We Must Put an End To Palestinian Apartheid | Opinion

"Apartheid" is a hard thing to define or identify precisely. It is not something you simply know when you see. It is something experienced over an extended period of time.

Apartheid is the state of being forcefully apart.

Under an apartheid regime, a disfavored group suffers under the yoke of policies and rules that keep it segregated from, and under the heel of, the favored group.

Apartheid has existed throughout history in only the most restrictive and backward of countries—including, perhaps most infamously, South Africa.

But with much less fanfare, apartheid policies—policies that expressly favor Muslims over believers of all other religions—also pervade large swaths of the Islamic world. In fact, the so-called Palestinian territories represent one of the most blatant apartheid regimes operating in the world today.

Consider access to religious sites. In the Palestinian-controlled territories, Jews must sneak in under armed guard if they desire to worship at their own holy sites. Even outside of the Palestinian-controlled territories, Jewish holy sites are still unsafe. Late last year, an Israeli tour guide was murdered near the Temple Mount by a member of Hamas.

While Israeli authorities look on helplessly, Palestinians engage in the destruction of ancient cultural sites dating back more than 4,000 years. Many of these sites have global historical significance and have been appropriated by the Palestinians as they work to erase the history of the Jewish people across the Land of Israel.

This past week alone, Joseph's Tomb near Nablus was twice vandalized by Palestinians. Caught on video, one of the Palestinian men was heard saying in Arabic: "There is no Joseph's Tomb anymore, you traitors." Two Jews trying to enter the holy site to repair the damage were also shot.

Pro-Palestinian hard-liners deny the Jewish people's right to our ancestral homeland, casting Jews as "outsiders" and ignoring the impossibility of walking 10 feet anywhere in the Land of Israel without trotting on ground containing layers of earth rich with thousands of years of Jewish history and culture.

Consider, too, real estate law in Palestinian-controlled territories. Under Palestinian law, selling land to a Jew is punishable by death. Someone who sells land to a Jew is considered "a traitor to the religion, the homeland and the people."

In the rest of Israel, Muslims, Jews and Christians are free to live, work and prosper. Full rights and protections under Israeli law are available to all; Israeli courts have routinely found in favor of Muslim and non-Jewish parties to lawsuits. In Israel, the world's only Jewish state, the rule of law treats all as equals.

Palestinian Muslims walk in front of the
Palestinian Muslims walk in front of the Dome of Rock mosque at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City on April 17, 2022. AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images

Conversely, the Palestinian Authority incentivizes the killing of Jews, enticing poor, starving Palestinian youth to commit devastating acts of violence against Israelis as part of its "pay for slay" program. Palestinian schools, including those funded by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, are a hotbed of indoctrination into an ideology of Jew-hatred and violent Islamist extremism.

Traditional sharia law applied dhimmi status to foreign religionists, but aimed at Israel Jews, the modern analogue has become an all-out genocidal struggle.

The Palestinian Authority does not seek peace or a two-state solution. And Palestinian apartheid is the number one obstacle to long-term peaceful coexistence.

The plight of the Palestinian Muslim victim in the face of his Israeli Jewish oppressor is a distorted narrative invented by a vile regime intent on destroying the Jewish state of Israel. This narrative willfully denies millennia of Jewish history in the Land of Israel.

The "Israeli apartheid" narrative doesn't exist to improve the status of the Palestinian people; it exists to sustain the froth of rabid Jew-hatred needed to keep the Palestinian cause front and center.

That is why it is so important to support grassroots mobilization efforts opposing Palestinian apartheid, such as the groups behind Palestinian Apartheid Week.

This movement, spearheaded by Students Supporting Israel, is predicated on the rights of the indigenous Jewish community to exercise self-sovereignty in our ancestral homeland. It counters the narrative that has thus far been allowed to take root unopposed: that Jews are the oppressors, and not the oppressed.

The struggle for Jewish self-determination is real. Any person of consciousness should feel compelled to oppose Palestinian apartheid and racism.

Brooke Goldstein is a New York City-based human rights attorney, author and award-winning filmmaker. She serves as executive director of The Lawfare Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness about and facilitating a response to the abuse of Western legal systems and human rights law.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.