APARTHEID; IN DEFENSE OF THE INDEFENSIBLE

Israel and its defenders go to great lengths to insist the “Jewish state” is not an apartheid one. Curious, then, that the only arguments they can muster in their favor are precisely those that were used to apologize for South Africa’s decades of indefensible discrimination and violence.

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Defending Apartheid: Then in South Africa, Now in Palestine

By Nima Shirazi FOR

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Just like another Israel,
by enemies surrounded, lost in the veld,but for another Canaan elected,
led forward by God’s plan.

- Reverend J.D. du Toit, Potgieter’s Trek (1909)

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This past May, in a relatively banal column touting the necessity of an impossible “two-state solution” in the context of what he deemed to be U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s “specious comparison” of a potential Israeli future to South African apartheid, formerHa’aretz editor-in-chief David Landau wrote:

This resort to apartheid infuriates the majority of Israelis and Israel-lovers, including those in the peace camp, and one can readily understand why. Apartheid was based on racism; Israeli Jews are not racist. They may occupy, persecute and discriminate Palestinians, but they act out of misguided patriotism and a hundred years of bloody conflict. Not out of racism.

It would be a gross understatement to say that Landau’s formulation was fundamentally flawed.

First and foremost, there is a vast amount of evidence proving that Jewish Israeli society – built wholly upon the 19th century premise (and promise) of ethnic and religious superiority, exclusivity, and privilege enforced through ethnic cleansing,forced expulsion, displacement and dispossession, segregation, colonization and occupation – is somehow becoming even more openly racist. Poll after poll revealsincreasingly bigoted trends.

The work of reporters like David Sheen and Max Blumenthal, for instance, routinely demonstrates a viciously militarized and unjust society masquerading as an embattled liberal democracy, acting with aggression and impunity. More recently, pogroms targetingmigrants and refugees from Africa, incitement against Palestinians inside Israel, andexplicit anti-miscegenation campaigns are becoming more frequent and more dangerous.

A country for “the white man”

In a mid-2012 interview, Israel’s Interior Minister Eli Yishai said that Africans, “along with the Palestinians, will bring a quick end to the Zionist dream,” since “[m]ost of those people arriving here are Muslims who think the country doesn’t belong to us, the white man.” Referring to refugees from Sudan and Eritrea as an “infiltrator threat,” he told the press he was eager to deport all African immigrants for, in his words, “the benefit of the Zionist dream.”

A chapter in a forthcoming book, detailing a three-year, anthropological study of the attitudes of typical, secular Israeli high school students conducted by Dr. Idan Yaron, isstark in its assessment of the cultural racism and hatred present in Israeli society. Reporter Ori Kashti notes that, based upon Yaron’s observations, “such hatred is a basic everyday element among youth, and a key component of their identity. Yaron portrays the hatred without rose-colored glasses or any attempt to present it as a sign of social ‘unity.’ What he observed is unfiltered hatred.”

Landau’s desperate defense against the apartheid label perfectly demonstrates theLiberal Zionist need to insist that Israel and its founding ideology are not inherently racist, a position less and less palatable to people who are actually paying attention.

His claim that because “Israeli Jews are not racist,” and therefore Israel can’t possibly be deemed a “apartheid” state, not only misunderstands the actual definition of apartheid, which isn’t merely race-based discrimination and oppression. It also mirrors precisely the arguments made by defenders of South African apartheid in opposition to calls for equal human and civil rights.

Zionism’s defenders mirror apartheid’s apologists

Beyond the shared “promised land” and “chosen people” rhetoric that has inspired boththe Afrikaner and Zionist ideologies of racial, religious, and ethnic supremacy, so has that of land redemption through settler-colonialism and transplanting indigenous populations. The connective tissue between apartheid and Zionism is thick, and not only in that both European colonial ideologies were officially institutionalized and implemented against native peoples as government policy in 1948.

