Israeli-Arabs condemn ‘false’ Amnesty report calling Israel ‘apartheid’

Arab Minister Esawi Frej said Israel is not apartheid. Israeli-Arabs working toward coexistence say they enjoy equal rights.

By Adina Katz, World Israel News

Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Frej of the left-wing Meretz party conceded in an radio interview Tuesday that Israel is not an apartheid state, although he was critical of what he claimed was “Jewish supremacy.”

On the heels of the release of Amnesty International’s biased report against the Jewish state on Monday, alleging Israeli ‘apartheid,” Frej stated that “Israel is not an apartheid state.”

However, he said the report “should raise an alarm.”

Meanwhile, Israeli-Arabs and organizations working toward coexistence condemned the Amnesty report, saying its findings were “false and defamatory,” TPS reported.

Lorena Khateeb, an Israeli member of the Druze community and a social activist, said that “as an Israeli-Arab citizen, I condemn Amnesty’s report.

“I grew up studying and working with Muslim Christians, Druze and Jews, we all put together the Israeli puzzle, despite the challenges, we enjoy equal rights and even work to fix what is not. This is what apartheid looks like?”

Yoseph Haddad, an Arab Israeli who served in the IDF and was wounded in combat, tweeted: “Amnesty – Who are you to decide that we live under an apartheid regime? You have no idea about the reality in Israel.”

“Stop the lies, and stop promoting your agenda on my back and the back of Israeli-Arab society!” he demanded. “Amnesty Internasional has already broken the record for hypocrisy, but to compare Israel to an apartheid regime is not only a distorted lie but an insult to all those South Africans who actually lived through apartheid. It is contempt for and cynical exploitation of the concept.”

The “Together Vouch for Each Other” organization, which promotes coexistence in Israel, stated that “as an Israeli-Arab NGO, we condemn Amnesty International’s false and defamatory report. We are Israeli-Arabs who live, study and make a living here, we are all an integral part of the society and enjoy equal rights.”

“We are working to correct what needs to be corrected from within, but to say that Israel is apartheid is a gross misrepresentation of the reality and an insult to those who suffered under apartheid in South Africa. This is an accusation that we collectively and categorically reject. We call on Amnesty International to stop advancing their anti-Israel agenda on our backs,” the organization said.

In a video response to Amnesty’s “lies” about Israel, the Foreign Ministry (MFA) released a video Tuesday showing Israel’s government ministers of various ethnic and religious backgrounds, including Frej.

“The State of Israel is a strong and vibrant democracy that grants all its citizens equal rights, regardless of religious or race. The State of Israel was established as the national home of the Jewish people with broad international support, in light of the lessons of the Holocaust,” the MFA said in a statement.

“The State of Israel will continue to promote the values of democracy and inclusiveness, in whose light it was established and continues to exist,” the Ministry stated.

TPS’ Aryeh Savir contributed to this report.