Letter: Does apartheid exist in Israel?




According to an op-ed written by Saree Makdisi in the Los Angeles Times on May 17, 2014, “apartheid” is a word with a very specific legal meaning. This was defined by the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1973 and ratified by most United Nations member states (Israel and the United States are exceptions).

According to Article 2 of that convention, the term applies to acts “committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.”

There is a Jewish term, “Hafrada,” which in Hebrew means literally, separation. Hafrada is the official description of the policy of the government of Israel to separate the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip from the Israeli population. Some scholars have stated that the words hafrada and apartheid are equivalent.

To explore this issue further, view the following films: “Roadmap to Apartheid,” “Occupation 101,” “5 Broken Cameras” and “The Occupation of the American Mind.”