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Op-eds

An Ethiopian Israeli’s take on Israel Apartheid Week in SA

  • HabonimShaliach
Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) marks a week of hatred against the Jewish people in South Africa It is not necessarily against Israel’s policy, nor even the occupation.
by DANNY ADENO ABEBE | Mar 15, 2018

This so-called liberation campaign is not in favour of a logical and appropriate solution for the Palestinians. It doesn’t support the existence of the State of Israel within its legitimate borders. It is simply a campaign against the Jewish people – against our background, origin and religion.

I have to admit I don’t believe that the State of Israel and its leaders are making brave efforts to find a suitable solution that will separate us from the Palestinians forever.

And, yes, I do think we should build a river full of carnivorous crocodiles along the border between the Israelis and Palestinians, and they will live their lives there and we will live our lives here. We all clearly understand that the solution of establishing two entities side by side will benefit the two peoples.

That said, what is happening on South Africa’s university campuses this week is far from reality. The State of Israel makes a lot of mistakes, but it does not have an apartheid regime.

In Israel, a variety of different people from different backgrounds earn their living with dignity. There are no separate buses, no separate pavements on racial grounds, and no one is accepted to work solely because of the colour of their skin or origin.

An apartheid week in South Africa is an event painted with hypocrisy, and its organisers are people with a distorted perception of the Jewish people, not just of Israel as a state.

The organisers of IAW are not looking for a solution for two nations, but are drawing for a one-sided solution that will remove one nation at the expense of another. In other words, they want the dispersal of the Jewish people to the diaspora and the immediate extinction of the State of Israel.

It is time to say this loud and clear. The State of Israel could do much more to support the South African Jewish community, and Jews elsewhere, against those who set up this IAW. I believe anti-Semitic phenomena such as IAW should be seen as a terror attack against the Jewish people and an existential threat to the Jewish people given its ethnic origin.

I am always told that there are Jews who support BDS and partners in an apartheid week. I believe that throughout history, there have always been Jews who supported anti-Semitism. Even during the Holocaust, there were Jews who co-operated with the Nazis.

It’s high time – and, in fact, a moral duty – that we held a debate about Israel’s policies and criticise the government for its crooked path. But this is not what the organisers of IAW are doing.

They are simply delegitimising the Jewish people and the State of Israel, while some of them wrap themselves with flags of Hezbollah and all enemies of the Jewish people.

Just last week in Israel, retired Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran won the 2017 Knight of Quality Government award in the field of judicial authority. He is a Christian Arab who is proud of his origins and became one of the justices who tackled some of the country’s most challenging issues. He also headed the Central Election Committee during two elections.

In fact, there are 14 Arab members of Knesset, who make their voices heard in the Israeli government. So much for an apartheid state.

I owe a massive debt to an Israeli Arab doctor who saved my daughter at Hadassah hospital. For almost a decade, an Arab doctor has treated my parents with care. Is this your apartheid?

What bothers me most about this nefarious apartheid week is how the protagonists of the real apartheid struggle in South Africa have allowed a fictional organisation to use their narrative for a false campaign and anti-Semitic activity against other people.

  • Danny Adeno Abebe is the Habonim Dror and the World Zionist Organisation shaliach to South Africa.

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