Israel is an apartheid state, but you don’t have to take my word for it. All you have to do is take a look at the actions of the lawmakers in the Israeli Knesset, the national legislature of Israel.
On June 5, the Knesset issued a press release stating that its Presidium (a group consisting of the speaker and deputy speakers) voted to disqualify a proposed bill that called for Israel “to be defined as a state of all its citizens” to be placed on the Knesset’s agenda.
By its own admission, the Knesset mentioned that this was an “unusual move,” since it is the “first time proposed legislation has been disqualified before being discussed in the plenum (the entire assembly of Knesset members) during the past two Knesset terms.” This means that such a swift shooting down of legislation has not occurred in at least five years.
This begs the following question: what content in this bill was so shockingly offensive that Israeli lawmakers could not even allow it to be discussed in the full Knesset session? The bill’s major offense lies within its simple objective, which is “to anchor in constitutional law the principle of equal citizenship while recognizing the existence and rights of the two, Jewish and Arab, national groups living within the country.”
The proposed bill also called for “separation of religion and state, while guaranteeing the freedom of worship for all.” Since Israel defines itself as a democratic state, it should therefore be a state providing equality for both its Jewish and Arab (Palestinian) citizens.
Unfortunately, despite the surplus of Israeli and Zionist propaganda claiming that Israel is a lone beacon of democracy in the Middle East, describing it as a “unique sanctuary of democracy, freedom and pluralism” that protects its citizens’ rights, reality says otherwise.
For starters, at least 4.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem are effectively under Israeli control, but as stateless people, they are neither citizens of Israel nor of any other state. This means that about half of the people living in territories that Israel “administers” (or blockades, in the case of Gaza) are not entitled to many of the same fundamental rights and protections that it claims to respect. These people are routinely subjected to restrictions on their movement, unequal access to basic services such as water and electricity, imprisonment without charges, collective punishment, extrajudicial killings, and many other unacceptable human rights violations.
To make matters worse, the roughly 1.7 million Palestinians that do hold Israeli citizenship face “institutional, legal, and societal discrimination,” as noted in a 2010 US State Department report on human rights. One example of this is the Admissions Committees Law passed in 2011, which allows residents of small towns to prevent individuals “who do not suit the lifestyle and social fabric of the community” from residing in these towns. In practice, this law primarily targets Palestinian citizens of Israel. Promoting laws that essentially entrench racial segregation goes directly against the so-called common values that Israel claims to share with liberal democracies.
The Afrikaans term “apartheid” literally translates into “apartness” or “separateness.” Zionist propagandists frequently try to discredit the notion that Israel is an apartheid state, based on semantics and technicalities, since apartheid was a unique term used to describe the system of racist policies and segregation used by the white South African minority to rule over the nonwhite South African majority.
Although apartheid refers to the previous South African structure, it is undeniable that Israel also engages in a similar system of racism. In fact, South African (and even Israeli) intellectuals and leaders describe Israeli policies as worse than South African apartheid. In the 21st century, where else can one find segregated roads like the ones that exist in the West Bank? Where else can one find a state that allows its towns to pick and choose which ethnic and religious groups can live in their communities? It would be very difficult to find any other state besides Israel.
In his response to the bill that was proposed and why it was rejected, the speaker of the Knesset, Yuli Edelstein, described it as “a bill that aims to gnaw at the foundations of the state” which must not be allowed in the Knesset. Ironically, this statement is completely true. This law would indeed destroy the foundations of such a racist state, and it would eliminate the superiority that Israelis maintain over Palestinians, which is totally unacceptable to Zionists. Until Israel changes its prejudiced and bigoted system, it will never escape the label of an apartheid state.