Israel and South Africa
While I find it so encouraging that the American people are finally joining the worldwide outcry against the South African apartheid system, I have to admire the gutsiness of Bruzonsky in alerting us in regard to the support of an Israeli government whose treatment of its subject Palestinians is so strikingly akin to that which we rightly loathe in South Africa.
A few years ago I again visited the occupied West Bank and Israel. Unlike the usual Holy Land tours that take travelers to visit holy sites and listen to handpicked guides and government spokespersons, some of us visited with educators, mayors, union leaders, professional leaders, clergy, and common folk among the indigenous Palestinian Arab people.
What we saw and heard about the myriad of laws ranged especially against them affecting especially freedom of speech, of assembly, of the press (of planting a tree on one’s own property, for heaven’s sake!); of the deportations of the intelligentsia; of the incarceration of one-sixth of all Palestinians at one time or another; of collective-punishment bombings of homes by the military; of the ever-encroaching land expropriation and settlements of over 50% of Palestinian land; and of the subtle and not-so-subtle ways of forcing these native inhabitants off their homeland.
Well, we clearly felt that apartheid was alive and well in this place. It was especially, I well remember, after rationalizations given to us by a top Israeli government official that we went out from that briefing saying to one another, “We are seeing the South Africanization of Palestine.”
I believe Bruzonsky has issued a timely, courageous warning.