Whenever people accuse Israel of practicing apartheid, I am flabbergasted. What about all the serious discrimination that goes on in all the other countries of the middle east?
From this column [via MA]:
The dirty little secret is out. It is the Arab countries, not Israel, that have to be considered apartheid states. ...
It is easy to illustrate the general behavior of denial of rights by Arabs by specific reference to racial, ethnic, religious, and gender discrimination against black Africans, the Kurds, Christians and Jews, and women. It is more potent to illustrate it by actions or non-actions regarding the Palestinians, the very people regarded as being “oppressed” by Israel.
One telling feature is the frequent refusal, usually for financial reasons, of Arab hospitals to provide medical treatment for Palestinians, compared with the hospitality of Israeli hospitals that have treated thousands of Palestinians every year, even wounded would-be suicide bombers, from the West Bank and Gaza.
The policy of Arab apartheid was made clear by the Arab League's Resolution 1457 of 1959. Though there is supposed to be an “Arab nation,” the Arab countries would not grant citizenship to applicants of Palestinian origin deliberately in order to prevent their assimilation into the host countries.
A statement by Mahmoud Abbas, published in the official PLO journal in March 1976, complains of this policy. The Arab armies that invaded Israel “forced [the Palestinians] to leave their homeland, imposed on them a political and ideological blockade and threw them into prisons similar to the ghettos in which the Jews used to live in Eastern Europe.” [emphasis added]
In Syria, Palestinian refugees in 1954 were granted partial rights, though not political rights. For many years they were not allowed to hold property, and they have never been allowed to become citizens. The Assad regime, controlled by the Alawites, 14 percent of the population, are in charge not only of the government, but of a considerable part of business.
The Kurds have traditionally been excluded from the political, economic, and cultural life of the country and have been subjected to denial of basic human rights, to persecution, to mass murder, and to arbitrary police behavior. ...
Jordan has been the only Arab country to grant citizenship to Palestinians, but since 1988 it has arbitrarily withdrawn that nationality without notice from thousands. In 1983, Jordan introduced different color-coded travel cards for Palestinians to and from the West Bank.
This has created different levels of citizenship rights, in access to education at all levels, and in fees for drivers’ licenses. Above all, Palestinian non-nationals require a residency permit, thus suffering in the job market. They still are generally not allowed to practice some of the organized professions.
The claim that Israel is an apartheid state has always been a malicious falsehood.