Home inContext Israeli Apartheid Week Heats Up Spring

Israeli Apartheid Week Heats Up Spring

Samara Greenberg

It’s that time of year again. This month, the seventh annual Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is in full swing, bringing its anti-Israel message to a college campus and city near you. “The aim of IAW,” as the program’s website states, “is to contribute to this chorus of international opposition to Israeli apartheid and to bolster support for the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) campaign.”

The BDS campaign, launched in 2005, is an attempt to convince organizations and people to “impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era,” and for states to “impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel…for the sake of justice and genuine peace.”

But there’s nothing just or peace-seeking about the BDS campaign or Israeli Apartheid Week. As former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, Dore Gold, put it: “The resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict will not be reached by just waging historical debates, but by mutual recognition and accommodation. Israel Apartheid Week is not about respect for human rights; it is an incredibly hypocritical initiative that ignores the apartheid practiced by the Palestinians themselves, who make the sale of land to Jews punishable by death.”

Or what about, as Jerusalem Post journalist Khaled Abu Toameh points out this week, Arab apartheid practices against Palestinians, supposedly one of their own? In countries such as Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan, Palestinians are denied basic rights such as access to work, education, and medical care simply because of their heritage. Ironically, Palestinian residents enjoy more freedoms in Israel than they do in Arab countries.

But of course, that isn’t of any concern to IAW coordinators and supporters.