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AIJAC’s response to Human Rights Watch’s new report accusing Israel of “Apartheid”

Apr 27, 2021 | AIJAC

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On April 27, the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report entitled, “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution.” Here is a response to that report from AIJAC Executive Director Dr. Colin Rubenstein, AM:

“This report is a textbook example of a biased organisation knowing what conclusion it wants to reach and then writing a report to substantiate it.

“Human Rights Watch has run an obsessive 20 year campaign of vilification against Israel, including making similar apartheid claims in the past. Even HRW’s founder Robert Bernstein has denounced these claims.

“Israel is not an apartheid state, and to claim it is dishonours the real victims of apartheid in South Africa. All Israeli citizens, regardless of race, colour or creed, have the same democratic rights. Israeli Jews, Israeli Muslims and Israeli Christians sit alongside each other in Parliament and on judicial benches, they work alongside each other in hospitals and they sit next to each other on buses and trains.

“In addition to calling for boycotts of and sanctions against Israel, this report has something else in common with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel – whose leaders say their aim is the elimination of the state of Israel. Similar to the BDS movement, the report condemns Israel not only for its policies, but for what it is – implying that any Jewish nation-state is by nature an “apartheid state” and thus a “crime against humanity.” Needless to say, the criterion HRW applies to make this claim would likely make the majority of the world’s nations “apartheid states”.

“Furthermore, it is an additional and unequivocal distortion of international law to claim that Israel is obliged to treat non-citizens who live in Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank and Gaza exactly the same as its citizens, as the HRW report does. Any restrictions Palestinians face are designed to meet legitimate security needs to prevent a repeat of events like the Second Intifada, which saw over 1,000 Israelis murdered in Palestinian terror attacks, or the firing of over 10,000 rockets by Hamas at Israel. Yet the Palestinians have been offered a state of their own several times, but rejected every offer. Accepting one of these offers would presumably have freed them from such restrictions.

“Anyone who genuinely cares about the future of Israelis and Palestinians, or about real human rights as prescribed by international law, should treat this so-called report with the contempt it deserves.”

Dr. Colin Rubenstein AM
Executive Director
Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC).

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