Israel Apartheid Week Blind to Middle East Issues

Joseph Stern, Contributing Writer

This past week on NYU’s campus was deemed “Israel Apartheid Week.” Spearheaded by Boycott, Divest Sanction and supported by Students for Justice in Palestine, the week hopes to bring to light alleged atrocities. But, in truth, it seems these actions are more about a strategy of deflection, which neglect addressing the dysfunction of many Arab societies.

In fact, the Palestinian plight is a pan-Arab issue, and events like NYU Israel Apartheid Week miss the bigger picture. In 1959, the Arab League passed Resolution 1457, which states: “The Arab countries will not grant citizenship to applicants of Palestinian origin in order to prevent their assimilation into the host countries.” In Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait and Egypt, Palestinians have been marginalized through a series of laws, royal decrees and security measures, often banning them from education, healthcare and certain jobs. In Libya, Palestinians have been forced to pay a special tax, and have recently been banned from entering the country. In Syria, thousands of Palestinians were displaced from their homes and killed in the civil war.

But countries within the Arab League go further than just discriminate against Palestinians. Their policies include depriving many groups of their civil, religious and political rights. Throughout the Arab League, persecution against religious minorities, such as Christians, Jews and Baha’is, has become rampant. Beyond persecution, rampant inequality plagues large swathes of the population in Arab countries, particularly with women. A 2002 United Nations report states: “women in Arab League countries suffer from unequal citizenship and legal entitlements often evident…In voting rights and legal codes [and] from inequality of opportunity.”

And yet, these human rights infringements are met with little uproar. Across the country, universities have become complacent with the hypocrisy of allowing anti-Israel organizations to assault the one Middle Eastern country that guarantees equality for all of its citizen across all religions, races and genders.


Around 1.4 million Palestinians are given full rights as Israeli citizens and more freedom than any other Arab country grants, while Palestinians of Gaza and the West Bank enjoy far more rights, as well as a far higher standard of living, than they would in almost any other Arab League Nation. Palestinians have held seats in the Knesset and served as diplomats, mayors and ambassadors. In civilian life, Palestinian Israelis are distinguished academics, doctors and businessmen. Arabic, along with Hebrew, is an official language of the state of Israel.  
The claim that Israel is an apartheid state is a malicious falsehood. While the supposed objective of Apartheid Week is to lead to justice, it ends up ignoring actual instances of apartheid. If these actions are truly about injustice, those at the forefront should turn towards the rampant bigotry that is systemic throughout the Arab world, rather than attack the one democratic state in the Middle East.

Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, April 18 print edition. Email Joseph Stern at [email protected]



  1. Indeed. Or to put it another way…

    While Saudis repress all their people (other than the royal family whom have private $500 million dollar private airplanes)… and while Saudis execute gays, women and Shi’ites on trumped up charges… and while Saudis export Islamist hatred across the globe…we focus our angst on Israel – the only country in the Middle East where Palestinians have the right to vote and where Palestinians serve in Parliament -for deep down we are really just Brown Shirts pretending to be humanitarians.

    While Abbas serves in his eleventh year of his four year term, and while Hamas rules with fear, repression and intimidation, while education under the Palestinian elected officials focuses on Mein Kampf-like messages, and while women killers and baby killers are glorified by the perverse and despicable Palestinians we focus our angst upon Israel – the only country in the Middle East where Palestinians are free to protest and are allowed the luxury of free speech -for we are really just Brown Shirts pretending to be humanitarians.

    While Pakistanis ethnically cleanse that once entirely Hindu country of its few remaining Hindus we focus our angst on Israel – a country with a Palestinian Supreme Court member – for deep down we are really just Brown Shirts pretending to be humanitarians.
    While Egyptians ethnically cleanse that country of its two thousand year old Coptic community we focus our angst on Israel – a country with a more diverse demographic profile than any Muslim country in the Middle East -for deep down we are just Brown Shirts masquerading as humanitarians.

    While Islamists turn Nigeria into the next Sudan with gang-raping and child kidnapping and mass killings becoming commonplace we focus our angst on Israel – for we are hypocritical Muslim apologists -and deep down we are really just Brown Shirts pretending to be humanitarians.

