Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tell a big enough lie often enough. . .

This week - although the dates for the week vary a little from country to country - is Israeli Apartheid Week. If you are not familiar with the term, perhaps a little explanation is called for.

This is the week when film shows, lectures and public meetings are held in towns and cities, above all on university campuses, to demonstrate that Israel is an apartheid state.

Except that Israel isn't an apartheid state.

The word apartheid was used to describe the situation in South Africa from 1948 to 1994, when blacks there couldn't vote, hold political office or mix with whites, and had to live in segregated areas.

By contrast, the one-and-a-half million Arabs who live in Israel - 20 per cent of the population - can vote, like any other Israeli, own businesses, work in the professions, practise as lawyers and judges, work in the diplomatic service, serve in Israel's parliament and become ministers in the Israeli Government.

Because Israel is a democracy, Arabs in Israel have rights Arabs in Arab countries don't have. In fact, 82 per cent of Arabs living in Israel say they would rather live in Israel than in an Arab country.

So why do we see Palestinian Arabs from the so-called occupied territories queueing at Israeli checkpoints? Because they are not Israeli citizens and Israel has to prevent terrorists from entering the country.

What about the security fence that Israel built? It was built to prevent terrorists entering Israel at a time when  bombers were blowing up Israeli citizens in buses, on the streets, and in restaurants. And it worked, reducing terrorism inside Israel almost to nil.

The Palestinians have made it clear that if ever they are granted their own state, no Jew will be allowed to live there. So are they castigated as supporters of apartheid? Dear me, no.

So why is Israel called an apartheid state?

Because those who hate Israel want to convince people who don't know any better that Israel has no right to exist.