The campaign demeans not just the Middle East’s only democracy, but those who suffered under South Africa’s racial separation laws

I’ll never forget watching Nelson Mandela walk to freedom after 27 years in a South African prison. His release heralded the end of apartheid and resulted in his election as the nation’s first black president. My generation had taken part in huge marches and demonstrations outside the South African embassy. Banks and businesses working with the apartheid regime were boycotted. The country was ostracised and excluded from international sporting and cultural events.

It was a just cause: apartheid was a system of segregation and discrimination based on race. All aspects of life were brutally segregated according to the colour of people’s skin. The police and judicial system, hospitals and the civil service, schools and universities were all organised along strict rules of racial separation.

So it is an utter disgrace to see the “Israel Apartheid” campaign organised again this week with hard-Left campaigners, anti-Israel obsessives and anti-Semitic racists organising campus campaigns to smear one of our most important allies and to intimidate Jewish students and Israel’s supporters. It is a grotesque insult not only to the Middle East’s only democracy, but also to black South Africans who suffered under the brutal apartheid regime.

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