This is an easy smear to disprove.
The freest Arab population in the Middle East lives in Israel.
It is the only country in the region where all people are guaranteed equal political and legal rights.
Arabs occupy senior positions in all sectors of Israeli society - from the Supreme Court and parliament to the arts and business.
Many Muslims - inside and outside of Israel - have made clear that Israel is not an apartheid state, but rather a model for toleration in a region filled with sectarian violence.
Israeli laws do not give preference to any race or ethnicity. All ethnicities, including Arabs, are treated equally.
Israel also guarantees freedom of assembly, movement, and voting to all citizens, which include Arabs. There are a dozen Arabs in the Knesset (Parliament) and an Arab judge of the Supreme Court.
Further, Arabs are very well represented in Israeli universities, both among students and staff.
As journalist Fred Maroun writes:
'As a left-wing Arab who knows the level of bigotry and racism that exists in the Arab world, Israel is a breath of fresh air. I want the same for us!'
Israel is also one of the few countries in the Middle East where Arab women are even permitted to vote. Four members of Israel’s parliament — the Knesset — are members of “Ra’am – United Arab List.”
There are Arab justices on the Supreme Court. About 20 percent of doctors in Israel and about half of pharmacists are Arab.
Within the borders of the state of Israel, all citizens—Jews, Arabs or otherwise—have the right to vote and complete equality before the law.
They participate side by side in elections, and Israeli Arabs hold high-ranking positions throughout the Israeli government, including the Knesset and the Supreme Court.
An Arab-led party holds the balance of power in the Knesset, and it was an Arab judge that convicted former Israeli president Moshe Katzav.
There can be no greater desecration of the memory of the victims of apartheid than ripping the word out of South African soil, detaching it from its original meaning, and weaponizing it in the cause of another form of bigotry.
'As a movement we recognise the legitimacy of Palestinian nationalism just as we recognise the legitimacy of Zionism as a Jewish nationalism.
We insist on the right of the state of Israel to exist within secure borders, but with equal vigour support the Palestinian right to national self-determination.'
Nelson Mandela, 1993
'The whole world must see that Israel must exist and has the right to exist, and is one of the great outposts of democracy in the world … Peace for Israel means security and that security must be a reality.'
Martin Luther King Jr, 1967
'If Israel were an apartheid state, I, for example, would not be allowed to work for a Jewish newspaper or live in a Jewish neighbourhood or own a home.
The real apartheid is in Lebanon, where there is a law that bans Palestinians from working in over 50 professions. Can you imagine if the Knesset passed a law banning Arabs from working even in one profession? The law of Israel does not distinguish between a Jew and an Arab. '
Khaled Abu Toameh (journalist, Arab citizen of Israel), 2010
'Most disgracefully of all, some openly call Israel an apartheid state. Think about that. Think about the twisted logic and outright malice behind that.
A state, based on freedom, democracy and the rule of law, that was founded so Jews can flourish, as Jews, and seek shelter from the shadow of the worst racist experiment in history, that is condemned, and that condemnation is masked in the language of anti-racism. It is nothing short of sickening.'
Stephen Harper, Canadian Prime Minister, 2014
'The charge that Israel is an apartheid state is a false and malicious one that precludes, rather than promotes, peace and harmony. '
Judge Richard J. Goldstone (former Justice of the South African Constitutional Court, who led the United Nations 2008-9 fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict), 2011
'Israel is not an apartheid state. Arab citizens can vote, no laws discriminate. Israel has adopted pro-Arab affirmative action measures in some sectors.'
Rhoda Kadalie and Julie Bertelmann, black South African anti-apartheid activists.