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One of the most potent means of vilifying Israel is through the use (and abuse) of the “racism” and “apartheid” labels. In 1975, the Soviet and Arab blocs in the UN sponsored a notorious resolution branding Zionism as racism, and the campaigns have continued in waves since then.

In 2001, the UN’s Durban “World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance”, ostensibly organised to support anti-racism, revived the campaign in the form of an action plan to promote the “complete isolation of Israel as an apartheid state.” 

This form of political warfare was led by the powerful NGOs in cooperation with the Palestinian leadership and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, and the text was written at a Teheran preparatory conference from which Israelis and Jews were excluded. The Durban NGO Forum marked the launch of another major round of political warfare against Israel which continues today, seeking to delegitimise Jewish national self-determination.

The use of the “apartheid” libel as the primary vehicle for delegitimisation, cynically copied from and exploiting the South African struggle, is not directed against specific Israeli policies. The rhetoric and the campaigns explicitly target the existence of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

In the words of Irwin Cotler, former Canadian attorney -general, “Let there be no mistake about it: to indict Israel as an apartheid state is prologue and justification for the dismantling of the Jewish State, for the criminalization of its supporters, and for the consequential silencing of their speech.”