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Robert Festenstein

The racism of the apartheid lie

We are all too familiar now with the phrase ‘cultural appropriation’. Essentially this is where words or phrases used by one group are adopted by another in a corrupted manner, sometimes accidentally, too often deliberately.

For us, the words holocaust and genocide are frequently used to describe the situation in Gaza, sometimes by way of drawing an equivalence between Gaza and the Shoah. It is of course maliciously dishonest, but the Jew-haters doesn’t let that bother them. For them it is just another lie (hideous at that) to trot out against the Jewish state.

Another word is Apartheid, which unfortunately has recently gained some ground, in describing Israel. I have been painfully aware of Israel Apartheid Week, a regular campaign run on British university campuses designed to intimidate Jewish students and spread lies about Israel all at the same time. The Universities claim there is nothing they can do about this, and their list of excuses runs into pages, usually surrounding issues of free speech or claiming that the stalls are set up in student buildings.

This is of course rubbish. I am certain that if a group wanted to set up stalls celebrating the British Empire the University would act with the speed of light in closing that down, claiming that this was intended to promote racist ideas.

I grew up in the 1970’s amongst increasing calls to boycott South Africa for their apartheid policy. Then we all knew what apartheid stood for. Now though, more than 30 years after it came to an end it is clear that those with their claims about Israel, are to put bluntly, clueless.

Apartheid was a policy of separate development, where the minority whites subjugated the majority black population in a variety of ways including restriction of movement, poorer quality education and healthcare. Where the real horror of apartheid was seen most vividly was in the operation of criminal justice. There really was one law for the whites and a different law for the blacks.

In 1978 the United States Department of Justice produced a paper entitled ‘South Africa – Racism and the Death Penalty’. It examined the application of the death penalty against blacks and whites. Part of the summary for chilling reading –

‘….between 1947 and 1969, 288 whites were convicted of rape of non-whites, and 844 blacks were convicted of rape of whites. Not a single white person was executed, but of the convicted blacks, 121 were sentenced to death, and 108 executed.’

Pause for a moment to consider this. Two people convicted of the same offense would be sentenced on the basis of the color of their skin! Not only were the majority black population denied the same rights and freedoms as their white counterparts, when it came to criminal justice their punishment was completely and horrifically different.

The position for Israeli Arabs is beyond any comparison with that of the majority black population of South Africa. Not only the claim that Israel is an apartheid state is a blatant lie, it wholly diminishes the reality of pre 1989 South Africa and plays down the discrimination against the black majority. In other words, telling lies about Israel trumps any casual racism against black South Africans, they are just collateral damage in the latest round of Jew-hate.

About the Author
Robert Festenstein is a solicitor based in Manchester with considerable experience in Court actions. He is active in fighting the increase in anti-Semitism in the UK and is President of the Zionist Central Council, an organisation devoted to promoting and defending the democratic State of Israel.
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