An event titled “Trivializing History: How Anti-Israel Activists Have Hijacked the South African ‘Apartheid’ Label to Attack the Jewish State” was organized by the Combat Antisemitism Movement, the WZO and NGO Monitor, where world leaders discussed the misappropriation of the term “apartheid” and its use against Israel.
Leaders from around the world spoke out on June 30 against the use of the term ‘apartheid’ as a reference to Israel. Apartheid was a system of institutionalised racial oppression that existed in South Africa and South-West Africa from 1948 until the early 1990s. Lately, the term has been used with the goal of defaming and isolating Israel by portraying it as a racist entity.
Diplomats, legislators, and policymakers discussed what must be done to restore the “apartheid” term to its proper context and delegitimize its use in discourse about a conflict to which it has no relevance, reports The Jerusalem Post.
The conference was co-hosted by the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM), World Zionist Organization (WZO) and NGO Monitor.
“Categorizing Israel as an apartheid state is just plain antisemitic,” said Vice President of the European Parliament and Special Envoy on Combating Religious Discrimination Including Antisemitism Nicola Beer.
“In my opinion, such characterization counters progress made in the region concerning the peace process,” she said. “Instead, it deepens the rifts and fuels antisemitism around the world.”
The apartheid campaign questions the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state and its democratic values by framing it as an inherently racist state.
During the past 18 months, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International published reports accusing Israel of being apartheid, and the UN established two bodies where the claim of apartheid will be prominently featured.
These clearly distort the history of the past South African system of institutionalized racial segregation, and also trivialize the suffering endured by true apartheid victims of that oppressive regime.
“The suffering of South Africans under apartheid was unique and attempts to apply the same label to Israel trivializes that history and is unacceptable,” said.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Jirí Kozák claimed that using the term apartheid in relation to Israel is open antisemitism, as in violation of the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism.
“Whatever the world’s greatest and most unforgivable crime is in any particular moment of history, the Jews will be accused of it,” said Member of the House of Lords Baroness Ruth Deech. “Those who accuse Israel of Apartheid are themselves racist in that their real mission is to deny the legitimacy of the only Jewish state in the world and if they got their way, they would return Jews to dispersion, slaughter and discrimination.”
“Applying the apartheid label serves no purpose other than to delegitimize the Israeli state, demonizing the Jewish people and ultimately bring about Israel’s destruction,” said former minister for defence of the Republic of Ireland Alan Shatter.
Alongside the conference, the Combat Antisemitism Movement released a public petition to “urge decision-makers at the international, national and local levels to vocally reject and condemn the ‘apartheid’ libel of Israel.”