Historian Donald Akenson has written, “The very spine of Afrikaner history (no less than the historical sense of the Hebrew scriptures upon which it is based) involves the winning of ‘the Land’ from alien, and indeed, evil forces.”

One can easily see a corollary in the words of David Ben-Gurion, written in a 1937 letter to his son, Amos. Palestine, he wrote, “contains vast colonization potential” for Jewish settlement to exploit. Moreover, he declared, “What we really want is not that the land remain whole and unified. What we want is that the whole and unified land be Jewish. A unified Eretz Israel would be no source of satisfaction for me – if it were Arab.” (emphasis in original)

This past June, settler leader Dani Dayan argued in the New York Times that, assummarized by David Samel, “Israel retain control of ‘Judea and Samaria,’ that it continue to exercise military rule over millions of stateless Palestinians, but that it loosen its stranglehold by making concerted efforts to make Palestinians happier despite the permanent loss of freedom, equality in the land of their birth, and justice under international law.”

Dayan’s essay calls for what is essentially, in Samel’s words, “window dressing of reduced restrictions on Palestinians” in order to “keep the natives happy.” Just like his more “liberal” counterparts like David Landau on the west side of the Green Line, Dayaninsists, “we settlers were never driven — except for fringe elements — by bigotry, hate or racism.”

This argument effectively relies on the disingenuous presumption that the actual victims of an exclusivist, 19th century European ideology – the colonized indigenous population – are merely incidental to the ideology itself. That is, as Landau wrote, “misguided patriotism and a hundred years of bloody conflict” are really to blame for the oppression, discrimination and violence against Palestinians, not the racist obligations of Zionism.

In October 1964, Foreign Affairs published the lengthy essay, “In Defense of Apartheid,” by Charles A. W. Manning. Not only did Manning accuse outside meddlers and finger-waggers of refusing to acknowledge South Africa’s right to exist as an apartheid state, he also justified its racist policies as “a heritage from a complicated past.”

Quoting approvingly from the 1954 Tomlinson Commission, Manning wrote that while “a continuation of the policy of integration would intensify racial friction and animosity… the only alternative is to promote the establishment of separate communities in their own separate territories where each will have the fullest opportunity for self-expression and development.”

Two states for two peoples, indeed.

In the face of international opprobrium, apartheid is “the philosophy of patriots,” Manning explained, “a remedial treatment for a state of things deriving from the past.” He added that apartheid is a matter of “nationalism, rather than racialism.”

It is easy for the foreigner to deride a nationalism which he does not share; but nowhere in human history has nationalism ever been destroyed by foreign scorn. Admittedly, Afrikaner nationalism is a form of collective selfishness; but to say this is simply to say that it is an authentic case of nationalism. For what is nationalism anywhere if not collective self-love? What underlies apartheid is at bottom an attitude not toward the black man, but toward the forefathers-and the future-of the Afrikaner people.

Manning continued:

Deplore the white man’s collective self-concern, and you may equally well damn every other example of nationalism, white or black. It is absurd to assume that nationalism is nice, or nasty, according to its color.

Manning bemoaned that, as a result of misunderstanding the necessity and, yes, benevolence of apartheid, even South Africa’s best friends were beginning to abandon it. “Israel finds it necessary to ignore the analogy between South Africa’s predicament and her own,” he lamented.

Still, Israel maintained diplomatic relations with South Africa into 1987 and was one of the last countries to join the international boycott campaign.

‘National suicide’

In 2012, Israel’s High Court upheld the state’s explicitly discriminatory “Citizenship and Entry” law, which, as Ben White has explained, “places severe restrictions on the ability of Palestinian citizens of Israel to live with spouses from the Occupied Palestinian Territories, as well as from so-called ‘enemy states’ (defined as Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Iraq).” The ruling stated that “Palestinians who gain Israeli citizenship through marriage pose a security threat.”

