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Drawing Fire: Investigating the Accusations of Apartheid in Israel
2014-08-14

 Benjamin Pogrund
Photo: mg.co.za

Renowned journalist Benjamin Pogrund led a seminar on the current Israel/Palestine conflict in Gaza. The Department of Political Science hosted the event at the Bloemfontein Campus on 11 August 2014.

The discussion mainly centred around points Pogrund explores in his latest book, ‘Drawing Fire: Investigating the Accusations of Apartheid in Israel’.

Pogrund, who spent 26 years as a journalist in South Africa investigating apartheid, investigated the accusation that Israel is practicing apartheid and the motives of those who make it. His talk offered the audience a balanced view of Israel’s strengths and weaknesses and the problems facing the region. Pogrund drew a unique comparison between South Africa and Israel, explaining the complex political and social situations.

While researching and writing ‘Drawing Fire’, Pogrund experienced an intense emotional struggle. In the book, he explores the contradictions found in the region. It also deconstructs the criticisms against Israel as well as the boycott movement before arguing for two separate states – Israel and Palestine – as the only way forward for Jews and Arabs.

During the talk, Pogrund raised the question as to why the media coverage of Israel/Palestine conflict detracts so much attention away from the atrocities committed by ISIS currently terrorising the minority groups in Syria and Iraq.

Pogrund has been living in Israel for the past 15 years where he reports on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He was the deputy editor of the Rand Daily Mail – South Africa’s leading anti-apartheid newspaper during the 1980s. Among other publications, he has written for the Guardian (London), Haaretz (Tel Aviv) and Facta (Tokyo). In May 2013, he was awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Media Council in London, on behalf of the Next Century Foundation, for encouraging understanding of the Middle East and war-torn areas of the world.


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