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Rethinking Israel Apartheid Week at Concordia University

by Bradley Martin March 10, 2015
Rethinking Israel Apartheid Week at Concordia University

For some, calling it “apartheid” is too strong a word

Graphic by Nidal El-Khairy. From Israeli Apartheid Week official site.

It’s that time of year: the time when a number of students at Concordia, with a dysfunctional focus on Israel, seek to launch an event hurling accusations against Israel for being an “apartheid state.” This accusation contains little to no substance or veracity. It would be amusing, if it weren’t so pathetic and an insult to actual victims of apartheid.

As students of Concordia, we have a responsibility to properly analyze a situation while using the correct words to describe it. “Apartheid” is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “a former system in South Africa in which black people and people from other racial groups did not have the same political and economic rights as white people and were forced to live separately from white people.” The aims of Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) are to bolster opposition towards what they refer to as “Israeli Apartheid.”

Contrary to what is portrayed by IAW, there is no system of Jewish exclusion of non-Jewish residents in Israel or the territories it administers. Proponents of IAW would do well to contrast the seriousness of real apartheid to Ariel University. Ariel University, located in what would be termed as a West Bank “settlement” by IAW proponents, includes a student population of Jews, Arabs, Druze, and Circassian students. Of these students, an estimated 600 Arab-Muslim students are enrolled. In December 2011, AU held a conference titled “Best Plans for a Peaceful Israel/Palestine,” where Jews, Israeli Arabs and Palestinians from Palestinian Authority-controlled areas in the West Bank attended and held lectures.

This is a far cry from the now-defunct Rand Afrikaans University, the predecessor of the University of Johannesburg, which limited enrollment to white South African students and banned any potential black student from attending.

Based on 2007 statistics, about 1,300 of Pisgat Zeev’s 42,000 residents were Arabs. In nearby French Hill, nearly one sixth of residents are Arabs, which included students at the neighboring Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Neve Yaakov, with 20,000 people, has a population of 600 Arabs, according to the Israel Center for Jerusalem Studies. These are areas which IAW represents as being part of a supposed Israeli policy of “Judaizing” Arab lands.

Yet, a major development which truly highlights the absurdity of IAW’s accusation can be observed in the upcoming Israeli Elections. Israeli-Arab Supreme Court Judge Salim Joubran, is serving as the Chairman of the Central Election Committee and will be in charge of overseeing Israel’s parliamentary elections. The Committee is in charge of registering lists of political parties running for election, campaign financing, election logistics, tallying results, and dealing with any challenges to the results.

Israel Apartheid Week puts forth fallacious arguments and inaccurate generalizations concerning the State of Israel. Its proponents do not comprehend the horrendous injustice of what apartheid actually represents, while ignoring the fact that Palestinians are denied basic human rights in Arab countries surrounding Israel.

Bradley Martin is a Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) Fellow and student at Concordia University

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3 comments

Benwalid March 11, 2015 - 10:48

“Israel’s apartheid is
worse than South Africa’s”

The system preserving this apartheid is
more ruthless as it is equipped with the lie of being ‘temporary­.”

http://www­.haaretz.c­om/print-e­dition/opi­nion/israe­l-s-aparth­eid-is-wor­se-than-so­uth-africa­-s-1.4590

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Benwalid March 11, 2015 - 13:07

The International Convention on the Suppression and
Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (ICSPCA) was ratified by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 1973.

It defined the crime of
apartheid as “inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and
maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial
group of persons and systematically oppressing them.”

In 2002, the Rome Statute of the International
Criminal Court, defined the crime of apartheid as inhumane
acts of a character similar to other crimes against humanity “committed in
the context of an institutionalised regime of systematic oppression and
domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and
committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”

Both definitions made something very
clear. The crime of apartheid was a crime against humanity that went far beyond
South Africa.
Any state using segregatory laws, racial discrimination and racially based
policies could be found guilty of the crime of apartheid.

To face the “demographic threat” that the Palestinians posed, the
Israeli government worked very hard to make certain the law would always be on
their side.

In Israel itself more than 30 discriminatory laws have been passed in the last few decades.
Every Israeli government has also worked on the “Judaisation” of the
country while stripping Palestinians of their citizenship to the greatest
extent possible.

In the Occupied West Bank and Gaza, a
matrix of control has been put in place, one that curbs Palestinians’ most
basic human rights. A maze of checkpoints, roadblocks, settler-only roads have
been created since 1967 in the West Bank. In the meantime, Israel started
to transfer its population to the West Bank.
More than 650,000 Israelis now live in huge colonies all over the West Bank.
Those colonies control all the most essential natural resources, such as water
aquifers. The 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza live in an open-air prison under
total siege by land, sea and air.

Duty to prosecute under universal
jurisdiction exists under the 1976 Apartheid Convention and under general
international law. States (third parties) have a duty to cooperate to end
apartheid and not to assist the apartheid regime in question. The case, for
added weight, could even be taken to the International Court of Justice.

Reply
Chaya Notik March 24, 2015 - 00:00

i have no time to reply to your whole post or to debate with you. i just have a question regarding ” A maze of checkpoints, roadblocks, settler-only roads have been created since 1967 in the West Bank”
have you been to israel? have you seen these settler only roads? because I have. and i have never seen a road that doesnt allow arabs in. in fact, i have seen plenty of roads that dont allow israelis in. or even canadians with no israeli passport, but with a jewish name, so no matter how much i begged and tried to go on that road, i wasnt allowed. so thats my first point..
my second point is that have you ever gone to the states? there are checkpoints there also, do they ever ask you a bunch of questions….? if everything is ok with your papers, and nothing suspicious, then they let you through. worse case, you get searched and it costs you an extra 10 minutes. that is what is happening in israel. so before you believe all the hype and media, go visit and tell me if its as bad as u think it is. because i have been interrogated in israel and in the US and it was pretty much the same thing. except for the fact that the liklihood of a terrorist entering israel is way higher than in the US
since this claim is false, i hope others can see that its possible that your other claims are false too

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