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May 08, 2007

Anti-Apartheid Preacher: Labeling Israel Apartheid is "Absolute Nonsense"

Malcolm Hedding, a minister who grew up in apartheid South Africa and preached against his government's racist practices, has forcefully spoken out against those that argue Israel is an "apartheid state":

"Calling Israel an 'apartheid state' is absolute nonsense," he insists. "You might have structures that look like apartheid, but they're not. The barrier fence has nothing to do with apartheid and everything to do with Israel's self-defense. There was no such barrier until the second intifada, when people were being murdered on the highways. And the country does not dehumanize its minority in the sense of apartheid. The issues are totally different."

Hedding believes Israel has more than proven its desire to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians, while granting political rights to its own Arab citizens within a liberal democratic system. Nevertheless, the Palestinians remain committed to Israel's destruction.

By contrast, he says, it was a tiny minority in South Africa that held power and once democracy came, the Nationalist Party that had dominated the masses disappeared.

"Israel is not trying to dominate the Arab minority or dehumanize it; she's trying to facilitate sovereignty in one way or another while protecting her own citizens from a program of destruction. In no way is it an apartheid system."

Read the rest of the article, including Hedding's message to Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu, here.

Posted by GI at May 8, 2007 02:50 PM


In a state practicing Apartheid, would Arab Muslims be able to vote, stand for and be elected to the national legislature? Would the entire Arab-Israeli population be eligible to vote, let alone Arab women?

What’s more, would the majority of Israeli Arabs turn out to vote in national elections, as they have done?

Would an Apartheid state allow several Arab political parties, who are often critical of the state, to run for election? Would there be any Arab judges on Israel’s Supreme Court? Would the Judiciary of an Apartheid state be free from political interference?

Would all the road signs in the country feature both Hebrew and Arabic? Would Arab Muslims be free to attend Israeli schools and universities alongside Jews in an Apartheid state? And moreover, live side-by-side in its cities and rural villages?

Would Human Rights organizations be allowed to operate freely in an Apartheid state? And would the media be able to challenge all aspects of government policy and national identity?
What’s more, would an Apartheid state allow its citizens to demonstrate against perceived infringements on their liberties?

The answer is clearly no. Israel is not an Apartheid state.

Despite accusations to the contrary, it is arguably the most tolerant and inclusive societies in the region, offering its Arab citizens more rights than they would experience under any of Israel’s neighbouring Arab-Muslim governments.

Israel and Zionism bear no resemblance to the Apartheid policies of South Africa, and to argue as such, is to insult the myriad of South Africans who were the true victims of the Apartheid system.

Posted by: The Hamilton Coalition for Truth and Dialogue at June 17, 2007 09:43 PM

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