A recent study by Just Journalism revealed that Financial Times editorials, far from being a neutral voice, disproportionately blamed Israel for the problems of the Mideast and repeatedly disregarded salient facts. Anti-Israel bias isn’t confined, however, to FT editorials. An op-ed by Palestinian politician Mustafa Barghouthi is a prime example of the paper’s contribution to the demonization of Israel.
The False Apartheid Analogy
The title of the op-ed – Israel knows apartheid has no future – may have been penned by the FT or Barghouthi himself. Either way, the use of the word ‘apartheid’ in the headline is deliberately designed to create in the mind of the reader, the false analogy of Israel with apartheid South Africa.
Indeed, according to Barghouthi:
Apartheid is here. There is one set of Israeli laws applied to Palestinians in the West Bank and another set applied to Jews in the West Bank. Israeli settlers live illegally in beautiful subsidised housing on stolen Palestinian land while we are relegated to smaller and smaller bantustans.
This charge comes on the back of Israel Apartheid Week, on which Richard Cohen of the Washington Post wrote:
The Israel of today and the South Africa of yesterday have almost nothing in common. In South Africa, the minority white population harshly ruled the majority black population. Nonwhites were denied civil rights, and in 1958, they were even deprived of citizenship. In contrast, Israeli Arabs, about one-fifth of the country, have the same civil and political rights as do Israeli Jews. Arabs sit in the Knesset and serve in the military, although most are exempt from the draft. Whatever this is — and it looks suspiciously like a liberal democracy — it cannot be apartheid….
(See here for more on debunking the false apartheid analogy.)
Despite this, Barghouthi continues to parrot the language of demonization, referring to “antiquated notions of racial supremacy and colonisation.”
In a detailed examination of the apartheid charge, NGO Monitor points out that labeling Israel an apartheid state is part of a larger strategy of political warfare that includes non-governmental organization boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns and “lawfare” cases against Israelis.
Barghouti once again draws on false and misleading parallels and makes the link between apartheid and BDS:
We are now in the early stages of a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions directed at this Israeli government for its refusal to abide by international law. Such action successfully overturned Jim Crow laws in the American South and apartheid in South Africa, and we are slowly applying it to Israeli occupation and apartheid.