Condemning Israel as an ‘Apartheid State’:
A response from the JCPA / Robbie Sabel

Published: 8 June 2010
Briefing Number 257

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Summary:   This Briefing contains the Executive Summary of a report which was published in November 2009 by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, which rebuts the charge that Israel is an ‘Apartheid State’.  The report is written by international lawyer Robbie Sabel.   The Executive Summary which we reproduce is concise and insightful.  We recommend readers to obtain the full report, details of which are below.

In November 2009, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs published a report on the accusation that Israel is an ‘apartheid state’, by international law scholar Robbie Sabel.  Sabel describes the charge as a “calumny” – ie “a deliberately malicious misrepresentation of the facts about a particular matter in order to ruin the reputation of its target….”.  But he argues that the attempts to “smear” Israel using this accusation have reached a level where it is necessary to react, as the claim otherwise threatens to do “lasting and maybe irreparable damage” to Israel.

Below we provide verbatim the Executive Summary of Sabel’s Report.  The full report is called ‘The Campaign to Delegitimise Israel With the False Charge of Apartheid’ by Robbie Sabel (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, November 2009 –  We strongly recommend it.

The Executive Summary:

  • If Israel’s detractors can associate the Jewish movement for self-determination with the Apartheid South African regime, they will have done lasting and maybe irreparable damage.  Yet the comparison of Israel to South Africa under white supremacist rule has been utterly rejected by those with intimate understanding of the old Apartheid system
  • Israel is a multi-racial and multi-colored society, and the Arab minority actively participates in the political process.  There are Arab parliamentarians, Arab judges including on the Supreme Court, Arab cabinet ministers, Arab heads of hospital departments, Arab university professors, Arab diplomats in the Foreign Service, and very senior Arab police and army officers.  Incitement to racism in Israel is a criminal offence, as is discrimination on the basis of race or religion.
  • The accusation is made that the very fact that Israel is considered a Jewish state proves an “Apartheid-like” situation.  Yet the accusers have not a word of criticism against the tens of liberal democratic states that have Christian crosses incorporated in their flags, nor against the Muslim states with the half crescent symbol of Islam.  For a Western state, with Jewish and Muslim minorities, to have Christmas as a national holiday is permissible, but for Israel to celebrate Passover as a national holiday is somehow racist.  For various Arab states to denote themselves as Arab Republics is not objectionable.
  • Zionism is perhaps the only national movement that has received explicit support and endorsement both from the League of Nations and from the United Nations.  It was the League of Nations that approved the mandate for Palestine with its ringing endorsement of “the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country”.
  • The real goal behind the Apartheid campaign is the denial of the legitimacy of the State of Israel and the determination that the only status the Jewish population in Israel can hope for is that of a “protected” ethnic minority in an Arab Palestinian state.

Some related Beyond Images resources:  See All Beyond Images Briefings / Boycott and divertment campaigning and Israel Apartheid Week campaigns