'Fear of being slandered as "anti-Semites" means we are abetting terrible deeds in the Middle East'
by Robert Fisk
What if we had supported the apartheid regime of South Africa against the majority black population? What if we had lauded the South African white leadership as "hard-line warriors" rather than racists? What if we had explained the shooting of 56 black protesters at Sharpeville as an understandable "security crackdown" by the South African police. And described black children shot by the police as an act of "child sacrifice" by their parents? What if we had called upon the "terrorist" ANC leadership to "control their own people".
Almost every day that is exactly the way we are playing the Israeli-Palestinian war. No matter how many youths are shot dead by the Israelis, no matter how many murders – by either side – and no matter how bloody the reputation of the Israeli Prime Minister, we are reporting this terrible conflict as if we supported the South African whites against the blacks. No, Israel is not South Africa (though it happily supported the apartheid regime) and no, the Palestinians are not the blacks of the shanty towns. But there's not much difference between Gaza and the black slums of Johannesburg; and there's not much difference between the tactics of the Israeli army in the occupied territories and that of the South African police. The apartheid regime had death squads, just as Israel has today. Yet even they did not use helicopter gunships and missiles.