Here are my two cents' worth to add to this debate, based on some
knowledge of modern South African history, which causes me to disagree
with Pappe's use of that analogy. There was no major constituency in
America that had a stranglehold on U.S. policy toward that country that
was able to thoroughly dominate U.S. policy toward apartheid South
Africa (that is, to protect that regime). The opposite is true of
American policy toward Israel. Pappe seems to believe that
international public opinion can change the situation in
Israel-Palestine. He may have a point about Europe, but not about the
United States. There is no way there will ever be a boycott of Israel by
the U.S. government. There was a serious boycott of apartheid South
Africa and it eventually worked. And it included the United States.
Pappe, not Avnery, is the dreamer in this argument.
(I speak from some personal experience. In 1979-80 one of my main
jobs as a Deputy Assistant Secretary (a DAS) in the African Bureau of
the State Department was to make sure our Congress renewed the sanctions
against the Rhodesian apartheid regime of Ian Smith when Margaret
Thatcher was trying to lift them in Britain. We succeeded, and Lord
Carrington then rescued Thatcher from her folly by organizing and
orchestrating the transformation of Rhodesia into independent Zimbabwe.
This established the precedent for what then happened in South Africa.
The recent history of Zimbabwe 27 years later does not negate what was
accomplished in 1980. It is ludicrous to imagine that at some point a
DAS in State's Near East Bureau would have the job of working to get our
Congress to renew sanctions against Israel.)Robert V. Keeley
TO: Distinguished Recipients
FM: John Whitbeck
In the article transmitted below, one of the Israelis whom I most admire
(but have never met), Ilan Pappe, locks horns with another of the
Israelis whom I most admire (and consider a personal friend), Uri
Avnery, on the fundamental issue facing those who seek peace with some
measure of justice (or justice with some measure of peace) in
Israel/Palestine -- whether to continue trotting after the perpetually
retreating "political horizon" of a two-state solution or to refocus
hopes and efforts on the pursuit of a single democratic state in
Israel/Palestine with equal rights for all who live there.
I understand that Avnery and Pappe have scheduled a public debate on
this issue for May 8.( Collapse )