The backlash over US Secretary of State John Kerry’s use of the word “apartheid” to describe what would become of Israel if there is no “two-state solution” continues.Jeffrey Goldberg has acknowledged that he himself previously “used the word ‘apartheid’ not only to describe a possible terrible future for Israel, but also as a way of depicting some current and most unfortunate facts on the ground.”
Goldberg should know, since he is a former guard in an Israeli army prison camp for Palestinians.
Yet, Goldberg now claims it is inappropriate to use the word because “to describe the West Bank as an experiment in apartheid is insulting to the actual victims of South African apartheid, who lived under a uniquely baroque and grotesque set of race-based laws.”
Tutu and his daughter Reverend Mpho Tutu were on HuffPostLive yesterday to talk about their new book The Book of Forgiving.
Tutu was asked about Kerry’s comments. Although he was unaware of the controversy, he addressed the issue of using the word apartheid to describe Israel’s oppression of Palestinians (video above):
I’m glad people have come to have this disgust about apartheid and one wants to acknowledge just how much we were supported by the international community. But surely if I, having experienced apartheid go to another part of the world and see things that reflect almost uncannily the sort of things that happened to us – I mean you could be stopped as a black person by police at roadblocks and it didn’t matter. I was bishop of Johannesburg when police would stop our car and want to body-search my wife and children … and I go and I visit the Holy Land and I see things that are a mirror image of the sort of things I experienced under the apartheid. How can you stop me from the right to describe as I feel? You go anywhere in the world and if I see things that mirror the kind of experience that I know first hand I think it’s a cheek in a way for someone else to tell you ‘no you are wrong in feeling as you feel about what you have seen.’
I’ll take Tutu’s word over Goldberg’s any day.
You can also watch the full interview with Tutu and his daughter.