The term “apartheid” evokes horrific images from nearly half a century of South African oppression. Given how charged a word it is, it’s imperative that those applying it to other contexts substantiate the allegation with solid evidence. A recent report from Amnesty International fails in that regard.
“Crime of Apartheid: The Government of Israel’s System of Oppression Against Palestinians” clocks in at 280 pages and is full of biased analysis that does not reflect reality on the ground. Still, it’s worth considering how this report fits into the ecosystem of anti-Israel ideas and activism.
Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, calls the report “antisemitic at its core. It absolutely meets the IHRA definition [of antisemitism], holds Israel to a different standard, twists Israel’s history, and mischaracterizes last May, a defensive war where Israel responded. There’s so much in there, it’s almost hard to unpack all of it.”
Among those problems, Amnesty’s report uses the phrase “Palestinian citizens of Israel,” disregarding that only 7 percent of Israel’s Arab population would describe themselves as Palestinian. The wars of 1948 and 1967 are written about as if Israel had been the aggressor. The Oslo Accords are conspiratorially described as “fragmenting and segregating Palestinians even further to Israel’s benefit.” Just after acknowledging that Israel left Gaza in 2005, the report claims the “Gaza Strip remains under Israeli military occupation,” which would be news to Hamas.