The term "apartheid state," as applied to Israel, gained traction largely as a result of former US President Jimmy Carter's 2006 book "Israel: Peace Not Apartheid." The term "apartheid" refers to the conditions that formerly existed in South Africa where a 20% white minority controlled the 80% black majority through a brutally oppressive regime, which included segregationist laws and police who routinely brutalized and killed them with impunity. Blacks could not vote own property or businesses under apartheid.
Those who have used the same term to describe Israel have fundamentally misapplied its meaning, failing to take into account circumstances so incongruent to comparative realities on the ground it renders the user of said term illiterate, seriously prejudiced, or both.
Indeed, how come virtually every group of people have at least one country they call home, but if the Jews want one they are deemed "racist?"
Another under publicized fact is that the Arabs who live in Israel are quite content living under Israeli law. They vote, own property and businesses, and face no segregation. In fact, life in Israel is so appealing that on a couple of occasions when the Palestinian Authority publically threatened to annex east Jerusalem, the Israeli office of immigration was flooded by Arabs applying for citizenship in Israel, because they did not want to live under Arab rule.
By contrast, South Africa's blacks certainly weren't lining up at government offices desperate to remain subjugated under apartheid.
In South Africa, the apartheid system was an outgrowth from the British Commonwealth. Its intent was to ensure whites remained in control. In Israel's case its birth was approved by a 72% majority vote of the United Nations. The Arabs had already received almost 90% of the land originally set aside by the British as a national homeland for the Jewish people.
Yet in spite of being overwhelming beneficiaries of what was to be Jewish land, the Arabs refused to accept a tiny partition for a Jewish state. They attacked Israel 24 hours after it declared statehood.
Since then, the Arabs have made Israel's destruction a cornerstone of their existence. Groups such as the PLO, Hamas, Fatah and Hezbollah have been birthed, each with charters requiring the destruction of Israel and the eradication of Zionism.
Terror attacks have been perpetrated against Israeli civilians since it became a state. Between 1948 and 1999, some 2,000 Israelis had been killed by terrorists, which amounts to an average of 43 killings annually. In 2000, construction of Israel’s security barrier began. This is also when the second "Intifada" started.
The year 2000 also saw a spike in the average of civilians killed from 43 to 288 per year, until 2003, when the first phase of the barrier was completed. That's an increase of over 600% annually. Apparently Israel's critics conveniently ignored this when making “apartheid wall” accusations.
Today, with approximately 70% of the security barrier complete, the number of terror attacks has been dramatically reduced.
In spite of the reduction in killings, Arab leaders continue to laud murderers as heroes, naming streets and public squares after them. When officials like Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas are publically honoring murderers, is it any wonder Israel has to take proactive measures to protect its civilians by constructing a security barrier?
By attempting to ensure its survival as the only home of the Jewish people against Arabs who are theologically, politically and culturally committed to its destruction, Israel is labeled an "apartheid state." Yet it seems those who invoke such labels deserve a label of their own: Anti-Semites.