An exceptional individual who has been an important counterweight to the disparagers of Israel is Dr. Kenneth Meshoe, a member of the South African Parliament, president of the African Christian Democratic Party, and pastor of a South African Church. What is particularly significant about pastor Meshoe is that he, as a black South African, on a number of occasions, has put paid to the lie spread by the Palestinian narrative, that Israel is an apartheid state. At the international conference of legislators from around the world held in Budapest on October 31, 2011, Pastor Meshoe replied to the kind of fulminations published by the Electronic Intifada that Israeli actions are “the epitome of apartheid” and aim at the systematic destruction of Palestinian society. He describes those who promulgate the lie of Israel-as-apartheid as ignorant individuals who are not aware of, or who deliberately disregard, the true nature of the negative impact of apartheid on black South Africans — an experience quite different from that of Palestinians in nature and intensity. South African blacks were treated as second-class citizens and were denied basic human rights. By contrast, he points out that in Israel there are no laws discriminating against people on the basis of their color or on the basis of their religion. Palestinians have not suffered the pain of apartheid experienced by black South Africans.
Pastor Meshoe amplifies his general remarks by specific examples. He calls attention to the fact that in South Africa there were separate modes of transport for blacks and whites; there were coaches in trains only for black people, and others only for whites. Segregation was present in schools, hospitals, public places, city parks, benches, chairs, beaches. No such segregation exists in Israel.
In view of this empirical evidence why do members of some Churches and their leaders argue Israel is an apartheid state? Palestinians have used this falsehood to gain sympathy for their cause. By doing so they, and their allies in the churches as elsewhere, purportedly concerned with “Palestinian suffering,” are their own worst enemies. By maintaining the animosity against Israel, perhaps they are deliberately trying to prevent a peaceful process of negotiation to resolve the conflict.
Originally published by Gatestone Institute http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org
About the Author: Michael Curtis is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Rutgers University, and author of the forthcoming book, Should Israel Exist? A sovereign nation under assault by the international community.
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