It is no secret that the Middle East is not a welcoming neighborhood to Christians. Too often Christian fate involves constant threats, religious restrictions, persecution, and isolation. For such reasons, many Christians immigrated from the region.
There is only one country in the Middle East, where Christian communities are thriving and growing, said Cliff May the founder and president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. That country is Israel.
However, Amnesty International, which May once regarded as an admirable organization, recently released a damning report against Israel. He refers to it as a “fiercely anti-Semitic indictment of Israel for the crime of apartheid.”
In a conversation with ALL ISRAEL NEWS Editor-in-Chief Joel Rosenberg, May tries to grasp what drives the double standard that is often applied to the Jewish state.
Does Israel really meet the definition of apartheid? According to the dictionary, it is “a former policy of segregation and political, social, and economic discrimination against the nonwhite majority in the Republic of South Africa.”
“Apartheid is slander. There’s no other way to put it,” Rosenberg said. “It doesn’t mean that there isn’t racism, and it doesn’t mean that there isn't tension and that things can’t get better.”
Rosenberg notes that fully 21% of Israel’s population of 9.4 million people are Arabs, and they all have full rights under Israeli law. In 1948, nearly 1 million Jews lived in the Arab world. Yet today, there are almost no Jews living in the Arab world.
“Look at the Palestinian Authority,” Rosenberg told May. “Are there any Jews that are citizens of the Palestinian Authority? Zero. No. How about Lebanon? Zero. How about Syria? Zero. Jordan? Zero. In Egypt, there are now 15 Jewish people, so not zero, but there’s 100 million people.”
“If you’re going to use the concept of apartheid, you have to say, are Jews allowed to live and vote and start a party and build, you know, in your country? And the answer is no in almost every Arab country. So no, it’s a slander,” he adds.
Rosenberg mentions that Israel currently has an Arab-Christian judge sitting on its Supreme Court, and that around 83 Israeli-Arab citizens have served in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, since 1949. The Israeli government that was sworn-in in June 2021 includes an Arab Islamist party.
Whereas Rosenberg defined the Amnesty report as “demonic,” May wondered about the origins of such anti-Israel demons. He said that years ago he attended a dinner party in which one woman referred to Israel as an apartheid state.
“Everyone at that dinner party, with the exception myself, assented to that view,” he told Rosenberg.
That gloom memory has stuck with May for a long time. It made him believe that the Israel perception of Amnesty International is “probably more towards mainstream here than it is towards the extreme.”
“I would say is that this is a just the newest variant of the virus of anti-Semitism,” May stressed. “Rabbi Lord Sacks, the famous and philosopher writer and rabbi in Britain, said that in the 19th century, they hated us for a religion. In the 20th century, they hated us for our race and in the 21st century they hate us for our nation state. This is just anti-Semitism in a new bottle.”
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.