Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A tough scene in South Africa

Lital Shemesh,

Shemesh image from article
At the beginning of the week, I returned from an important mission to Cape Town, South Africa, to help the local Jewish community combat "Israel Apartheid Week," marked each year by anti-Israel and pro-boycott groups on college campuses.
For the last four years, I have been sent by the StandWithUs organization to fight this difficult struggle, and I have been met more than a few times with hostile crowds, protests and stubborn arguments -- but South Africa was the hardest by far. South Africa is where this campaign of comparing Israel to its own apartheid regime -- which was legally in effect until 1994 -- began. The comparison is outrageous and infuriating, but, like any ad campaign, if it is repeated enough in a clever way, it can be used to sell anything. ...
Having worked in Israeli public diplomacy for several years, I have learned that it is nearly impossible to argue with someone who believes that using terrorism against innocent civilians is legitimate. The activists on South African campuses are not prepared to even hear about a two-state solution; they want only a single state of Palestine. The Israeli delegation repeated messages of peace, coexistence and tolerance, but it's impossible to win in a place where the even the local government lends support to terrorism.

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