Understanding Israeli Apartheid Week

What is Israeli Apartheid Week?

Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), established in 2005, is a globally recognized anti-Israel initiative held annually, usually in March, across numerous cities and campuses. Now in its twentieth year, the antisemitic Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement has called for IAW 2024 to be the entire month of March.

IAW programming falsely alleges that Israel is a settler colonial, apartheid state. Staples of IAW are the construction of mock apartheid walls on campuses, antisemitic and anti-Zionist misinformation and rhetoric, and support for terrorist groups such as Iran-backed Hamas and Hezbollah.

What is apartheid, and why is that not an accurate word to describe Israel?

South Africa’s apartheid system created racial segregation, where black South Africans faced job restrictions and separate living. In contrast, Israel treats all citizens equally, regardless of religion or ethnicity. Non-Jewish Israelis attend universities, work in public or private sectors, and hold high-ranking positions in the government.

How and why is this allowed on campus?

The hate speech expressed during IAW, including on the mock apartheid walls, is protected by the First Amendment’s rights to freedom of speech and assembly. However, it is no longer the case if it crosses the line into incitement, threats, or exclusion based on personal identity.

How is IAW 2024 affected by the 10/7 massacre?

Campus antisemitism has skyrocketed since October 7, and Israel’s military campaign against Hamas’s attack played a significant role in IAW 2024 programming and messaging throughout the month, including the false allegation that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza.

What is genocide, and is it an inaccurate word to describe the Israel-Hamas War?

Genocide is an internationally recognized crime where acts are committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group. In Gaza, Israel has made it clear that its war is against Hamas, not civilian Palestinians. Moreover, Israel is making great efforts to eliminate civilian casualties by sending Arabic-language warnings before strikes, establishing humanitarian corridors for safe passage from combat zones, and providing additional humanitarian aid deliveries through the Rafah crossing.

Responding to Israeli Apartheid Week

Contact ACF to get connected to your respective chapter and engage in the crucial work of combating campus antisemitism.

– Report an antisemitic, biased, or discriminatory incident on campus to ACF. This is especially important if you learn of an IAW incident falling outside of protected speech.