Apartheid charge demolished

In an op-ed (Letters: Israel is not an apartheid state) in the Wednesday Daily News, Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., demolishes the accusation that Israel is an “apartheid” state.

To my surprise, he barely mentions the most obvious point – that Arabs who live within the state of Israel are full citizens with full rights – including speech, travel, religion, voting and holding office. These are not fully granted in any other Mideast country, but we never hear about that from critics of Israel. The false apartheid charge is waved like a bloody flag by the liars and fools in the boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) smear campaign against Israel.

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Michael Oren

Most of Oren's essay is about Arabs living in disputed, or “occupied” lands that are not part of Israel. The apartheid accusation is part of the third campaign to destroy Israel, he says, following all-out wars, and perhaps the most devastating.

By coincidence, the day the op-ed ran, I was among a few reporters given access to Aaron Sagui, spokesman for the Israeli embassy in D.C.

Without referencing the Oren piece, I asked Sagui if he regarded the BDS campaign as more serious than Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

He pooh-poohed the BDS campaign, saying “it is not such a threat to Israel” and called Iran a threat not just to Israel but to the region.

Negotiatiions are proceeding with Iran and I asked if he thought the talks would end with an outcome that was good for Israel’s security concerns. He gave a very long answer that didn’t answer the question, the sort-of “history-lesson-as-answer” favored by President Obama.

Maybe that’s why it’s called diplomacy.

If Iran just gets to the threshold of nuclear weaponry, that can be a game-changer in the region, Sagui said.

I agree with him on that, but disagree with his sanguine view that the BDS campaign is “not such a threat.” It's a different kind of threat.

Mark Twain wrote “a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.” And that was before instantaneous global communications.

The people behind BDS (the Palestinian Arabs) use it as a propaganda tool to attack Israel’s legitimacy as a nation, as a member of the world community. They see this as a war and they have no commitment to the truth.

Israeli can’t afford to be complacent about the Big Lie, whether “apartheid” or anything else.