Tony Katz

Secretary of State John Kerry referred to Israel as an apartheid state, saying, "A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative. Because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens—or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state,"

Secretary Kerry later apologized for those remarks, and challenged anyone who challenged him on his commitment to Israel to a rousing game of Toss The Medals. (The trick is, you never actually throw them, but everyone thinks you're super cool. Then, you milk that for all its worth and marry a billionaire!)

Calling Israel an apartheid state is to admit a total ignorance of history and an open desire to further insult black people world wide. Israel has no second class citizens. 12 members of the Israeli government are Arab. Arab women can vote (let's try that in Syria, shall we?)

Israeli law provides for religious freedom; 20% of the population is non-Jewish. As Alan Dershowitz once commented, "For the first time in Mideast history, there is an independent judiciary willing to listen to grievances of Arabs-that judiciary is called the Israeli Supreme Court."

In 1997, The New York Times ran a story about the torture of black men during South Africa apartheid. A low level officer, Jeffery Benzien, as his job, tortured people daily. In his own words, speaking about a man who was once a victim of the torture, ''If I say to Mr. Jacobs I put the electrodes on his nose I may be wrong,'' he testified. ''If I say I attached them to his genitals, I may be wrong. If I say I put a probe in his rectum, I may be wrong. I could have used any one of those methods.''

The right to vote vs. one torture victim asking Benzien, ''Do you remember saying that you are going to break my nose and then putting both your thumbs into my nostrils and pulling it until the blood came out of my nose?'' Israel is not an apartheid state.

Yet, the shameful use of the word apartheid state continues. However, it is not just when anti-Semites and anti-black bigots use it indiscriminately for their twisted means to attack Israel.

The Netroots Nation conference - a yearly convention for progressives and other left of center types - announced that the next event would take place in Arizona in 2015. Markos Moulitsas, who founded the Netroots convention when it was called The Yearly Kos, announced that his organization will not be attending and will not financially support the event.

Why? Because, according to Moulitsas, Arizona is an apartheid state for passing SB 1070; the Arizona law that allowed law enforcement, when engaged in a lawful stop, detention or arrest, to ask whether or not the person being stopped was in the country legally.

On his site, Moulitsas stated: (emphasis mine)

Netroots Nation announced two days ago that Phoenix, Arizona would host its 2015 conference. I wish the conference the best, but it will unfortunately take place without Daily Kos' attendance or assistance.

I made very clear in the wake of Arizona's passage of SB 1070 that I would not be setting foot in the state, nor spending a dime in it until the law was revoked. The law, however gutted...remains on the books, as does systemic harassment of Latinos...

I've heard...arguments for picking Arizona:

We're taking the fight to the enemy I doubt the conference would decide to host the event in, say, Apartheid South Africa, in order to "take the fight to the enemy". If you think that analogy is absurd, it is, but only in terms of degree, not intent in the county that has consistently elected Sheriff Joe Arpaio since 1992.

Latinos deserve that same kind of respect.

In the eyes of Moulitsas, those engaged in a lawful stop by the police and classifying people based on their skin color, preventing them from getting jobs, forcing them to carry documents (when they were already citizens!) and limiting their involvement in the government that was systematically subjugating and enslaving them is the same thing.

When making the sick comparison of Arizona to an apartheid state, Moulitsas is creating moral equivocation between being forcibly removed from your house and having your land sold to white landowners without remuneration, and being asked a question in Tucson.

Apartheid is evil. It should never see the light of day in any society. Yet, amazingly, using apartheid to score political points is worse. It's an insult to every black person the world over. Progressives, by their own words, find it acceptable to minimize the painful history of black people for their own gain. They found a way to make evil worse.

Tony Katz

Tony Katz is a radio talk show host, writer, public speaker and cigar enthusiast. His show can be heard on 93.1FM WIBC in Indianapolis, and at