Tuesday, April 14, 2009
by Malcolm Hedding
On the 20th April, the day Hitler was born, the United Nations conference on racism, Durban II, will convene in Geneva. Durban I was nothing more than an attempt to attack Israel by accusing it of racism and of setting up the new Apartheid state. Thankfully, the USA walked out of that circus thus exposing the racist and anti-Semitic nature of the convocation. But now, in Geneva, those seeking to delegitimize Israel are seeking to ratify Durban I and smear Israel again. The Apartheid accusation against the Jewish State will be revived and more greatly amplified. Anti-Apartheid activists like Desmond Tutu will be quoted to verify the claim and even Jimmy Carter will be referenced in order to prove the point. The goal is simple: Discriminate against Israel, delegitimize Israel and, in the end, call for the dismantling of Israel. These voices are already being heard in different parts of the world. Durban II will press forward with this agenda.
Naturally, the word Apartheid is a very powerful one as it evokes images of racial discrimination and suffering that were all too common in South Africa for decades. Forty million people were robbed of their human dignity, treated like animals and herded into ghettos. They were classified white or non-white at the stroke of a pen and sometimes, when such racial profiling was not possible, the strength of one’s curled hair would determine one’s fate. Race coloured all departments of life and those who opposed the system were harassed, hunted down, imprisoned, exiled or even killed. It was an evil system that destroyed the lives of countless thousands.
It was indeed a joyous and great day when this scourge was finally removed allowing South Africa to become a fully democratic non-racist state on the 24th of April, 1994. However, to equate Israel with this system is ludicrous. I lived under the Apartheid State and its vicious machinery and know all too well what it meant. To band the word apartheid about loosely is an insult to the 40 million people who suffered under it. To use the term other than in its original context is to play down the horrific nature of this political nightmare. The same applies to the use of the word Holocaust other than in its original context. There can be no equal! Yet this is what Durban II is all about. The goal is sure; if a charge or accusation of being an apartheid state can be made to stick as far as Israel is concerned then a call can be made to the international community to dismantle such an entity. After all, why should Israel be different to South Africa? This is the danger that Israel now faces. It is a real danger and not one to be taken lightly. Powerful and significant international “players” are involved with it.
Israel is not an Apartheid state. It is a thriving modern day democracy that affords all its peoples dignity and equality under the law. Within its borders are Jews, Christians, Arabs, Druze, Armenians and many other minority groups. All have the same rights and dignity under the law. It enjoys freedom of the press and the right to peaceful protest. Women are respected under the law and allowed into all branches of human endeavour. Israel is a shining light in an Arab world that is largely in the grip of totalitarian governments. Yet it is Israel that the United Nations conference in Geneva has chosen to describe as an Apartheid one! Nothing could be further from the truth.
The conflict in Israel has nothing to do with Apartheid and never will. It is a conflict for survival and thus until Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and their fellow travelers in the Middle East come fully to terms with Israel’s existence the sufferings of the Palestinians will continue. Not because they live under an Apartheid regime but because they live under bad leadership that has led them continuously into a no man’s land of misery and despair. The idea of a Middle East without Israel is a delusion that many have to get over. Until that day dawns the blessings that Israel can bring to the region will be forfeited.
Rev. Malcolm Hedding
International Christian Embassy Jerusalem
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