Israel is not an ‘apartheid’ state

Israel is continually striving for peace

Sir, – The letter “Israel and the Palestinian people” (November 30th), signed by various Irish luminaries, repeats the usual canard that Israel is an “apartheid” state.

This is an outrageous falsehood. Israel is in fact the only long-lasting liberal democracy in the entire Middle East. It is the only country in the region with freedom of speech, party, press, and association and judicial transparency. It has equality under the law for all its citizens, a fifth of whom by the way are Israeli Arabs, both Muslim and Christian. It is also the only country in the region with rights and equality for the LGBTQ+ community. In terms of its legal and political systems, its vibrant press and rich civil society, Israel is remarkably similar to Ireland, another democratic republic that began in very difficult circumstances but, like Israel, ultimately thrived.

It is tiresome that the usual figures in Irish society – in politics, academia and activism – signed the above letter. Such people think they are helping in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, but in fact they are not. By constantly demonising Israel and ignoring the deep flaws on the Palestinian side, such as the Islamic fundamentalism of Hamas, and the squalid corruption of the Palestinian Authority, they make themselves morally and intellectually bankrupt. People who genuinely want to help the Palestinians should encourage democratic, moderate forces within Palestinian society and those who will eventually realise that peace with Israel can only come about through dialogue and mutual compromise, not by demonisation and intransigence.

Israel is continually striving for peace; just a few years ago it was able to establish diplomatic relations with four more Arab countries, after Egypt and Jordan have had relations with Israel for decades. It is Iran and its proxies which are destabilising the region, hence why Israelis and Arabs are increasingly coming together. It is all the more tragic then that some people in Ireland, instead of supporting Israel and the moderate Arab forces in the region, prefer to demonise Israel as much as possible and fail to condemn Iran and the forces of extremism which blight the region. In the process, such people make themselves not only redundant but, even worse, irrelevant. – Yours, etc,



Ambassador of Israel,

Dublin 4.