147146GAZA IN CRISIS
campuses. Also, in the last few weeks, John Dugard, independent investigatoron the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the UN Human Rights Council said that“Palestinian terror is an ‘inevitable’ result of occupation,” the European par-liament adopted a resolution saying that the “policy of isolation of the GazaStrip has failed at both the political and humanitarian level” and the UN hascondemned Israel’s use of excessive and disproportionate force in the GazaStrip.
Could we interpret that as a general shift in attitude toward Israel?
The two examples indicate a signiﬁcant shift in public opin-ion and in the civil society. However, the problem remains what ithas been in the last sixty years: these impulses and energies are nottranslated, and are not likely to be translated in the near future, intoactual policies on the ground. And thus, the only way of enhancingthis transition from support from below to actual policies is by de-veloping the idea of sanctions and boycott. This can give a clear ori-entation and direction to the many individuals and NGOs thathave for years shown solidarity with the Palestine cause.
There has been a very clear shift in recent years—onU.S. campuses and with general audiences as well. It was not longago that police protection was a standard feature of talks at all crit-ical of Israeli policies—meetings were broken up, audiences very hostile and abusive. Now it is sharply different, with scattered ex-ceptions. Apologists for Israeli violence now tend often to be de-fensive and desperate, rather than arrogant and overbearing. Butthe critique of Israeli actions is thin, because the basic facts are sys-tematically suppressed. That is particularly true of the decisiveU.S. role in barring diplomatic options, undermining democracy,and supporting Israel’s systematic program of undermining thepossibility for an eventual political settlement. But portrayal of theUnited States as an “honest broker,” somehow unable to pursue itsbenign objectives, is characteristic, not only in this domain.
THE GHETTOIZATION OF PALESTINE
is more and more often used by NGOs to describe Israel’sactions toward the Palestinians (in Gaza, the occupied Palestinian territo-ries [OPT], and also in Israel itself). Is the situation in Palestine and Israelcomparable to apartheid South Africa?
There are similarities and dissimilarities. The colonialisthistory has many chapters in common and some of the features of the apartheid system can be found in the Israeli policies toward itsown Palestinian minority and toward those in the OPT. Some as-pects of the occupation, however, are worse than the apartheid re-ality of South Africa and some aspects in the lives of Palestiniancitizens in Israel are not as bad as they were in the heyday of apartheid. The main point of comparison to my mind is politicalinspiration. The anti-apartheid movement, the ANC, the solidar-ity networks developed throughout the years in the West, shouldinspire a more focused and effective pro-Palestinian campaign.This is why there is a need to learn the history of the struggleagainst apartheid, much more than dwell too long on comparingthe Zionist and apartheid systems. An additional point, which isboth historical and ideological, is the critical analysis of many of ustoday who realize change will not come from within Israel.
There can be no deﬁnite answer to such questions. Thereare similarities and differences. Within Israel itself, there is seriousdiscrimination, but it’s very far from South African apartheid.Within the occupied territories, it’s a different story. In 1997, I gavethe keynote address at Ben-Gurion University for a conference onthe anniversary of the 1967 war. I read a paragraph from a standardhistory of South Africa. No comment was necessary.Looking more closely, the situation in the OPT differs in many ways from apartheid. In some respects, South African apartheidwas more vicious than Israeli practices, and in some respects the