On June 22, The Toronto Star published the following letter to the editor that wrongly claimed the existence of “Jewish-only buses”, “Jewish-only highways” and “Jewish-only settlements”.
The intention is to libel Israel with racism in an effort to detract from the root cause of the Israeli-Arab conflict: a rejection of the Jewish state.
As CAMERA explains, while there are certain roads prohibited to Palestinians in the West Bank for security reasons, just as there are Arab roads which Jews are forbidden from taking, there are no roads built solely for Jews. Israel’s Arab citizens and, indeed, Israeli citizens of any religion or ethnicity, have just as much right to travel on those restricted roads as do Israeli Jews. Nor are there “Jewish only buses”. And while extra bus lines have been introduced to offer Palestinians in the West Bank direct transportation to Israel (Israeli bus lines previously did not run in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas), these are neither Jewish-only nor Palestinian-only. These buses are geared for those Palestinians, but Palestinians and Israelis can use any bus service of their choosing.
And as for the term “Jewish-only settlements”, this is deliberately misleading. Israeli Arabs are equally entitled to live in Israeli communities established over the Green Line.
Apartheid policies reign in the Middle East, where non-Arab, non-Muslim minorities are persecuted and subject to special laws and segregation. Israel is the only country in the Middle East which distinguishes itself by its democratic character where every citizen is equal under the law.
Following HRC’s request for corrective action, the Toronto Star issued the following clarification on June 28:
While we are appreciative of the Star’s clarification, the lack of context still misleads. Both Palestinians and Israelis are banned from certain roads, and these are strictly for security reasons. This is important context which derails the notion of alleged racist Israeli policies. And the special bus service offered to non-Israeli Palestinians living in the West Bank who work in Israel is for the benefit of Palestinians, who would otherwise have to travel to Israeli settlements to take a bus directly into Israel.