The biggest lie of the decade - opinion

Calling Israel an apartheid state is not criticism. It’s a blunt lie. Amnesty International is not the first to label Israel an apartheid state, and probably not the last one.

 Muslim woman holding Israeli flag (photo credit: Shutterstock / Hananya Naftali)
Muslim woman holding Israeli flag
(photo credit: Shutterstock / Hananya Naftali)

It has become fashionable to hate the Jewish state under the category of “mere criticism” while siding with the real oppressors of the Palestinians - their very own leaders.

Calling Israel an apartheid state gained official status when Israel Apartheid Week was launched in 2005 after the anti-Israel activists saw that they could use the South African apartheid and the suffering of Black people for their political purposes. 

To them, it’s a game. They care more about hating Israel than the well-being of the Palestinians. Because if they cared for the Palestinian people, they would act against the corrupt Palestinian leadership that does nothing to help them, steals public money and incites hatred and violence against Israel. Whether it’s the Palestinian Authority or Hamas in Gaza, they are gaining from the conflict with Israel. Just imagine what the Palestinian leaders could have done with the billions sent to them in aid from the EU, Canada, United States, and of course the Arab countries, had they not used it to sponsor terrorism with the ‘pay to slay’ program or other corrupt reasons. 

If one wants to support the Palestinian cause, one should support Israel - the one country that actually helps the Palestinian people more than their leaders. Israel provides the Palestinians with water, electricity, jobs and even health care. 

When I visited the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, I saw Palestinian patients from Gaza receiving life-saving treatments from Israeli Jewish doctors, and I saw Palestinians from East Jerusalem working as doctors and nurses. There is thriving business cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian businesses. This is not what apartheid looks like. Calling Israel an apartheid state is an insult to the suffering of black people and undermines the definition of apartheid.

A poll conducted in 2021 by “Palestine News Network” found that 93% of the Palestinians in East Jerusalem prefer to live under an Israeli government rather than a Palestinian one. This is the strongest answer to apartheid - even Palestinians themselves prefer the so-called “Israeli apartheid.” Because they know the truth - they know that Israel is a paradise for them, where they can make the “American dream” come true. 

The ongoing efforts by Amnesty International and others to define the identity of Palestinians and Arabs living in Israel is nothing more than a colonialist effort to tell a minority how they should feel and who they are. I think that the Palestinian people and Israeli Arabs are smart, vibrant, and educated, and they do not need help defining their own identity.

Amnesty International will probably never report on the real apartheid against Israelis. While Palestinians can freely enter Israel with the proper documents, I, an Israeli Jew, am banned from entering Gaza or other Palestinian cities. The last time a Jewish man entered Gaza, it didn’t go very well. Avera Mengistu, an Israeli man, is being held hostage by the Hamas terrorist group in Gaza.

It’s time to put an end to the biggest lie of the century - Israel is not an apartheid state. It’s true that Israel is not a perfect country, just like no country in the world is perfect, but the fact that international forums treat Israel like a punching bag is outrageous. Israel goes above and beyond to preserve its minorities and support the Palestinian people while at the same time defending its civilians against radicals who want to destroy the only Jewish state in the world. 

Before anyone calls Israel apartheid, they should come to Israel and visit the thriving communities and speak to Palestinians. They will hear nothing about apartheid and everything about coexistence and diversity.

Hananya Naftali is a leading Israeli Jewish influencer and human rights activist in the fight against antisemitism, anti-Zionism and the BDS Movement.

This op-ed is published in partnership with a coalition of organizations that fight antisemitism across the world. Read the previous article by Pastor Dumisani Washington, Olga Meshoe.