'Israel In a Weak Parallel with Apartheid'
Interview with Dennis Davis, High Court Judge in Cape Town
JERUSALEM, Jul 31 (IPS) - In Israel's control of Palestinian movement, Dennis Davis sees a "stark" parallel with the old, apartheid South Africa of which he was an outspoken critic. But Davis, a Justice of the High Court in Cape Town and a prominent member of the South African Jewish community, strongly rejects those who "run from that into an immediate conclusion" that Israel is an apartheid state.
Davis, who was also involved in drafting the constitution of post-apartheid South Africa, recently visited Israel and the Palestinian territories as part of a delegation of prominent South African civil rights activists. In its closing statement, the group said it had not come "to bring solutions, or to spend our time here debating solutions," but that it wanted "to learn, and to witness first-hand the suffering, pain, anger and human rights abuses."
The Israel-South Africa comparison is one that is increasingly used by Israel's critics and by those who question the very legitimacy of the Jewish state. It is a comparison that incenses Israelis and many Jews around the world. But it is also a comparison that some of Israel's leaders have invoked in an attempt to convince Israelis that ceding territory to the Palestinians is vital to the country's future survival.