Many people assert that answering this question in the affirmative is antisemitic. Let’s take a closer look…

First, what is Apartheid? According to the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute:

Apartheid refers to the implementation and maintenance of a system of legalized racial segregation in which one racial group is deprived of political and civil rights. Apartheid is a crime against humanity punishable under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Now let’s look at some specific Israeli laws that could be viewed as satisfying the definition above:


The Law of Return of 1950 recognised the right of any Jew (the term was undefined) to immigrate to Israel, but did not itself confer citizenship. Citizenship itself was granted by the Citizenship Law of 1952, which granted citizenship to any Jew who immigrated under the Law of Return. The law explicitly repealed the Palestinian Citizenship Order 1925 retroactively from the day of the establishment of the state.[7] An Amendment in 1971 granted the right to citizenship to Jews who expressed the desire to immigrate to Israel, without taking any formal steps.

Economic Rights

Following the 1980 amendment to Israel’s Nationality Law, Palestinians are strictly legal citizens of the State of Israel. They have “passport citizenship” rights, but are excluded from several aspects of the Jewish welfare state and are therefore denied equal “democratic citizenship”. While enjoying the fruits of Jewish civil rights (such as access to courts of law and private property) and political rights (access to the ballot and to government) they are denied social rights and economic rights in the form of social security, education and welfare, or access to land and water resources of the State.[11]

Right to a United Family

Israel’s parliament on Thursday passed a law denying naturalization to Palestinians from the occupied West Bank or Gaza married to Israeli citizens, forcing thousands of Palestinian families to either emigrate or live apart.

Right of Return

The Israeli Law of Return that grants citizenship to people of Jewish descent is viewed by critics as discriminatory against other ethnic groups, especially Palestinians that cannot apply for such citizenship under the law of return, to the territory which they were expelled from or fled during the course of the 1948 war.[195][196][197]

Right to Commemorate the Nakba

In 2009 the Israeli government banned uses of the term “Nakba” in school textbooks and required the removal of existing textbooks that mentioned it.[33][21] In 2011, Israel passed a law known colloquially as the “Nakba Law” that authorized the withholding of state funds to entities that commemorated “Israel’s Independence Day or the day on which the state was established as a day of mourning”…


Those are just a few examples. I could go on, but my conclusion from the examples above is that Israel does in fact meet the definition of an Apartheid state. But don’t take my word for it, respected human rights organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have reached the same conclusion:

In April 2021, Human Rights Watch released its report A Threshold Crossed, making accusations that the policies of Israel towards Palestinians living in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza constituted the crime of apartheid.[130] A further report titled Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime Against Humanity was released by Amnesty International on 1 February 2022.[131]

To those who claim this belief is antisemitic, I counterclaim that it actually follows the best traditions of the Jewish religion, which teaches us:

According to God’s covenant with Abraham, every Jew is called upon not simply to believe in the values of righteousness and justice, but to act on them: motivated by moral responsibility, to advocate–as Abraham did–on behalf of the vulnerable of all nations.