The Merriam-Webster dictionary actually had listed Israel as an example for its definition of the word apartheid, a policy of racial segregation that existed in South Africa.
The word has been used by the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement and other anti-Israel organizations that accuse Israel of practicing apartheid in regard to the Palestinians. This idea wormed its way into the dictionary too, until this week when it was removed.
Merriam-Webster’s website had linked to an article in of the sentences in the Star-Tribune of Minnesota accusing Israel of apartheid.
“As Israel prepares to formally annex the most fertile, most water-rich third of the Palestinian West Bank, will America continue to enable Israeli apartheid and the Hundred Years’ War on Palestine?” the article said.
A reader complained about the inaccuracy of the sentence. Carolyn Polis, Merriam-Webster’s correspondence coordinator, said the sentence has since been removed.
“It is, of course, never our intention to provide example sentences that may be offensive or inappropriate to any of our readers, and we do our best to remove those example sentences immediately when they are noticed or brought to our attention. We appreciate you reaching out to us and helping us ensure that our information is as accurate and useful as possible,” Polis wrote.
Within Israel, even Arab citizens have equal rights under the law. The Palestinians are largely governed by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza.