Reverend Dr. Kenneth Meshoe, an outspoken member of the South Africa Parliament, recently expressed ongoing frustration with accusations that Israel is an apartheid state, calling such claims an insult to what his own nation went through.
“As a black South African who lived under apartheid, …in my view, Israel cannot be compared to apartheid in South Africa,” Meshoe wrote in the San Francisco Examiner. “Those who make the accusation expose their ignorance of what apartheid really is.”
Meshoe explained that under South African apartheid, which was “a legal system of segregation and oppression based on skin color,” black people such as himself could not vote, freely travel, or hold high government positions. Furthermore, they were subjected to segregation everywhere from pubic restrooms to schools to hospitals.
“In my numerous visits to Israel, I did not see any of the above,” stated Meshoe. “Black, brown and white Jews and the Arab minority mingle freely in all public places, universities, restaurants, voting stations and public transportation. All people have the right to vote. The Arab minority has political parties, serves in the Israeli parliament (Knesset) and holds positions in government ministries, the police force and the security services. In hospitals, Palestinian patients lie in beds next to Israeli Jews, and doctors and nurses are as likely to be Israeli Arabs as Jews. …None of the above was legally permissible in apartheid South Africa!”
In short, Dr. Meshoe, who heads the African Christian Democratic Party, said it was “slanderous and deceptive” to make such accusations against Israel as doing so “trivializes the word apartheid, minimizing and belittling the magnitude of the racism and suffering endured by South Africans of color.”
In conclusion, he wrote that “Israel is a model of democracy, inclusion and pluralism that can be emulated by many nations, particularly in the Middle East.”
It was not the first time Dr. Meshoe had spoken out on this issue. At an international gathering of legislators in Budapest on October 31, 2011, he similarly called those who accuse Israel of apartheid of being “ignorant” at best, and purposely deceitful at worst.
For a slightly different take on this: http://www.anorak.co.uk/357430/news/on-israel-apartheid-and-steven-hawkings-boycott-for-anything-but-peace.html/