    While Sunnis insatiably kill Shi’ites, and Shi’ites endlessly kill Kurds, and while Kurds endlessly kill Sunnis and every variation of this blood-letting theme, we focus our angst on Israel – the only country in the world that has increased its green space – because we are just Brown Shirts pretending to be humanitarians.

    While Yemenis turn that bread basket of the Arabian Peninsula into a place of starvation we focus our crocodile tears on Israel for deep down we are really just Brown Shirts pretending to be humanitarians.

    While Islamists in Southern Thailand kill off over 5,000 Buddhists in the span of a few years we ignore their plight and turn our focus on Israel – a country that has contributed more medical and scientific advancements per capita of any country in the world – for we are today’s Brown Shirts, today’s Goebbels’ acolytes goose-stepping like a gaggle of mindless geese.

  2. Grave human rights violations against religious and ethnic minorities have become increasingly commonplace in the Muslim world. Not only Jews are targeted, but, as the world has seen, Christians, Hindus, Baha’i, Alevis, Shi’as, Sunnis — and anyone who does not conform to some self-appointed person’s vision of Islam. Muslims are burned alive, Christians’ heads are cut off on a beach, a Christian couple in Pakistan is thrown alive onto a burning kiln, churches and Bibles are not allowed in Saudi Arabia, and there are sign-posted roads and turn-offs for anyone not Muslim. It is hard to get more “apartheid” than that.

    Meanwhile, as Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists are busy bashing Israel, Yezidi children and women are raped by Islamic State (IS) terrorists, Iranian Kurds under torture are awaiting their executions, and Christians are sold into slavery or beheaded. Being persecuted has become an integral part of the daily lives of Christians all around the Muslim world. Yet where, from the groups that are always quick to condemn Israel, are the rallies, marches, flotillas or boycotts against these regimes and terrorists?

  3. The supporters against Israel seem far more aggressive and radical than those who support them. I agree it is a difficult issue, but in honesty, this nation needs a little less extremism, from both the left and the right.

  4. Yet another example of Whataboutism. You can’t defend Israel’s gross human rights violations so you try pointing the blame at others and bashing Muslims in general. Palestinians and Israeli Arabs have no connection to these other countries, so thats no excuse for the massive discrimination on every level in Israel, economically, culturally, legally, etc.

    Israel claims they’re the only real democracy in the Middle East. That hasn’t been true for decades, and since 2011 theyre not even the largest democracy in the Middle East. When Israel claims to be the best in the region, that also means we expect more from it. So claiming you’re not AS bad as a dictatorship is not something to be proud of, its the least you can do.

  5. Good article. SJP should really stand for “Students for Jew-bashing Propaganda.” They even tried to pin recent police excessive force claims on Israel, hoping to sucker black students to join their Israel-hate-fest. I hope no students at NYU are dumb enough to fall for such blatant manipulation.

  6. During the apartheid years in South Africa (1948-1994) Israel co-operated with the racist Whites-only Government. All the members of that regime had sided with Hitler’s Nazis during the war. Some of them spent time in jail for treason for supporting Hitler’s racism. None of that deterred Israel from consorting with the apartheid racists in a nuclear program, with the connivance of the U.S.A. and Britain. Good for Israel if it has mended its apartheid evil ways. Did Israel confess and repent its evil kiss-and-don’t-tell dalliances with Nazi racism in South Africa?

  7. oh – and “grave human rights” violations — that might include clitorectomies, the fact that most women can’t drive or even walk in the streets in most Muslim countries, Jews are, at best tolerated when visiting, women aren’t actually “raped” unless there are four male witnesses, women can be stoned to death for looking at another man — why don’t you get your priorities right and criticize and try to effect change where it needs changing. Israel is a DEMOCRACY, where peaceful people of all religions, or no religion for that matter, can live. Go take a look at the West Bank and Gaza since it was “given” to Hamas. Good luck to Christian friends attempting to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcre, Bethlehem, etc. Something is really wrong with this world when Israel, a modern culture who treats men and women of all faiths with respect, is the “enemy” and everyone else is a hero.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here