It is most troubling, then, that Playboy magazine, the racy but popular men's magazine, has published in its October 2007 issue an article comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa. The article, "Israel shouldn't get a free pass" by Jonathan Tasini, argues that "Jimmy Carter is correct in his book Palestine: Peace not Apartheid when he describes the control over Palestinians' movements as similar to South Africa's apartheid system."

Because the apartheid canard (and Carter's book) have been repeatedly debunked (see, for example, here and here), we won't go over the facts again here, but simply note that it is clearly an extremist, inaccurate accusation that is often used in an attempt to delegitimize the very existence of Israel.

In the article, Tasini also

• accuses Israel of violating international standards and supposedly "turning Lebanon into rubble" during the 2006 war with Hezbollah.

In fact, the vast majority of Lebanon — and even most of Beirut — was left untouched by Israel. It's worth noting too that, long before his column ran in Playboy, Tasini had absurdly alleged in a campaign video that "80 percent of [Lebanon] has been destroyed" as a result if the war. This laughable falsehood alone should have indicated to Playboy that Tasini is not a fair or honest commentator on the Arab-Israeli conflict;

• criticizes American politicians for "pander[ing] to Jewish votes" (note that Tasini himself is Jewish);

• faults Joe Lieberman and Hillary Clinton for their "endorsements of Israel's right to defend itself" against Hezbollah aggression; and

• levels the false and clichéd accusation that it is "impossible" to be critical of Israel without being called an anti-Semite.

Also striking is what isn't mentioned in the article. While spending the bulk of his article excoriating Israel for its attempts to defend itself, he virtually ignores the reasons why Israel is forced to fight. The only instance of terrorism he mentions — in order to "establish [his] bona fides" as a Jew with relatives in Israel, he explains — is the murder of his step-grandfather in 1994. But even here, he makes sure to note that the attack was in response to Baruch Goldstein's massacre of Palestinians in Hebron. By contrast, Tarisi doesn't even entertain the idea that Israel's security barrier, which he criticizes, might be a response to Palestinian terrorism. In fact, other than this singular attack almost fifteen years ago, there is not even one mention of Palestinian terror. The words "Hamas," "Islamic Jihad," or "al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade" do not exist on the these Playboy pages.

In other words, this is the kind of distorted, one-sided article that one might expect to find on an anti-Israel propaganda site, but not in Playboy.