I went to the 1:45 A.M. lecture about West Bank settlements, given by Hagai El-Ad, executive director of B’Tselem (“In the image of”), a Jerusalem-based organization that monitors human rights violations. Because of the title — “Intractable Impermanence: 47 Years of ‘Temporary’ Occupation” — I worried that this session would also feel virulently political. Far from it. El-Ad gave a complex, undogmatic primer on the varying levels of Israeli control in the West Bank and the ramifications.
I asked him if he thought anti-settlement sentiment now translates to anti-Israel sentiment as a result of the charged political climate. “There are three separate issues: anti-Israel feeling, anti-Semitism and anti-occupation,” he answered. “They get lumped together, but they’re different. We at B’Tselem are anti-occupation.”