Rubinstein unrepentant on ‘apartheid’ comment

In a speech to a Jewish group in London, Ha’aretz Arab affairs editor Danny Rubinstein stood behind his characterization of Israel as an apartheid state.

Speaking to about 100 people at the New North London Synagogue on Monday evening, less than a week after he declared Israel was “an apartheid state” at a U.N. conference in Brussels, Rubinstein said “apartheid” is a political term he and his newspaper increasingly use and he is not sorry for invoking it, audience members reported him saying.

Rubinstein, who is on the Ha’aretz editorial board, said he saw no reason to adapt his analysis to varying audiences – even ones abroad that include anti-Zionists.

Following the publication of Rubinstein’s remarks last week at the International Conference of Civil Society in Support of Israeli-Palestine Peace, which several pro-Israel groups said became an Israel-bashing forum, Rubinstein’s scheduled appearance Monday at the British Zionist Federation was canceled by mutual agreement.

Federation Chairman Andrew Balcombe said Rubinstein’s comments and appearance at the event, held at the European Parliament and hosted by the U.N. Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, “encourages the demonization of Israel and the Jewish people.”

Ellen Goldberg, executive director of the New Israel Fund, which promotes democracy and human rights in Israel and sponsored Rubinstein’s speech at the London synagogue, said the NIF does not endorse his viewpoint. But, she said, “as an organization dedicated to equality, freedom of speech and social justice, it cannot censor an expression of views from someone whose dedication to Israel’s future and knowledge of current affairs are exceptional.”

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