Israel Tel Aviv Photo by Haley Rosenthal Dubarsky Photo by Haley Rosenthal Dubarsky

The State of Israel was established in 1948. It has been disputed over, discussed and often demonized ever since. This article I write is not to sway anyone to the side of Israel versus Palestine. My problem is with the word “Apartheid” and its incorrect use at Trent.

What is Apartheid? Apartheid usually refers to a former legal policy in South Africa that separated the European whites from the blacks in a political, racial, and economic discrimination. The Whites were owners and rulers, while the blacks were the labourers. This situation, and therefore this word, does not apply to Israel.

Today, within Israel, Jews are a majority, but the Arab minority are full citizens with voting rights and even political representation in the Israeli government, the Knesset. Jews and Arabs alike work in all kinds of labour. Under Apartheid, black South Africans could not vote and were not citizens of the country, despite being the majority.

The land that Israel now claims as “occupied” or “disputed” was won in wars initiated by the other nations in which Israel was acting in defence. However, there are security restrictions within these territories, due to the violence, crime, and attacks in opposition to Israel’s right to exist. This includes suicide bombings, rockets being sent into Israel, and other forms of terror. Any form of retaliation or defence on the part of Israel has been seen as perpetuating the Apartheid in the media, ignoring the thousands of lives of both Israeli and Palestinian citizens who suffer from the impacts of the terror they defend themselves against.

Palestinians from the territories are allowed to work in Israel and receive similar pay and benefits to their Jewish counterparts. They attend schools and universities. Palestinians have been given opportunities to run many of their own affairs, including their own democratic elections. None of this was true for South African blacks, who had been stripped of all their rights.

I am a witness; I have traveled to Israel, and I have seen how it is not an Apartheid state. I have been to the Arab markets in Jerusalem, and the Jewish quarter right beside it. I have seen these people co-inhabit, and I have seen Palestinians from the territories commuting to work and live their lives.

Of course, the situation in Israel must be resolved. Of course, this cannot go on forever. Of course, I want peace. However, calling out a democratic country incorrectly as an Apartheid state is misleading, false, and perpetuates hatred and bigotry. Know the facts; get informed. Israel is not an Apartheid State.