“Data Apartheid” in the Telegraph

It’s not unusual to see articles referring to Israel as the “Startup Nation” by virtue of its remarkable technological and entrepreneurial prowess.

It is unusual to see an article focused on Palestinian startups. Included in his article “Palestine’s startup ecosystem stirs into life,” Monty Munford writes (emphasis added):

Israeli authorities control cellular networks in Palestine and have still to grant 3G licences to Palestinian operators although smartphone use is widespread in the country. Consequently, Palestinians have no option other than to sign up with Israeli operators and Palestinians startups suffer from this consequent data-apartheid.

The term “data-apartheid” is an appalling example of how the false Israel “apartheid” analogy is being deployed in the least expected contexts.

This is an assertion that Israel is withholding 3G licenses on racial grounds. What evidence does the journalist have to make this claim? Unsurprisingly there is none in the article.

Considering that many Israeli cellphone companies operate automated customer service menus in Arabic while, of course, Israel’s Arab population are valued customers, contradicts charges of racial discrimination.

Irrespective of the fairness behind Israeli control of telecommunications, race simply doesn’t come into it. So why use such a loaded and patently false term such as “apartheid?”

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