Netanyahu: French FM’s apartheid claim is ‘brazen, false’ – The Jerusalem Post

Israel is a leader of democracy and human rights in the Middle East and not an apartheid state, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday, protesting recent comments by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
“The minister said that Israel was liable to become an apartheid state – a brazen, false claim that is without any foundation,” Netanyahu said.
The prime minister added that “in the State of Israel all citizens are equal before the law, regardless of their origin. The State of Israel is the beacon of democracy and human rights in our region, the only democracy in our region. Thus it has always been – and thus it will always be.
“We will not tolerate any hypocritical and mendacious preaching of morality on this matter,” Netanyahu stated.
Le Drian said on Sunday that the chance of a two-state solution “was starting to disappear” and “the risk of apartheid is strong if we continue to adopt a logic of one state or the status quo.”
We must “initiate a policy of small steps,” Le Drian told French TV program Grand Jury, adding: “We must ensure that there is a logic of trust that can be established” between Israel and the Palestinians.
French lawmaker Meyer Habib, who represents French expats in Israel and other countries and is a longtime personal friend of Netanyahu, called Le Drian’s remarks “unfortunate.”
“Israel will never be an apartheid state,” he said. “[France] should not be preaching to the only democracy in the Middle East and the only Jewish state in the world.”

Le Drian’s “irresponsible statement adds fuel to the fire, perhaps with a goal to get votes from the pro-Arab Left,” Habib said.
Le Drian’s remarks come amid a push by NGOs to label Israel an apartheid state. Human Rights Watch released a lengthy report making that argument last month, as did Breaking the Silence earlier this year.
While accusing Israel of apartheid, Human Rights Watch distanced itself from comparisons to what was once an actual apartheid state, South Africa, while still claiming Israel falls under that category.

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Netanyahu: French FM’s apartheid claim is ‘brazen, false’ – The Jerusalem Post

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