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Byron Shire
May 17, 2021

Israel not an apartheid state

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Dr Dvir Abramovich, Chairman, Anti-Defamation Commission. 

We write in response to the article “Palestine friends to target north coast MPs, ABC offices” that appeared in the Echonetdaily on January 19th.


The report begins with the following statement:

Byron shire’s supporters of Palestine are ramping up their protest against apartheid Israel with planned actions against federal MPs on the north coast in coming weeks.

Your reporter Luis Feliu should have known better than to repeat this offensive slur that  bears no resemblance to the realities of contemporary Israel.

This loaded and inflammatory term been continuously employed by Israel’s detractors to delegitimize and demonise the Jewish state by arguing that it promotes the vile racial policies similar to those promulgated by the former apartheid government in South Africa.

Freedom of the press  is an important and universal value. However, to allow your platform to function as a vehicle for anti-Israel messages is irresponsible and undermines the reputation of the Echonetdaily as a welcoming space for all groups and individuals.

It is indeed a shame when any publication appears to abandon its objectivity in order to become an unabashed spokesperson for one side. By peddling and recycling this myth, your publication is not contributing in any meaningful way to the prospect of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. In fact, it doe the opposite, empowering those wishing to fan the flames of division in our nation.

In a region of dictatorships and theocracies, Israel has established one of the most robust and free democracies in the world, safeguarding the rights of Jews, Muslims and Christians, and ensuring that its Arab citizens enjoy full and equal rights before the law, including the right to vote and the right and publish freely.  Surely your reporter is aware aware that Israel, which  in its Declaration of Independence pledges to protect the equal rights of all citizens, does not favour an apartheid policy and has long accepted a two-state solution and self-determination for the Palestinians— trying to achieve this outcome through negotiations, territorial withdrawals and peace offers that clearly rebut any claims that Israel’s objective is to rule over the Palestinian population indefinitely, or to persecute and racially segregate them.

I would  remind you of the words of Justice Richard Goldstone who has maintained that accusing Israel of apartheid “is an unfair and inaccurate slander against Israel, calculated to retard rather than advance peace negotiations.”

We urge you to remove this particular word  and to refrain from using such hurtful and thoughtless statements in future. I also hope that you put in place the necessary measures to ensure that similar articles employing such terms will not appear again in your publication.

The words ‘apartheid Israel’ have been retained in the original story but placed in inverted commas to indicate they do not represent the official viewpoint of Echonetdaily. – Ed


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  1. I would not want to buy into the arguments around this conflict. Unlike the Palestine supporters who write regularly in the Echo, my world view is not defined by the US media priorities. As I have before though I do object to the Palestine supporters using the term “apartheid”. The definition of apartheid was extended in the UN in the early seventies so that Israel was included. This was done at the behest of some Middle Eastern countries which were keen to isolate Israel. They were supported by Communist and by many third world countries that were variously Soviet or Chinese puppets, dictatorships and/or one party states that shared a common background that they were keen to support causes like this as a distraction from the poor economic management and performance and poverty that followed their independence . Australia and like-minded liberal democracies, which opposed the obnoxious doctrine that was apartheid in South Africa, have never accepted this misuse of the term and do not use it now for other than South Africa. Those who do pay homage to those ruthless, incompetent, corrupt, nepotistic and venal leaders of the Communist and third world who unsuccessfully tried to change the usage of a word that is significant to all of us who opposed apartheid in South Africa.

  2. Dr Abramovich welcome to wacky world of anti Israel diatribe which is “Palestinian friends” in the Northern Rivers.
    On a monthly basis we are able to read their ridiculous assertions and reporting on Israel, never questioning the morality or ethics of the PA, Hamas or recognising the virtual dictatorships that these organisations impose on their constituents. I sometimes replied, but their support for the Palestinians is not genuine, I don’t think they are at all concerned for the future or welfare of these people. Their flat earth view that seemingly lacks any thoughtful reflection leads me to the conclusion that the basis of their opposition is just that Israel exists. Despite the facts no doubt they will continue to refer to Israel as apartheid and the Echo will continue to print that.

  3. The BDS movement would not exist if it were not for Israels’s appalling policies that isolate and marginalise Palestinian civilians every single day in contravention of international law. If it were not the case friends of international law and opponents of Israel’s exceptionalism would not exist at all. Case closed.


    • Why are there no equivalent BDS movements that target, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, China, Egypt, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria and a dozen other countries. Oh and don’t be a woman or gay in these places then its gets really bad. All these countries isolate and marginalise their constituents, but no, no BDS for them. Case closed as you assert is rubbish. Until there is a modicum of equity, openness and fairness in this conversation, then the BDS movement like others that target Israel remain another example of an age old antipathy.

  4. What is in reality loaded and inflammatory for Abramovich, chairman of the Whitewashing War Crimes Commission, are FACTS.

    Israel is an unabashed Apartheid entity, Fact. In fact it is a racist apartheid entity.. … that undermines human decency and peace.

    As recent as 15 March 2017the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) report stated Israel has violated international law by operating an apartheid regime.

    “The weight of the evidence supports beyond a reasonable doubt the proposition that Israel is guilty of imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people, which amounts to the commission of a crime against humanity,”

    And in November 2017, Mandla Mandela, the grandson of Mandela who fought South African apartheid, on a visit to Palestine stated, “Palestinians are being subjected to the worst version of apartheid.”

    It is indeed a shame when irresponsible zionist apologists abandon moral objectivity in order to become an unabashed spokespersons for the vile side that perpetrates war crimes, against the indigenous Palestinian families, by peddling and recycling the myth of divine right to Palestinian real estate.

    In a region of dictatorships and theocracies, Israel has established one of the most robust armament industries which it tests on trapped Gazan families and sells to said dictatorships and theocracies. Fact.

    I urge BE to uphold the factual word – Apartheid – and to refrain from using inverted commas around the truth.

    • When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.

      Alice was quite right to question whether we can just change the meaning of words to suit our needs. Words are not of themselves “factual”, they attempt to describe realities. It certainly does happen as the recent marriage vote showed, but it has not happened in the case of apartheid, which in English and most other languages refers the listener to South Africa. Using the UN to try to change the meaning of a word to fit ones perspective does not of itself change reality or make what was untrue a “fact”. Apartheid referred to and still does to a very particular regime, that many of us fought as passionately against as you do against Israel. The Australian and other like-minded liberal democracies have never agreed to this misuse of the term, and it only undermines the credibility of those who use it.

  5. [With regard] to Zionism’s collaboration with anti-Semitic regimes, including Hitler’s… Lenni Brenner documents how the forerunner of Netanyahu’s Likud party wanted a “Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis, bound by a treaty with the German Reich and offered to “actively take part in the war on Germany’s side” (Zionism in the Age of the Dictators).

    Sasha Polakow-Suransky says that in the 1970s a “small – albeit powerful and influential – minority of leading right-wing generals and politicians,” including Ariel Sharon, developed an affinity with the South African Apartheid regime even to the extent of inviting in 1976, the then-South African Prime Minister and later State President B.J. Vorster – a man detained during the Second World War for pro-Nazi activities – to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. Israel collaborated with S. Africa in nuclear weapons technology and sold it weapons despite the boycott. (The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa).

    According to Ilan Pappe’s “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” did not end in 1948 but continues through its imposition of 50 discriminatory laws which treat Palestinians as second class citizens and subjects them to home confiscations and demolitions, imprisonment under military law including children as young as 13, extra-judicial executions, shoot-to-kill curfews, torture, maiming, night-time raids and settler violence.


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