantly, they were never allowed to sit in parliament or vote for candidates. Segregation was applied rigorously to schools, universities, hospitals, the civil service, residential and commercial areas, public benches, toilets, hotels, restaurants, sports, beaches, and other facilities.
Those who lived under Apartheid will never forget benches, toilets, and other amenities painted very visibly with the mandate: Slegs vir Blankes – the Afrikaans for Whites Only.
It debased and dehumanized only people of color, in ways that the Nuremberg laws discriminated only against Jews under the Nazi regime.
There were no exceptions. It was cruel, offensive, inhumane, ruthless, and sickening.
Decades ago, when I edited a university magazine in that genuine Apartheid State, I took issue with this draconian attitude. I ended by quoting from that well-known Italian fascist, Benito Mussolini. Before partisans killed and hanged him upside down, he had said, “The State is all-embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist, much less have value.”
Those who legislated for, and enforced Apartheid, were guilty of heinous policies against people of different colors. In no way can Israel be tainted with or associated with the slogan, Apartheid State.
Consider just some of the foremost differences. Arab men and women citizens can vote in elections. Opposition Arabs have seats in the Knesset, where they make no bones about their virulent speeches against the government. An Arab sits on the bench of the highest court in the land, where the judiciary is free and independent, often siding with Palestinian litigants against settlers. There is no law against people of color and different faiths and customs from being in schools, universities, hospitals, the civil service, hotels, restaurants, sports, beaches, and other facilities. The press is free and robust, from the far-right to the far-left.
Wild-eyed critics of Israel will always be with us, spouting their nonsensical fantasies. Their sole aim is to stigmatize and blacken the good name of Israel. They should be pelted with the truth, time and again, when they equate Israel with Apartheid. People who know what Apartheid was are obligated to speak out, again and again. This does not mean they should stop condemning the ignorant for what they really are – dangerous morons and hyperventilating No-Nothings
Perhaps those people who find such fault with Israel, while ignoring the real human rights violations in the rest of the world, particularly in the Middle East, will eventually cease associating Israel with Apartheid. But it is a far-fetched hope, especially, as the saying goes, you can take an ass to the water, but you cannot make it drink.
Anthony S. Pitch is the author of 12 non-fiction books and has been featured 17 times on American national television.