HRW’s ‘Apartheid’ report denies Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish State – NGO Monitor

April 27, 2021 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report, titled “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution,” is an attempt to deny Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish state, NGO Monitor stated.

Photo by Kobi Richter/TPS

HRW released a report on Tuesday accusing Israeli authorities of “committing the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.”

The report’s findings are ostensibly based on an “overarching Israeli government policy to maintain the domination by Jewish Israelis over Palestinians and grave abuses committed against Palestinians living in the occupied territory.”

The 213-page report claims to present “the present-day reality of a single authority, the Israeli government, ruling primarily over the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, populated by two groups of roughly equal size, and methodologically privileging Jewish Israelis while repressing Palestinians, most severely in the occupied territory.”

“Israeli authorities should dismantle all forms of repression and discrimination that privilege Jewish Israelis at the expense of Palestinians,” HRW demanded.

Israel’s apartheid policies should “prompt the international community to reevaluate the nature of its engagement in Israel and Palestine and adopt an approach centred on human rights and accountability, and should establish a UN commission of inquiry to “investigate systematic discrimination and repression in Israel and Palestine.”

Countries should also condition arms sales and military and security assistance to Israel on Israeli authorities “taking concrete and verifiable steps toward ending their commission of these crimes.”

Responding to the allegations in an extensive analysis of the report, the NGO Monitor watchdog said that the document “adds to decades of HRW’s obsessively singling out of Jews and Israel, and rejection of the legitimacy of a Jewish nation-state, per se and regardless of policies or borders.”

HRW’s report is part of a concerted campaign by at least 15 groups over the past 18-months to interject the term “apartheid” into discourse about Israel. Indeed, HRW cites and quotes many of these NGOs in its publication.

Furthermore, the claims made regarding Israel and the definition of apartheid under the Rome Statute are “fundamentally political, and rejected by many legal experts as distortion and slander.”

The HRW’s recommendations to the international community repeat the claims it has made for 20 years in promoting BDS campaigns against Israel and targeting companies that do business in Israel and are primarily focused on advancing boycotts on Israel.

The report was written by Omar Shakir, whose work visa was not renewed by Israel because of his active involvement in  BDS campaigns and activities against the Jewish state.

Possibly most importantly, HRW denies Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish state and reduces all security policies to “demographic objectives.”

Finally, NGO Monitor noted that the report reinforces the warning of HRW founder Robert Bernstein, in the New York Times, who wrote in 2009 that HRW “has been issuing reports on the Israeli-Arab conflict that are helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state.”

Former Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon has called HRW a “blatantly hostile anti-Israeli organization whose reports have the sole purpose of harming Israel with no consideration whatsoever for the truth or reality.”

In Australia, the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council’s executive director Dr Colin Rubenstein said: ”

“This report is a textbook example of a biased organisation knowing what conclusion it wants to reach and then writing a report to substantiate it.

Human Rights Watch has run an obsessive 20-year campaign of vilification against Israel, including making similar apartheid claims in the past. Even HRW’s founder Robert Bernstein has denounced these claims.

Israel is not an apartheid state, and to claim it dishonours the real victims of apartheid in South Africa. All Israeli citizens, regardless of race, colour or creed, have the same democratic rights. Israeli Jews, Israeli Muslims and Israeli Christians sit alongside each other in Parliament and on judicial benches, they work alongside each other in hospitals and they sit next to each other on buses and trains.

In addition to calling for boycotts of and sanctions against Israel, this report has something else in common with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel – whose leaders say their aim is the elimination of the state of Israel. Similar to the BDS movement, the report condemns Israel not only for its policies but for what it is – implying that any Jewish nation-state is by nature an “apartheid state” and thus a “crime against humanity.” Needless to say, the criterion HRW applies to make this claim would likely make the majority of the world’s nations “apartheid states”.

Furthermore, it is an additional and unequivocal distortion of international law to claim that Israel is obliged to treat non-citizens who live in Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank and Gaza exactly the same as its citizens, as the HRW report does. Any restriction Palestinians face are designed to meet legitimate security needs to prevent a repeat of events like the Second Intifada, which saw over 1,000 Israelis murdered in Palestinian terror attacks, or the firing of over 10,000 rockets by Hamas at Israel. Yet the Palestinians have been offered a state of their own several times, but rejected every offer. Accepting one of these offers would presumably have freed them from such restrictions.

Anyone who genuinely cares about the future of Israelis and Palestinians, or about real human rights as proscribed by international law, should treat this so-called report with the contempt it deserves.”

ZFA President Jeremy Leibler said, “By distorting the meaning of apartheid to fit its anti-Israel agenda, Human Rights Watch has betrayed the memory of the victims of Apartheid and weakened the necessary fight against racism wherever it appears in the world. Human Rights Watch and all its backers should be ashamed of themselves.”

The report is littered with mistruths and selective facts. It sidesteps the fact that all Israeli citizens, regardless of their ethnicity or religion, have equal rights, and equal access to an interventionist judiciary to ensure those rights are protected.

NGO Monitor has compiled an analysis of the HRW report, finding it continues its decades-long anti-Israel agenda, and that the report’s author is a long-time activist in anti-Israel activities.

The Human Rights Watch report suggests that Israeli security actions are designed to advance its “demographic agenda”. Israeli security considerations in the West Bank and around Gaza are not and never have been based on racial or ethnic considerations. They are based on the desire for Israel to protect its citizens. Palestinians in the West Bank are not Israeli citizens. Ironically, if Israel were to apply Israeli law to Palestinians, Human Rights Watch would condemn Israel for annexing the West Bank.

Mr Leibler concluded, “This report results in a great stain on Human Rights Watch’s reputation. Enemies of the State of Israel will delight in this report. But people who have a genuine interest in Palestinian self-determination will realise that this report makes that process harder, by rewarding with silence the true oppressors of Palestinian rights.”


One Response to “HRW’s ‘Apartheid’ report denies Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish State – NGO Monitor”
  1. Michael Lewis says:

    40 odd fellow travellers commented in today’s SMH about the perfidy of Israel. One even virtually compared the Hamas rockets to ineffective fireworks.

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