NO DIVIDING WALLS: The magnificent walls of Jerusalem’s Old City, originally built to keep out raiders, today welcomes both Jews and Arabs. But in view of the ongoing security threat from terrorists sheltering in the nearby disputed territories, a rather less imposing barrier has been erected further afield

Gardner's world

Oxford resignation exposes worrying development among British university students

As a South African who grew up in the apartheid era, and who signed up as a youth delegate for the anti-apartheid Progressive Party while a student, I find the now politically-correct campaign to condemn Israel as an apartheid state particularly obnoxious, not to say ridiculous.

The issue has been highlighted by the resignation of Oxford University Labour Club co-chairman Alex Chalmers in the wake of the club’s vote to endorse the global Israeli Apartheid Week seeking to bolster the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement against all things Israeli.

Chalmers has cited strongly anti-Semitic tendencies among members including support for Hamas (the terrorist group controlling the Palestinian enclave of Gaza). Of course Oxford students should know better, as they are perceived as the intellectual elite. But the Bible reminds us that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…” (Proverbs 1:7)

True, a security wall has been built to keep potential suicide bombers from launching their murderous raids from the disputed territories, which even the outspoken Palestinian Christy Anastas (a Christian woman granted asylum in the UK) says was necessary “because it has stopped my people from blowing themselves up”. And it has worked!

But this can hardly be compared with the separate development policy of Afrikaner-led South Africa, which restricted black citizens to certain areas and denied them political and other rights including access to ‘whites-only’ jobs. The minority Arab citizens in Israel have the same rights as their fellow Jewish citizens, which was never the case for blacks in my country between 1948 and the early 1990s.

In Israel, Arabs are even represented in the Knesset (Parliament) and I have personally met a Muslim Arab Israeli diplomat. In South Africa, blacks had no vote, their pay was much lower than that of white people doing the same job, and access to education was limited. How can an apartheid state have Jews and Arabs working together in government and side by side in hospitals?

There are 1.6 million Arabs living in Israel – that’s 20% of the population. And yet PA leader Mahmoud Abbas will not allow any Jews to live in his proposed state of ‘Palestine’. So who’s practising apartheid? Worse still, the new Hamas textbooks in Gaza teach that “all of Palestine from the Mediterranean Sea to the River Jordan belongs to us – to us Muslims.”1 So no room for Jews anywhere in the region then!

What an irony, too, that the present South African government chooses to condemn Israel as an apartheid state when it was the Jewish community among the ruling white population who were at the forefront of the anti-apartheid movement there. Frankly, it’s all about anti-Semitism and the delegitimisation of Israel, ignited by gross ignorance, prejudice and skewed intelligence.

Robert Hardman, in a major Daily Mail article2 on the Oxford debacle, points out that “Israel is one of the only places in the Middle East where these oh-so-righteous custodians of the moral high ground could live without discrimination or worse…”

I’ll let America’s legendary civil rights leader Martin Luther King have the last word. In a letter to a friend who claimed to be ‘merely anti-Zionist’, not a Jew-hater, he thundered: “Let the truth ring forth from the high mountain tops, let it echo through the valleys of God’s green earth: When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews…

“Anti-Semitism, the hatred of the Jewish people, has been and remains a blot on the soul of mankind… And what is anti-Zionism? It is the denial to the Jewish people of a fundamental right that we justly claim for the people of Africa…”3

Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King

“Anti-Zionism is the denial to the Jewish people of a fundamental right that we justly claim for the people of Africa…”

– Martin Luther King


1 Peace in Jerusalem by Charles Gardner, – also a source for other material used in this article

2 Daily Mail, February 20 2016

3 This I believe: selections from the writings of Dr Martin Luther King Jr, New York, 1971, pp234-235. Thanks also to Saltshakers, the website of author Steve Maltz

French ultimatum

Hot on the heels of last year’s Paris attacks at the hands of Islamic fundamentalists, the French have issued a thinly-veiled ultimatum to Israel that, if they don’t agree to a proposed peace conference, they will unilaterally recognise a Palestinian state. Yet PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki has said: “We will never go back and sit again in direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.” (CFI, JNN)

‘Blind hatred’

Four Arab journalists visiting Israel found that reality did not match the myth they had been fed about the country. “It’s a shame that most people in the Arab world are still filled with blind hatred and prejudice toward Israel,” an Iraqi journalist identified as GM told Israeli media sources. (Israel Today)

Refugee thanks Israel

A Syrian refugee now living in Istanbul has created a website dedicated to thanking Israel for their humanitarian aid. Aboud Dandachi, who grew up being told Jews were their enemies, now describes them as “the most humane and generous people of this era”. (JNN)

Killers rewarded

Iran has offered financial rewards to the families of Palestinian ‘martyrs’ killed in what they call the ‘Jerusalem intifada’ involving the merciless stabbing and shooting of Jews. (JNN)

Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen (Amazon) and Peace in Jerusalem, available from

CFI = Christian Friends of Israel

JNN = Jerusalem News Network, compiled by Barry Sega

– Charles Gardner

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