Consider this. Under apartheid in South Africa, whites and non-whites lived in separate regions of the country. Non-whites were prohibited from running businesses or professional practices in the white areas without permits. They had separate amenities (i.e. beaches, buses, schools, benches, drinking fountains, restrooms), received inferior education, medical care, and other public services, and although they were the overwhelming majority of the population, they could not vote or become citizens. In contrast, Israel is a democracy in which Jews and Arabs have equal rights under the law, live where they choose, and benefit from the same health, welfare and infrastructure policies and programs. Israeli Arabs also enjoy the highest standard of living, the highest rates of longevity and literacy, and the lowest rate of infant mortality of any Arab-Muslim population in the Middle East! Israel also has an open political system in which Israeli Arabs vote, run for office, and serve in government. Moreover, Israel allows freedom of speech to a degree not tolerated in the Arab-Muslim world, and in fact does not even employ the same kinds of safeguards against sedition and treason that are taken for granted in the United States and other Western democracies.
Given all this, it should come as no surprise that Salim Jubran, an Israeli Arab, sits on the Supreme Court of Israel, and Arabic is an official language in Israel and is posted on all road signs. In 1948, there was only one Arab high school in Israel. Today there are hundreds. And this. The valedictorian of the most recent graduating class at the medical school at Israel’s MIT – Technion – was a Muslim woman. Israel is also the only country in the region in which the Christian population isn’t falling precipitously. Israel’s Arab Christians in fact make up one-third of Israel’s pharmacists and have a higher rate of success on their graduation exams than Israeli Jewish students. The Golani Brigade, an elite Israeli army unit, recently appointed Col. Rassan Alian, a Druze, as its commander and Alian joins other members of the Druze community who have served or are currently serving as Israeli ambassadors to Brazil, Norway and the Dominican Republic.
Moreover, in February 2013, a new Miss Israel was named. She was Yityish Aynaw, a 21-year old Ethiopian-born Israeli. And she is not the first Ethiopian-born Israeli to be honored. In 2011, Hagit Yaso was the first Ethiopian-born winner of the Israeli version of “American Idol.” In 2012, Belaynesh Zevadia was appointed Israel’s first Ethiopian-born ambassador – to Ethiopia, and in January 2013, Pnina Tamano-Shata (of the Yesh Atid party) became the first Ethiopian woman to be elected to the Knesset, not to mention Ahmad Tibi, an Arab Israeli, who is deputy speaker of the Israeli Knesset and leader of the Arab Movement for Change, or Ta’al. In fact, in the whole Middle East, only 1.6 million Arabs have complete political and religious freedom…….and all of them live in Israel.
The fact that these anti-Israeli boycott campaigners on our campuses attack Israel as an apartheid state not only demonstrates their ignorance of what apartheid was in South Africa, but raises the issue of why they do not propose boycotts of states that truly merit international disgust and censure.