By: Prof. Ervin Birnbaum
It is surprising and stunning to observe that some supposedly highly informed people refer to the State of Israel as an "apartheid" State.
Apartheid is defined in the Webster New Universal Unabridged Dictionary as "the policy of strict racist segregation and discrimination". When one considers that Dr. Salman Zarka, a Druse physician, born in the village of Peki'in in Northern
Galillee, became this month the Director-General of Safed's Medical Center, after having served for years as the highest commander of the Israel Defence Forces' Center for Medical Services, one wonders how in the world he managed to
avoid the punishing apartheid supposedly imposed by Israel on its minorities.
When I consider Dr. J. Daka, my wonderful dentist, welcoming his numerous Jewish patients with a wide smile in his clinic
in the city of Netanya, although he is an Arab from a neighboring Arab village, I wonder how in the world he manages to
avoid the punishing apartheid inflicted by Israel on its Arabs.
When you travel from Netanya to Afuleh in the direction of Mount Tabor, where the prophetess Deborah fought a victorious
battle against Yavin the King of Hazor 3,300 years ago, and you pass near millitant Arab-Muslim strongholds such as the city
of Umm-El-Fahem, you can't help but stare mouth agape at the beautiful villas inhabited by the Arabs in the heart of Israel.
Now if that is apartheid, believe you me, friend, it pays to live under apartheid.
All one needs to do is to check reliable statistics from impartial sources to receive revealing statistics about which State
treats its religious, ethnic, racial and other minorities as human beings. The only State in the Middle East where the Christian minority of any racial, color or economic background increased in recent decades is Israel.
Consider the following figures, easily checked out: In 1948 there were in Syria 27,000 Jews; today there are 100. In Lebanon
there were 10,000 Jews in the 1950's; today there are less then 100. In Iraq there were 125,000 Jews in 1948; today there
are zero. In Yemen the number of Jews dropped from 45,000 in 1948, to approximately 200. And so on, down the roster of
Arab lands. Yet the Jews who were driven out of Arab lands form no refugee camps because their sisters and brothers in
Israel were ready to welcome them and help them. Yet, there are numerous Arab refugee camps, poor people whom their
brothers were not ready to embrace and kept them in consistent squalor. Would it be out of line to consider that this was done and continues to be done for a political purpose, though it lacks a sense of humanness?
To call Israel an Apartheid state is at best a gross distortion, a lack of understanding of the meaning of the term. However,
in many cases it is simply an outright, blasphemous lie. It is exploited for political ends, taking advantage of well-meaning
individuals of all ages and all professions from university students to high-level academics who believe what they see in
print, or what they are being told by people who are capable without blushing to look straight into their listeners' eyes and
utter the famous BIG LIE. Precisely because of its absurd enormity, it would seem preposterous to be uttered were it a lie --
and yet, that is exactly what it is -- a lie. It is a useful tactics, exploiting the psychological weakness of good people who can't
even begin to fathom the enormity of such distortion. This tactics was used in the past, it is used today, and no doubt will be
used in the future, by all dictators, zealots, insanely ambitious people whether it be a Stalin, Hitler, Ahmedinejad, Arafat or
others who cannot attain their goals by truthful and honest means.
Among those who are forced to resort to highly devious means to attain their ends in destroying the State of Israel is the so-
called "Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions" group. One of the examples of how they operate was produced at the University
of Harvard, as recorded in the daily paper of the University campus, "The Harvard Crimson" in an article entitled "HUDS
(Harvard University Dining Services) Suspends Puchases from Israeli Soda Company". It relates that "some members of the College Palestine Solidarity Committee and the Harvard Islamic Society" cited "discomfort with...the potential" of Sodastream
machines produced in Israel "to offend those affected by the Israel-Palestine conflict". Since this discomfort "could be offensive to Palestinian students", Rachel J. Sandalow-Ash, a member of the Harvard College Progressive Jewish Alliance, agreed that these machines not be used on the university campus. Miss Sandalow-Ash claims that her stand is neither anti-Israel nor anti-Semite. It is purely a stand against the occupation.
Surely, it would have been proper for Miss Sandalow-Ash to ask herself several questions before reaching her decision.
Is Sodastrem really in occupied territory? Sodastream is relocating its facility to undisputed, non-controversial land in Israel's Negev. It could be considered "occupied" land only if you agree with the extreme Palestinian stand that all of Israel, including Tel Aviv and Haifa, are to be viewed as occupied land -- in other words, that Israel has no right to exist. This is indeed, one of the basic principles of the Boycott group. It goes hand in hand with the group's demand for the return of all the refugees to Israel. Is this what Miss Sandalow-Ash desires?
The representative of the Jewish Alliance could have further taken into account not only the discomfort of the Palestinian
students, but also the feelings of the Jewish students, who could wonder why one should introduce a soda-machine into
the Israel-Palestine conflict? How far should one go in playing games with those so-called "microaggressions"? The head
of Hammas, Halled Masshal, recently sent his daughter for treatment to an Israeli hospital. Since this could have been a
matter affecting life, I could see his refusing Israeli medication. However he evidently didn't. But to wipe the faces of thousands of Jewish students in the dirt by offending them and causing them potential discomfort in refusing a product just because it is manufactured in Israel, that seems to be allright for Miss Sandalow-Ash. Yet, God forbid, don't call her anti-Israel nor an anti-Semite. After all, she is Jewish, representing a Progressive Jewish Alliance. How could she be less sensitive to Jewish feelings and needs than to her Palestinian cousins?
One can feel overwhelming pity for good individuals who do not see how they become instruments of evil, not realizing that a Palestine Solidarity Committee and an Islamic Society are utilizing them for their own satanic ends of destroying Israel through boycott. Would it perhaps be helpful to Rachel J. Sandalow-Ash and to hundreds of dedicated Jewish students throughout the campuses of American Universities, and to thousands of well-meaning Jews throughout the United States, to point out that when Hitler became Chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933, precisely two months later, on April 1 he came out with his first manifest anti-Jewish act which consisted of an ECONOMIC BOYCOTT. Throughout Germany gigantic posters appeared on billboards informing the German public of a general boycott on Jewish businesses. The posters read:
Till Saturday morning,10 o'clock
The jews are given to reflect
Then the fight begins!
GERMAN VOLK, DEFEND YOURSELVES
DO NOT BUY FROM JEWS!
The day, April 1, 1933, marked the beginning of the stage of psychological isolation of the Jews in Germany.
Let us be aware. History has a tendency to repeat itself.
Ervin Birnbaum is Professor of Political Science at City University of New York, Haifa University and Moscow University of Humanities. He published numerous books including "The Islamic State of Pakistan", "Politics of Compromise" and "In the Shadow of the Struggle", and most recently "Turning Obstacles into Stepping Stones". firstname.lastname@example.org