This week the Mail & Guardian printed a "right of reply" response to the previous week's 14000 word disparaging attack on Israel as an apartheid state.
The right of reply comes from South African Benjamin Pogrund (founder of Yakar's Centre of Social Concern and former editor of the Rand Daily Mail in South Africa): 'Why depict Israel as a chamber of horrors like no other in the world?'
It's a fairly good response to McGreal's fabrications and it should be noted that it comes from someone very left of center in Israeli politics.
|Nearly three years ago I underwent an operation in a Jerusalem hospital. The surgeon was Jewish, the anaesthetist was Arab. The doctors and nurses who looked after me were Jews and Arabs. I lay in bed for a month and watched as they gave the same skilled care to other patients - half of whom were Arabs and half of whom were Jewish - all sharing the same wards, operating theatres and bathrooms.|
After that experience I have difficulty understanding anyone who equates Israel with apartheid South Africa. What I saw in the Hadassah Mt Scopus hospital was inconceivable in the South Africa where I spent most of my life, growing up and then working as a journalist who specialised in exposing apartheid. It didn't happen and it couldn't happen. Blacks and whites were strictly separated and blacks got the least and the worst. And this is only one slice of life. Buses, post offices, park benches, cinemas, everything, were segregated by law. No equation is possible.
Go read the whole thing.
The M&G may consider themselves even handed champions of debate - but remember that in their editorial last week in a conversation about the minimal conditions for an end to the conflict they placed responsibility on Israel to recognise Hamas as the legitimate governors of the PA, withdraw from the West Bank, recognise East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state - YET they neglected to mention the need for Hamas to recognise the existence of Israel!
Balanced indeed. (Also, the McGreal articles were plus 14,000 words - the Pogrund response was 1,500 words.)
I read through the full Chris McGreal article this week and almost rolled over laughing when I read his description of Apartheid.
|There was a time when large numbers of Israelis agreed with Ze'evi and Cohen, but over the past decade they have come to support the creation of a Palestinian state as a means of ridding themselves of responsibility from the bulk of Arabs. Separation. Apartheid.|
McGreal is calling the establishment of a Palestinian state - the two state solution which most Israelis and Palestinians support - Apartheid!! Evidently 60% of the Palestinians who support a two state solution are likewise pro-apartheid!
In the editorial last week the M&G claimed that they support the South African governments stance calling for a two state solution. Yet they have stood behind the claims of Chris McGreal who effectively calls a two state solution tantamount to apartheid!
The McGreal article basically amounts to a conversation between McGreal, Ronnie Kasrils, and a number of non representative South African Jews. (Non representative because they do not represent the majority South African pro-Israel Jew.)
But has McGreal misrepresented these South African Jews? One of the South African Jews quoted throughout the article is the chairman of the Johannesburg Holocaust survivors association, Don Krausz. Quotes from Don are used throughout the article to strengthen the apartheid charge.
I happen to know Don Krausz. His pro-Israel letters can often be found in the letters section of the South African media. He is unapologetically Zionistic and proudly Jewish. I am truly interested in hearing the context around these quotes - the last of which is used to paint Jews who believe that they have a Biblical claim to Israel as "fascist".
I will do my best to get a reply from Don Krausz sometime this week.
I realise that this is quite a serious accusation I am making. But when a newspaper allows opinion pieces that celebrate the death of Israelis, how can I expect any less from the M&G?
|Finally, let us now be honest. Who on the left did not feel a sense of Schadenfreude at the sight of the World Trade Centre towers crashing to the ground? It is the same instinct that now leads us to quietly celebrate the news of an Israeli casualty. In the end, oppression and its appeasement can bring out the "terrorist" in all of us.|
Watch this space.