Oscar Wilde wrote that “the truth is rarely pure and never simple.”
The French diplomat Gerard Araud has – unintentionally, no doubt – overturned that observation. He has shown how the truth is often simple and rarely accepted.
Shortly before stepping down as ambassador to Washington, Araud remarked that Israel is already an apartheid state.
The brief comment – made in an interview published by The Atlantic – predictably drew a hostile response from Israel’s supporters.
Once the Israeli government protested, Araud claimed he had only been referring to the occupied West Bank. I challenged Araud on Twitter about why he was backpedaling on something as obvious as the fact that Israel is an apartheid state; Araud replied by effectively retracting his comment:
— David Cronin (@dvcronin) April 30, 2019
Araud was previously posted in Tel Aviv and appears to keep a close eye on Israeli politics.
He is surely aware that Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, confirmed in March that Israel is not a state of all its citizens.
What is the best word to describe a state where one racial or ethnic group dominates over another? You’ve guessed it: apartheid.
Araud is surely aware, too, that last year the Knesset – Israel’s parliament – passed the so-called Nation-State Law. By restricting the right of self-determination to Jews and by removing Arabic as an official language, it similarly confirmed that Palestinians living in Israel are unwanted.
Despite his apparent U-turn, Araud remains more candid than some other representatives of Western governments.
Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, has described the Nation-State Law as “first and foremost a matter of how Israel choses to define itself,” adding that “we fully respect the internal Israeli debate on this.”
Through the Nation-State Law, Israel defined itself as an apartheid state in all but name. That is the reality which Federica Mogherini has undertaken to “fully respect.”'
Read more: EU envoy admits he doesn’t really care about Palestinian rights