One of the biggest slanders targeting Israel is the claim that that it is an "apartheid" state, Dennis Prager writes at NationalReview.com. Yet, the Durban III "anti-racism" conference, which takes place in New York on Sept. 22, is virtually certain to advance the canard.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who calls the Holocaust "a lie," is scheduled to speak at Durban III, which Prager terms a "U.N.-sponsored Hate Israel Festival." Like its predecessors, Durban I and Durban II, it will likely be a forum for attacks depicting Israel as a racist state that practices "apartheid."
The charge simply is false. From 1948 through 1994, apartheid was official policy in South Africa, Prager writes. Under that system, blacks were treated as inferiors - barred from voting and holding political office; relegated to inferior neighborhoods and schools; and prevented from using the same public accommodations as whites.
None of this applies to Israeli Arabs, who have the right to vote and enjoy representation in the Knesset. They own property and businesses and work in professions alongside Israeli Jews. The Israeli judge who sentenced former President Moshe Katsav, a Jew, to seven years in prison for rape earlier this year was George Kara, an Arab.
But reality doesn't slow Israel-haters from spreading the lie.
Muslim Public Affairs Council founder Maher Hathout has described Israel as "an apartheid state against every fiber of the modern world." At the University of California-Berkeley, the Muslim Students Association joined Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) to sponsor "Apartheid Week" events, in which students brandishing fake assault rifles accosted fellow students while yelling, "Are you Jewish?"
In October, Alkalima, (a Muslim student magazine that described itself as being "published by the Muslim Student Union of University of California, Irvine") hosted "Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner's Guide," along with SJP. MSU has hosted anti-Israel events including, "Israeli Apartheid Week: A Call to Boycott, Divest, and Sanction Israel."
Some critics suggest that Israeli counterterrorism measures such as the West Bank security barrier constitute "apartheid." To Prager, that's no more credible than terming the security fence built along the Mexican border to prevent illegal entry into the United States an example of "apartheid."
"Both barriers have been built to keep unwanted people from entering the country," he writes. "Israel built its security wall in order to keep terrorists from entering Israel and murdering its citizens."