Human Rights Watch released a report recently that accused Israel of practicing ‘Apartheid’. It was well publicised in the media and by activists. However, there are serious issues with the methodology and findings that can be attributed partly to the character of the authors and employees
1. The use of ‘Apartheid’ is a slur against Israel
Many noted legal experts, including Professor Irwin Cotler and Judge Richard Goldstone, have repeatedly demonstrated that labelling Israel as an “apartheid state” is distortion and slander. That’s why International Lawyer, Arsen Ostrovsky, compared the HRW report to “an antisemitic ‘blood libel’ against the Jewish state” .
All citizens of Israel have the same rights. There are no separate park benches, bus systems, or toilets. Furthermore, no regime other than South Africa has ever been deemed to meet the international definition of apartheid, not even murderous and oppressive regimes practicing separation based on race, religion, and gender such as Saudi Arabia and China.
The HRW claim is not only slanderous against Israel and unfounded in law, but it also demeans the memory of the appalling circumstances in South Africa, where there was apartheid.
2. HRW redefined ‘Apartheid’ for their report
Because there is no legal basis for using the term as it is commonly understood, HRW had to twist the definition to try and shoehorn the slander. The HRW team was quick to point out that the report distanced its accusation of apartheid from any comparisons with South African apartheid. However, no reasonable person can suggest that the authors did not want to create such a false comparison.
3. HRW has singled out Israel for decades
HRW has obsessively singled out of Jews and Israel for decades, and consistently rejected the legitimacy of a Jewish nation state, per se, regardless of policies or borders.The contents of their latest report reinforce the warning of HRW founder Robert Bernstein, in the New York Times, who wrote: HRW “has been issuing reports on the Israeli-Arab conflict that are helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state.”
The latest report, for example, takes issue with the ‘law of return‘ for Jews to Israel. Yet it makes no condemnations of other countries where ethnic or indigenous people are allowed to ‘return’. Essentially, HRW is holding Israel to a higher standard than the rest of the world.
4. The recommendations are focussed on advancing BDS
The report seems to have been written with recommendations in mind, rather than evidence. And what HRW wants is for boycott, divestment, and sanctions on Israel. The BDS campaign has been likened, by the German government, to the Nazi boycott of Jews and other democratic countries have condemned the antisemitic nature of the campaign. There is also empirical evidence that links proponents of BDS to antisemitism.
5. HRW ignores Palestinian terrorism
The phrase “Palestinian terrorism” appears nowhere in Human Rights Watch’s report. This is not the least surprising given HRW’s anti-Israel agenda. While the HRW report mentions Hamas 13 times, it designates Hamas a “political party,” and never admits that Israel, the United States, the European Union and others have designated Hamas a terrorist organisation as required by international law.The report overlooks altogether other active Palestinian terrorist organisations such as Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. As far as HRW is concerned, apparently there is no Palestinian terrorism to discuss.
6. The report cherry-picks and distorts fact
For example, the report carefully selects comparative items and distorts reality, such as “is my legal status in Jerusalem secure?” is marked as “yes” for the Jewish character and “no” for the ‘Palestinian’. There is no discussion of the complex political and legal situation in East Jerusalem. Similarly, the report doesn’t consider that Jews are forbidden from voting in Palestinian elections, whereas Arab Israelis can and do vote in Israeli elections such that the third largest party is an Arab party.
7. The real apartheid is from the Palestinian leadership
Jews are forbidden from purchasing land in the area controlled by the Palestinian Authority, and the PA pays people for murdering Jews.