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Amnesty International Accuses Israel of Being An "Apartheid" State

Allan C. Brownfeld, Editor
Special Interest Report
April 2022

In a landmark 280-page report issued on January 31, 2022, Amnesty International  
(AI) accused Israel of the crime of apartheid, saying “it is a crime against  
humanity, and it has to end.” It called for an end to the system of “oppression  
and domination” it imposes on millions of Palestinians living under its rule.  
Through a number of discriminatory policies like home demolitions, family  
separation, restrictions on freedom of movement, imprisonment and torture, Israel  
has met the criteria for the crime of apartheid as it is defined under  
international law, the report said. The report declares: “Since 1948, Israel has  
established a set of laws and systems that are designed to oppress and dominate  
Palestinians,” and are carried out with the intent of privileging Jewish Israelis  
at the expense of Palestinians.  
Writing in The Guardian (Feb. 5, 2022), Chris McGreal points out that critics of  
the Amnesty International Report, such as the American Jewish Committee and the  
Anti-Defamation League, would have to believe “Israel has been led by anti-  
Semites who hate their own country. In smearing those who lay out a reasoned  
case that Israel is guilty of apartheid under international law, American critics  
are conveniently sidestepping years of damning judgments by Israeli leaders. As  
Yassi Sarid, a former Israeli Cabinet minister and member of the Knesset for 32  
years, put it in 2008: ‘What acts like apartheid, is run like apartheid, and  
harasses like apartheid, is not a duck—it is apartheid.’”  
McGreal reports that, “Leading Israeli politicians have warned for years that  
their country was sliding into apartheid. They include two former prime  
ministers, Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, who can hardly be dismissed as anti-  
Semites or hating Israel. ‘As long as in this territory west of the Jordan River  
there is only one political reality called Israel it is going to be either non-  
Jewish or non-democratic,’ Barak said in 2010. ‘If this bloc of millions of  
Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state.’ Israel’s former  
attorney general, Michael Ben-Yair, was even clearer: ‘We established an  
apartheid regime in the occupied territories immediately following their capture.  
That oppressive regime exists to this day,’ he said in 2002.”  
Many other prominent Israelis have expressed similar views. Ami Ayalon, the  
former head of Shin Bet intelligence service, has said his country has “apartheid  
characteristics.” Shulamit Aloni, the second woman to serve as a cabinet  
minister after Golda Meir, and Lon Liel, former Israeli ambassador to South  
Africa, told the Guardian that their country “practices a form of apartheid.”  
A.B. Yehoshua, one of Israel’s greatest writers, said in 2020: “The cancer today  
is apartheid in the West Bank. This apartheid is digging more and more deeply  
into Israeli society and impacting its humanity.”  
The intent of Israeli policy, according to the AI report, is to create and  
maintain Jewish domination over Palestinians which can be demonstrated through  
laws that were instituted early after Israel’s establishment that allowed for  
open Jewish immigration and simultaneously prevented the Palestinian refugees  
from returning to their homes. Israel implements laws that geographically  
fragments Palestinians and confined them to “separate, densely populated  
enclaves,” where basic human development is restricted.  
Agnes Callamard, AI’s Secretary General, said, “We have found that Israel’s cruel  
policies of segregation, dispossession and exclusion across all territories under  
its control clearly amount to apartheid. The international community has an  
obligation to act.” **

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