Israel flag. Picture: THINKSTOCK
Israel flag. Picture: THINKSTOCK

Terry Crawford-Brown’s letter scoffing at allegations that campaigning for a boycott against Israel is antisemitic is predicated on a gigantic sleight of hand, namely the unquestioned assumption that Israel is an apartheid state that, like white SA, deserves to be boycotted (No antisemitism, June 6).

In reality, there are few, if any, countries in history less deserving of the epithet “apartheid state” than Israel. Its colour-blind immigration policies alone demonstrate the sheer absurdity of such a claim. What kind of apartheid state goes to huge trouble and expense to increase its black population (including bringing to Israel virtually the entire Ethiopian Jewish community, all of whose members would have been subjected to the full range of oppressive and racially discriminatory laws had they been unfortunate enough to live in apartheid-era SA)?

Claiming that Israel practices apartheid against Palestinians in the West Bank is likewise meaningless. There, checkpoints, separation barriers and other measures that keep Jews and Arabs apart are based on the sobering realities of the bitter and still unresolved conflict that exists between the two peoples, not on race. One can point to similar measures operating in places like Kashmir and Cyprus, where the population is likewise sharply divided along both religious and ethnic lines.

David Saks
SA Jewish Board of Deputies