This week the South African government voted on a resolution to downgrade their embassy in Israel as a symbolic message of their criticism of Israel’s history. Why? Take a look at this quote from the bill:
“The state of Israel was built through the displacement, murder, and maiming of Palestinians. And to maintain their grip on power, they have instituted Apartheid to control and manage Palestinians.”
Yes; you heard that ladies and gentlemen. South Africa, of all nations, is accusing Israel of apartheid.
As I will lay out in the following paragraphs, this accusation is not only false, but vile and disgusting.
When Jews returned to the land of Israel before and around 1948, the land was vastly uninhabited.
Although no one has been able to establish any figures as to population densities for sure, many historians estimate that in the years building up to 1948 Israel was home to a little over a million Arabs and 650,000 or so Jews. In a country roughly the size of New Jersey, this is largely uninhabited.
When Israel declared statehood in 1948, the conflict with the local Arab population was not of Israel’s own choosing. The Arab States were the ones to declare war on Israel. And it was war; no mistake about it. Unfortunately with that war, as in all wars, came suffering, death, and relocation of populations. Revisionists have tried to claim that the Israeli military forced Palestinians en masse to flee from their native villages, but this is in no way remotely close to true.
Palestinians left their homes in Israel for a variety of reasons. Wealthy Arabs fled in anticipation of the war. Many more left in response to the Arab leader’s calls to get out of the way of advancing armies, and a handful were expelled for strategic reasons. This happens in war, and again, this was not a war of Israel’s choosing. It was a war of self defense.
Is There Actually Apartheid in Israel?
But what about the apartheid claim; does that apply to Israel?
The answer is a resounding, “no.”
In “Israel Proper” (the section of the State that has been annexed, outside of Judea and Samaria), Arabs and Jews are treated exactly the same. They live in the same cities, drive on the same roads, have the same rights, protections, voting rights, etc.
In Judea and Samaria, Israel has not officially annexed the territory, meaning by definition a different set of standards will be set for all residents living there to what applies inside of “Israel Proper.”
Israeli citizens (Arabs or Jews from Israel proper) maintain their full rights and privileges as citizens. Non-Israeli Arabs living in Judea or Samaria hold residency under the Palestinian Authority as agreed to under the Oslo Accords established in the 1990s.
This means that they operate with autonomy to the State of Israel; running their own communities with their own public services, policing, and elected officials. Some communities are shared with Jews, along with most public roads. Many businesses and services are jointly operated.
This is the dynamic on the ground because Israel has not annexed Judea and Samaria. It is absolutely not ideal. How would Israel fix the situation and apply similar treatment for both Israeli and non-Israeli Arabs and Jews? Many would argue annexation is the answer, applying national Statehood to Judea and Samaria and giving willing Arabs some kind of Israeli residency. I’m guessing this is not the answer you’re looking for, South Africa.
Now to the ridiculous apartheid claim. The definition of apartheid according to the Merriam Webster dictionary is as follows:
Racial Segregation. Specifically: a former policy of segregation and political, social, and economic discrimination against the non white majority in the Republic of South Africa.
This means there is no way the label apartheid can possibly apply to the State of Israel.
One, Israel doesn’t segregate on the basis of race. There is separation of nationalities in Judea and Samaria, but not on the basis of race. Arabs can be Israelis just as easily as Jews.
Two, Israel is not South Africa.
These are basic facts and basic history, things the government of South Africa should be well aware of. And it means that either the government of South Africa is creating policy based on extreme, unprecedented ignorance, or they are purposely spreading a false narrative in regards to Israel, to whitewash their own past with a mindblowing run of gross virtue signaling.
I would guess the latter, especially when you read this other paragraph from the statement:
“By passing this resolution, we are sending a powerful message to the world that South Africa remains a beacon of hope and a shining example of what is possible when we come together in pursuit of a more just and equitable world… This resolution demands accountability from Israel,” he said. “It is a courageous move that demonstrates our commitment as a country to justice, human rights and freedom.”
I’m guessing this resolution and stance by the government of South Africa is not a reflection of the will of the people. I personally know many South African Zionists who would stop at nothing to defend the State of Israel.
So, South Africans, if you love the place where God chose to put His name forever, make your voices heard. We stand with you in this fight. Let’s support Israel’s right to apply sovereignty in Judea and Samaria.