Is Israel apartheid state?

  • 1 minute read
  • • by Sharon Koifman
  • • May 2, 2023

With 20 percent of the country’s population, almost half (46 percent) of new doctors are Arabs. Half of the new nurses (50), more than half the dentists (53 percent), and pharmacists (57 percent) are also Arabs. We have Arab Judges in the supreme court, leaders in the national banks, and soccer stars. If your issue is with the Palestinians in the Disputed Territories, they have their own autonomy and, hopefully, will build their own country. They have no interest in integrating with Israeli. Sorry, if you declare war on another ethnicity and deny their right to exist, you are the one committing the apartheid. Whoever is using the term Apartheid is disgracing and cheapening the experience of the victims of South Africa and other true Apartheid.

The notion that Israel is an apartheid state is absolutely ludicrous, especially when that criticism comes from other states with clear apartheid-like tendencies. I guess, if you want to get creative, you could say that the Palestinians who live in the disputed territories, who have their own government and autonomy, have different rights than the Israelis. 

Yet once you leave la la land, you realize that you can’t lose a battle that you started, choose to live as refugees for three generations, have your own leadership, have no interest in integrating as part of a nation and claim that your people are victims of apartheid. Not to mention that Arabs who did integrate into Israel did actually gain equal rights as a citizen of Israel.

Just to be clear: the only apartheid related to this conflict, is in the region that Palestinians occupy. Even when it comes to negotiating the two-state solution, the best the Palestinians would ever humor is a multiethnic region called Israel and a region where no Jew will be allowed to live in called Palestine. This is a region where if anyone sells land to Jews or does anything favorable to Jews they would be arrested.

So now let’s understand what apartheid is, how it worked in South Africa, how it’s dealt with under international law, and how insane the comparison is. 


So, what was the Apartheid?

They say an image speaks more than a hundred words.


So, the main premise of Apartheid was to racial segregate whites and non-whites (Blacks and Indians) from public spaces. The Black people were sent to a few designated areas for them to live, called Bantustans, while white people could enjoy their racist paradises. Also, non-white people received inferior health care and services from the State and weren’t considered citizens. As you can imagine, It really sucked and left scars on South African citizens until today.

So sink deeper into my least favorite part, the legal technicalities. I would think common sense would suffice but I guess we must to some of the legal geeks


So what does international law consider apartheid?

Let’s check step by step what the 1973 UN International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid says in Article II:

For the purpose of the present Convention, the term “the crime of apartheid,” which shall include similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practiced in southern Africa, shall apply to the following 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: 

(a) Denial to a member or members of a racial group or groups of the right to life and liberty of person:

(i) By murder of members of a racial group or groups;

(ii) By the infliction upon the members of a racial group or groups of serious bodily or mental harm, by the infringement of their freedom or dignity, or by subjecting them to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment;

(iii) By arbitrary arrest and illegal imprisonment of the members of a racial group or groups;

Does (a) happen in Israel?  Let me show you something.

This is the symbol of the Joint List. They are the four biggest Arab political parties in Israel: Balad, Hadash, Ta’al and Mada. They won 15 seats with 12.67% of the vote in the 2020 Knesset elections and they even have Jewish voters.

Sounds to me like Israel really sucks in being an Apartheid.

Seriously, which apartheid state proudly let its minority ethnic groups form political parties and vote?

But there is more: there are factions in the Balad and the Hadash parties which are Anti-Zionists or Non-Zionists. There are even Pan-Arabists. Yet the Israel State allows them to exist with no persecution.

(b) Deliberate imposition on a racial group or groups of living conditions calculated to cause its or their physical destruction in whole or in part

Tirabin al-Sana, Umm Batin, al-Sayyid, Mulada, Makhul, Kukhleh (Abu Rubaiya) and Drijat (Durayjat). Do you know what those seven Bedouin communities have in common? They were built for the Bedouins by Israel.

Before the establishment of Israel, the Bedouins were a semi-nomadic society that had been through a process of sedentariness (settling in one place after years of being Nomadic tribes) since the Ottoman times. The British did nothing for them either. So Israel built their communities and provided them with basic infrastructure: electricity, water, sewage, education, and medical services. In September 2011, the government spent 1.2 billion shekels to employ Bedouin men and women. We developed industrial zones for them, like the Idan HaNegev while providing employment centers and professional training.

Yet we received harsh criticism like ethnic cleansing. Because for the Anti-Israel Marketing machine, Ethnic cleansing means employing and giving homes to people?

(c) Any legislative measures and other measures calculated to prevent a racial group or groups from participation in the political, social, economic, and cultural life of the country and the deliberate creation of conditions preventing the full development of such a group or groups, in particular by denying to members of a racial group or groups basic human rights and freedoms, including the right to work, the right to form recognized trade unions, the right to education, the right to leave and to return to their country, the right to a nationality, the right to freedom of movement and residence, the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association

The Israeli Arabs have homes with electricity, water, and sewage; they have political parties, even when they are Anti-Israel. 

  1. d) Any measures, including legislative measures, designed to divide the population along racial lines by the creation of separate reserves and ghettos for the members of a racial group or groups, the prohibition of mixed marriages among members of various racial groups, the expropriation of landed property belonging to a racial group or groups or to members thereof


The Israeli Arabs can live where the hell they want it. For mMarriage, there are some challenges.  If a Palestinian Arab from the disputed territories marries an Israeli, he doesn’t obtain Israeli nationality instantly. But he is not prohibited to marry an Israeli, and any Citizen of Israel, arab or not can do whatever they want, and therefore, this does not constitute the Apartheid crime as described.


(e) Exploitation of the labor of the members of a racial group or groups, in particular by submitting them to forced labor

There are no camps for forced labor in Israel. We are not China. Next.

(f) Persecution of organizations and persons by depriving them of fundamental rights and freedoms because they oppose apartheid.

Israel gives full freedom for people to shit on us. Well-funded NGOs like B’tselem are continuously free to call us an apartheid state. It is super annoying, but no one gets arrested, fined, bullied, or anything that remotely sounds like suppressing or depriving people from criticizing Israel unless they get violent. Probably the only thing I can think about is sometimes Israel prevents foreigners that want to cause damage to Israel from entering the country, but that’s a standard with most countries. 

The other Articles of the International Convention are about the measures the UN has to apply against a country who are involved with the crime of apartheid. 

But enough with this Legal Mambo Jambo.

The Arabs are thriving in Israel. The first time An Arab party was part of the governing Coalition. Twenty percent of the country’s population, and almost half (46 percent) of new doctors are Arabs. Half of the new nurses (50), more than half of new dentists (53 percent), and pharmacists (57 percent) are also Arabs.

This is every Jewish mother’s dream, not a Goddamn apartheid.

We have Arab Judges in the supreme court, Leaders in the national banks, and soccer stars. C’mon If the Palestinians stop wanting to take over or destroy us, we could help get the same rights. Seriously, enough with this bullshit.

Portraying a nation as an apartheid is a very serious issue, and the NGOs shouldn’t use this argument in a banal way just to still be relevant in the discussion and political discourse. By demonizing Israel, it prevents both population from moving forward. 

Furthermore, the apartheid slander brings out the Antisemites out of the closet and offering the tool of hate without much consequences. Such ridiculous claims also harm the reliability of the Human Rights organizations, like Amneamensty Internationalintentional thate can no longer be taken seriously. 

Worst of all,   itIf cheapennes the History of Ssouth Africa and it dishonors all the apartheid victims.

Everyone gets hurt and nobody is happy.



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