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Calgarian writes to The Hill Times, addressing biased misinformation from CJMPE's Thomas Woodley

Re: Canadians recognize what their leaders won't: Israel practices apartheid, Thomas Woodley, Sept. 6, 2023, The Hill Times

Sept. 18, 2023

Dear Editor,

At a writer's conference in Australia, poet and writer Mohammed El-Kurd stated that he knew Israel was not an apartheid state, he just said so to insult it and will continue to insult it because it deserves the insults. If El-Kurd who lives in Israel knows that Israel is not an apartheid state, what basis does Thomas Woodley use to spread this libelous accusation? A need to insult the Jewish state?

For those interested in this issue, here are the facts proving that Israel is a not an apartheid state.

One of the common libels against Israel is that it is an apartheid state. Israel does not bear the least resemblance to Apartheid South Africa.

In South Africa, it was illegal for blacks and whites to date and marry. In Israel there are thousands of Jewish Arab marriages.

In South Africa. there were separate hospitals. Black doctors were forbidden from touching the bodies of white people. In Israel, Arab and Jewish doctors and nurses work together to treat people of all colors and ethnicities. Unlike South Africa, Israel does not have separate hospitals for Arabs and Jews.

In South Africa, there were separate rest rooms, drinking fountains and schools. In Israel, Arabs and Jews learn together, teach together, work together in research institutes and in jobs after graduation. Arabs and Jews use the same public toilets.

Palestinian journalist Khaled Abu Toameh noted that, "Among South Africa's Apartheid laws, the Bantu Homelands Citizenship Act effectively stripped all Blacks of their South African citizenship and of the right to vote." Israel's Arabs have the right to vote, have their own political parties one of which was part of Israel's ruling collation and are equal citizens. An Arab serves on Israel's Supreme Court. Many Arabs serve in the IDF too, as one Arab stated, "o defend my country".

When this is pointed out to Israel's critics, they say, well maybe Israel is not apartheid but Israel's treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories is apartheid in nature. This falls apart when one reads statements from Palestinian leaders forbidding any acts of normalization such as Palestinian and Jewish mothers wanting to set up day care centers. Palestinian mothers who persevere are under powerful pressure to stop cooperating with Israelis. Any separation of people in Arab governed areas is self-inflicted, not imposed on them by Israel.

Apartheid should also not be assumed from Israel's security measures like check points and security walls. For 75 years, Israel has been under attack, if not always by neighboring countries, by Palestinian resistance groups. Measures undertaken by Israel to protect its people that are used by hundreds of other countries confronted with terrorism are designed to save lives not separate people.

Sincerely yours,

Larry Shapiro, Calgary

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