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On the 12th January 2021, the Guardian published an op-ed in which the head of the anti-Israel NGO B’tselem asserts that “We are Israel’s largest human rights group – and we are calling this apartheid”.

See following statement from ZF Chairman Paul Charney, some of which was included in a The Jewish News article here

In response to the Guardian’s op-ed published today, 12th January 2021, in which the head of the anti-Israel NGO B’tselem asserts that “We are Israel’s largest human rights group – and we are calling this apartheid”, the Zionist Federation of the UK and Ireland wholeheartedly rejects this malicious claim.

The author conveniently omits that Israel is home to over 1.8 million Arabs who have the same rights and freedoms as their Jewish counterparts. The Palestinians who live in the West Bank are under the governance of the Palestinian Authority and those who live in Gaza are under the governance of Hamas. Israel has Israeli Arabs in the Knesset and they are represented throughout Israeli society, from government and the judiciary to healthcare and hi-tech. Perhaps one of the most telling examples of Israel’s pluralistic society is how a record number of Israeli Arabs enlisted in Israel’s IDF during 2020, with many of them serving in combat roles in prominent brigades.

The decades-long conflict has of course created societal issues in Israel that need to be changed, many of which continue to be actively addressed, but to use such a strong and emotive word such as “apartheid” to slander the Jewish state is both dishonest and grossly diminishes the suffering of the many millions of Black South Africans under the real former South African apartheid regime.

It is at times like that this that is incumbent upon all supporters of Israel to remind ourselves and others that Israel is the world’s only Jewish country and accordingly, the majority there is Jewish. The need for a Jewish homeland was recognised and ratified by the international community from 1917 through to Israel’s establishment in 1948.

It is also worth reminding ourselves that a 2017 UN report accusing Israel of apartheid was not supported by the international body’s leadership and was ultimately removed from its website.

This article is nothing more than an attempt to grab the headlines and mislead, but with very little to no substance at all.

Further reading on this issue:

  • The original Guardian op-ed by B’tselem’s Executive Director Hagai El-Ad can be read here.
  • The Embassy of Israel in UK’s rebuttal in the Guardian can be read here.
  • A rebuttal to this malicious smear, written by Professor Alan Johnson of Fathom Journal can be read here.
  • Click here to read an excellent breakdown of the original Guardian op-ed by CameraUK