An apartheid conference at the Knesset? – opinion – The Jerusalem Post

Posted: June 24, 2021 at 11:47 pm

The farce on Tuesday at the Knesset made the June 13 swearing-in of the new Israeli government pale in comparison.Youre a piece of sh*t fascist, screamed Joint Arab List MK Ofer Cassif at Religious Zionism MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, who spent an hour shouting terrorist and enemy at Cassif and others attending the extra-parliamentary event that he crashed with a vengeance.

The happening in question was a conference titled After 54 years: From Occupation to Apartheid.

The hurling of mutual insults characterized the atmosphere of the radical NGO-laden convention, organized by MKs Mossi Raz (Meretz) and Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint Arab List) for the purpose of demonizing the Jewish state.

As is the case with all gatherings to which representatives of far-left groups like Adalah, Yesh Din and Breaking the Silence not to mention Human Rights Watch BDS supporter Omar Shakir are invited to delegitimize Israel, the one in question pulled no punches where spreading lies was concerned. In this respect, its message was predictable.

What made these particular proceedings stand out, therefore, was not their content. Nor was it Ben-Gvirs arrival on the scene to disrupt them.

On the contrary, such hate fests always include charges that Israel is an evil occupier of Palestinians victimized by apartheid policies. And the far-Right lawyer/activist who just joined the ranks of the Knesset is famous for his frenzied, yet calculated, outbursts.

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Yes, everything about the vile meeting was to be expected, except for its venue within the walls of Israels parliament and for the fact that one of its initiators belongs to a party integral to the countrys nascent governing coalition.

THIS IS significant for reasons that ought to be obvious, but warrant reiteration. At the top of the list is the abuse of the word apartheid to describe Israel, which in no way, shape or form resembles the former South African regimes policy of forced racial segregation and discrimination.

Even Richard Goldstone, author of the now-infamous eponymous report from the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict established in 2009 to investigate Operation Cast Lead came to acknowledge that if [he] had known then what [he] know[s] now, [it] would have been a different document.

Better two years late than never. But the havoc that the South African judges conclusions about Israels three-week war against Hamas (from the end of December 2008 to the middle of January 2009) had already been wrought. Indeed, the esteemed jurists subsequent retraction to his earlier assertion that Israel intentionally killed Palestinian civilians didnt put a dent in the damage that continues to reverberate to this day.

Precisely because of this, his recanting is worth reviewing and repeating.

In Israel, there is no apartheid, he wrote on October 31, 2011, in The New York Times. Nothing there comes close to the definition of apartheid under the 1998 Rome Statute: Inhumane acts... committed in the context of an institutionalized 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.

He went on, Israeli Arabs 20 percent of Israels population vote, have political parties and representatives in the Knesset and occupy positions of acclaim, including on its Supreme Court. Arab patients lie alongside Jewish patients in Israeli hospitals, receiving identical treatment.

Apartheid, he added, consciously enshrines separation as an ideal. In Israel, equal rights are the law, the aspiration and the ideal; inequities are often successfully challenged in court. And though the situation in the West Bank is more complex here too there is no intent to maintain an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group. This is a critical distinction, even if Israel acts oppressively toward Palestinians there. South Africas enforced racial separation was intended to permanently benefit the white minority, to the detriment of other races. By contrast, Israel has agreed in concept to the existence of a Palestinian state in Gaza and almost all of the West Bank, and is calling for the Palestinians to negotiate the parameters.

Finally, he said, [U]ntil there is a two-state peace, or at least as long as Israels citizens remain under threat of attacks from the West Bank and Gaza, Israel will see roadblocks and similar measures as necessary for self-defense, even as Palestinians feel oppressed And the deep disputes, claims and counterclaims are only hardened when the offensive analogy of apartheid is invoked.

SO MUCH for the A-word. As for the O-word, well, its misused intentionally by those who single out Israel for condemnation at every opportunity.

As international-law expert Alan Baker a former Israeli ambassador to Canada currently with the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs think tank has pointed out: Israel is not occupying any foreign sovereigns land; [it] entered the area known as the West Bank in 1967 and took over the authority to administer the land from Jordan, which was never considered to be a sovereign in the area.

Baker, who participated in the negotiations and drafting of the Oslo Accords, as well as peace treaties with Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, has also explained that the Jordanians, who occupied the territory after the 1948 war, annexed it, but this was never really recognized or acknowledged by the international community. At a later stage, the king of Jordan voluntarily gave up any Jordanian sovereignty or claim to the territories to the Palestinian people. So, the Jordanians came and went, and the issue remains [one] between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

And this is before one takes into account the Jews proven ancient connection to the land, which Palestinians reject and their BDS apologists deny or ignore. But none of the above escapes the majority of the Israeli public who voted overwhelmingly against the Left in the last four rounds of elections.

The bitter irony surrounding this weeks conference is twofold.

On the one hand, it illustrated the exact opposite of what participants wished to portray. Its ridiculous, after all, to accuse the state of apartheid from the halls of a diverse Knesset that includes openly hostile Arab politicians and post-Zionist Jews, all of whom use their platforms to bash the country that embraces their freedom to do so.

On the other hand, it highlighted the fragility of the new government, made up of a motley assortment of parties that have no business sitting together, certainly not under the premiership of Yamina leader Naftali Bennett, self-described as to the right of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, head of Yesh Atid.

The only glue that enabled them to glom together the change coalition was a shared desire to oust Netanyahu from his perch as the longest-serving leader in Israels history. Its still their sole adhesive, as the apartheid event demonstrated.

Efforts on the part of some coalition MKs to block it in the form of a letter to Knesset Speaker Miki Levy asking him to end Knesset involvement in events that act against the state of Israel, tarnish its good name and work with antisemitic organizations like BDS were in vain. The travesty not only went ahead as planned, but was held under the auspices of Raz, whose party, Meretz, could topple the government simply by exiting from it.

IN AN interview with Kan Newss Mark Weiss after the conference, Raz said smugly that the word apartheid makes people very nervous.

But he proudly took credit for normaliz[ing] the word occupation, because until a few days ago, very few people in the Knesset talked about [it].

Some accomplishment.

[It] is my duty to talk about the occupation, to talk about peace and to do my work to represent my voters, he stressed.

Asked about how this attitude might annoy and upset many coalition partners, he replied with the equivalent of a shrug.

You know, he said, Im annoyed and upset every day from things happening [in the country].

No kidding; he and his fellow leftists make that abundantly clear at every juncture, and at each protest on behalf of the Palestinians. That the despots who rule over the latter are the ones responsible for their lack of human rights is as irrelevant to Raz and his ilk as Israels numerous territorial and other concessions to the PLO and Hamas.

Its no wonder, then, that he referred to the mish-mash coalition as a challenging one. Still, not anxious to forfeit the resuscitation provided to his dying camp by Bennett, New Hope chairman Gideon Saar and Israel Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman, he made sure to declare that he considers the new government very powerful, with young and active party leaders for whom truth is important.

One doesnt know whether to laugh or cry at the blatant inversion of the concept.

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An apartheid conference at the Knesset? - opinion - The Jerusalem Post

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