In response to an upcoming Amnesty International-UK report that falsely labels Israel as an apartheid state and seeks to delegitimize and even criminalize the existence of Israel as the Jewish homeland, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) and the Rabbinical Assembly (RA) have issued the following statement:
We reject Amnesty International's outrageously dishonest claims and are deeply disturbed by the lies, obvious biases, and use of material from anti-Israel organizations to prepare its unfair report on Israel, which at the same time erroneously disregards and downplays the oppression and suffering of minority communities under the apartheid system in South Africa,” say leaders of the RA and USCJ speaking together.
It is deceitful to level ‘apartheid’ accusations against Israel, a vibrant democracy that grants equal rights and representation to all its citizens. The very composition of the current Israeli government exhibits just such democracy and a commitment to the full inclusion of all Israeli society. The current governing coalition is the most diverse in Israel’s history and is comprised by Jewish and Arab parties, secular and religious members, those with disabilities, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, and second-generation Holocaust survivors. By contrast, the tyrannical apartheid system in South Africa enforced segregation and contributed to the dehumanization of citizens both in law and in practice. It's one thing to criticize Israel but it's quite another to attempt to knowingly mislead the world with defamatory, antisemitic language, which implicitly calls Israel a racist state and puts lives at risk. Let us not conflate the two.
As friends and family of Israel, we have spoken out when we disagree with its government and will continue to hold the Israeli government to the highest possible standard. For this same reason, it is incumbent on all of us to call out false reports such as this one and particularly to condemn its dismissal of the right to self-determination for Jews in their historic homeland. These distortions, if left to fester, threaten the right to peace and security for millions of Israelis, both Jews and Arabs.
Not only does Amnesty International apply a double standard in its analysis, but its repeated demonization and delegitimization of Israel as the Jewish homeland echoes the tenets of modern antisemitism. This report will inevitably embolden antisemites around the world, who seek to undermine the only Jewish state in existence. We call for its full retraction and expect others to reject such dangerous characterizations now and in the future.