Benjamin Pogrund responds to readers who have had a lot to say about his column, Israel is not apartheid SA.
Some readers made such fatuous comments about my recent Mail & Guardian interview, ("Israel is not apartheid SA", August 23) that I would like to respond.
First, I was asked during the interview to give one "succinct answer" about the difference between Israel and apartheid South Africa. I chose a personal account of the cancer surgery I underwent in a Jerusalem hospital.
But some sneer at what one reader dismisses as "heart-warming". They are either too young to have lived under apartheid and don't know it at first hand, are too conveniently forgetful about what it was, or are so filled with malice towards Israel that they are unable to see any good.
Because, otherwise, they would understand that such caring and closeness and lack of barriers between Jewish and Arab patients, doctors and nurses in the intimate relationship of health is stunning testimony to the difference between Israel and apartheid South Africa. It's not only my experience; it's the norm in Israel.
Second, if I had been allowed hundreds more words – or, better, thousands – I could have expanded on the differences. For this, readers must await my book, Is Israel Apartheid?, due out early next year.
After reading it they will realise the silliness of their comments and will, I am sure, rush to apologise. – Benjamin Pogrund, Jerusalem