May 17, 2008

Gordimer mentioned in another dispatch

This time it's in the Guardian. I'm not sure if this Cif piece by Ian Jack appeared in the print edition but I think it must have because it turns up on the list when you search for Israel on the Guardian website. When the piece is only on Cif it doesn't turn up on the search. Anyway, the piece is on his and Roddy Doyle's trip to the Palestine Festival of Literature.

Apparently Roddy Doyle and Ian Jack were asked if they thought it was wrong for Nadime Gordimer to appear at Israel's International Writers Festival in Jerusalem given her stance against apartheid in South Africa back in the day. Roddy Doyle responded that:
"We don't know what she will say. Let her come and let's hear what she says before we condemn her."
Then came Ian Jack's response which you could call cowardly but it was actually brave given his audience:
I suggested that to equate apartheid in South Africa with Israeli behaviour towards Palestinians in the occupied territories was still "a big step" for most people in Europe and North America. Really, I was talking of myself: it was a big step for me and one I was reluctant to take.
He then realises that the avoidance of the apartheid analogy was becoming increasingly untenable as he travelled around the West Bank.
checkpoints are the least of it. Throughout the West Bank, Israel is steadily, relentlessly and apparently unstoppably imposing what old South African regimes used to know as "separate development". Israeli and Palestinian cars have different number plates (yellow and green) [I thought the latter were blue] and travel on separate roads (the Israeli roads newer and straighter). Jewish settlements march east into Palestinian territory in acts of illegal conquest unknown even to Dr Verwoerd. And then there is The Wall, more properly known as the West Bank Barrier, which when complete will run eight metres high for 400 miles north to south, often looping forward impudently to take 10% of the West Bank's land
Now unlike the Alan Johnson article of two days ago, comments are still open on this one.

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