Mondoweiss / January 3, 2022
Yair Lapid says that in 2022 the debate over Israeli apartheid will be “unprecedented in its venom and in its radioactivity,” and Israeli journalists repeat the claim without reviewing the facts.
We think that in the coming year, there will be debate that is unprecedented in its venom and in its radioactivity around the words ‘Israel as an apartheid state’,
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said during a Zoom briefing with Israeli journalists, as reported today by The Times of Israel.
Lapid called the apartheid appraisal “a despicable lie” and added that “in 2022, it will be a tangible threat”.
The briefing included Israel’s pet-drama, the “Iranian nuclear threat”, which really is just a political “threat” related to “loss of Israeli hegemony”, as Ian Lustick puts it in his eloquent and sober appraisal of the matter. When it comes to Israel, we don’t even talk about its nukes. Lustick:
So, what really perturbs Gantz, Bennet, Netanyahu, and so many other Israelis who speak about Iran in such apocalyptic in frenzied terms? Simply put, they fear the loss of Israeli hegemony. An Iranian state capable of perhaps using a nuclear weapon would end Israel’s status as the confidently preponderant military power in the region.
But Lapid is now applying nuclear terms to the mere appraisal of Israel as an Apartheid state. This is on the one hand hilarious. On the other, it is a serious example of just how much populism is applied by Israel apologists in order to counter the well-documented appraisal of Israel as an Apartheid State. After all, it was Israel’s own prominent human rights NGO B’Tselem which came out less than a year ago with a detailed report on Israeli Apartheid from the river to the sea. Human Rights Watch reached similar conclusions in its Apartheid report which came only a few months later.
Lapid calls this venomous, and it’s even radioactive. Don’t you even dare touch those reports, you’ll die of radioactive poisoning!
These people don’t want to face the truth. It’s an insane level of denial. But there’s another important point here: the audience. Notice that these are Israeli journalists who are being briefed. This speaks to the notion that Israeli hasbara, while often thought of as propaganda towards the rest of the world, is actually a main tool of self-denial. Given, Lazar Berman, The Times of Israel’s diplomatic reporter, is also one of these journalists and it’s printed in English, so that suggests there’s also an external propaganda purpose. But Lapid’s outrageous message needs messengers to get out. Indeed, Berman does not counter the nerve of Lapid’s claims with facts, but rather extends it in his own appraisal:
Israel has long adamantly denied accusations of apartheid, saying its Arab minority enjoys full civil rights, as well as the term “occupation” to describe its activities in the West Bank and Gaza. It views Gaza, from which it withdrew soldiers and settlers in 2005, as a hostile entity ruled by the Islamic terror group Hamas, and it considers the West Bank to be disputed territory subject to peace negotiations — which collapsed more than a decade ago.
This is whataboutism. Lazar does not once relate to the above referred reports nor their solid findings of Apartheid as consistent Israeli policy. A responsible journalist should at least do that. And while we could get into all those details once again, I think we should just let Yair Lapid shoot himself in the foot with his desperate hyperbole.
Israel is an Apartheid state. I’m saying it and I didn’t die, nor was I poisoned. You know who does get poisoned by Israeli Apartheid? Children. Gazan children. Like Professor Sarah Roy of Harvard said:
“Innocent people, most of them children are daily being poisoned” – by the water they are forced to consume.
That’s what we should really be speaking about.
Jonathan Ofir – Israeli musician, conductor and blogger/writer based in Denmark