Writing in Al Jazeera, following the decision, White elaborated:

In the majority opinion, Justice Asher Grunis wrote that “human rights are not a prescription for national suicide”, a term often invoked by those worrying about what realising Palestinian rights would mean for Israel’s Jewish majority. This same phrase was invoked by the Interior Minister Eli Yishai, while coalition chair and Likud MK Ze’ev Elkin applauded the High Court judges for understanding, as he put it, that “human rights cannot jeopardize the State”.

A particularly instructive reaction came from Kadima MK Otniel Schneller, who said that the decision “articulates the rationale of separation between the (two) peoples and the need to maintain a Jewish majority and the (Jewish) character of the state”.

The notion that advocating and legislating in favor of “human rights” and equality would be the death knell of the Israeli state – “national suicide” – perfectly articulates that inherent injustice of Zionism; indeed, it is a self-indicting statement.

And, as has already been noted here and elsewhere, is yet one more example of how Israel’s apologists employ precisely the same logic, arguments and excuses – often literally the same words, verbatim – as the staunch defenders of the apartheid system in South Africa.

In April 1953, on the eve of assembly elections in South Africa, Prime Minister D.F. Malanwarned that outside forces – including “the United Nations, Communist Russia… as well as a hostile press” – were “trying to force upon us equality, which must inevitably mean to white South Africa nothing less than national suicide.”

Malan added, “I consider the approaching election South Africa’s last chance to remain a white man’s country.”

Just months after Malan and his National Party won the election and consolidated power, South Africa’s London-based High Commissioner A.L. Geyer delivered a speech on August 19, 1953 entitled, “The Case for Apartheid,” before the city’s Rotary Club. He argued against the indigenous claims of the native black population (“South Africa is no more the original home of its black Africans, the Bantu, than it is of its white Africans”); that the apartheid state is the only “homeland” known to white South Africans (“the only independent white nation in all Africa… a nation which has created a highly developed modern state”); and that “South Africa is the only independent country in the world in which white people are outnumbered by black people.”

These claims echo common hasbara tropes: that Palestinians are an “invented people” and that the Arab majority in Palestine was due to immigration into Palestine rather than an ancient indigenous population with roots in that land for centuries, if not millennia; that Israel is the “only democracy in the Middle East,” a bright bastion of technology and Western modernism amidst a sea of darker-skinned barbarians.

In his speech, Geyer – who was national chairman of the South African Bureau of Racial Affairs, known, ironically, by the acronym “SABRA” – turns to the question of what the future South Africa will look like and sees “two possible lines of development: Apartheidor Partnership.” He explains:

Partnership means Cooperation of the individual citizens within a single community, irrespective of race… [It] demands that there shall be no discrimination whatsoever in trade and industry, in the professions and the Public Service. Therefore, whether a man is black or a white African, must according to this policy be as irrelevant as whether in London a man is a Scotsman or an Englishman. I take it: that Partnership must also aim at the eventual disappearance of all social segregation based on race.

Geyer, speaking on behalf of those intent on maintaining a stratified and discriminatory society, was obviously not a fan of this prospective outcome. Just as those who still push for an illusorytwo-state solution” insist that a Jewish majority must be artificially engineered to exclude as many non-Jews as possible within the area controlled by Israel for a “Jewish and democratic” state to continue existing, Geyer too bristled at the idea of true self-determination wherein the result wasn’t already predetermined through gerrymandered demographics.

If the black population were to be given full voting rights, for instance, whites would no longer hold a monopoly on political power in the country. The inevitable result, Geyer warned, would be “black domination, in the sense that power must pass to the immense African majority.”

This sentiment was similarly articulated by Ehud Olmert, then the Israeli Prime Minister, in a 2007 interview with Ha’aretz. “If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights (also for the Palestinians in the territories),” he said “then, as soon as that happens, the State of Israel is finished.”

Here’s how Geyer, in 1953, articulated his argument against such a horrifying future of democracy, equality, and justice:

Need I say more to show that this policy of Partnership could, in South Africa, only mean the eventual disappearance of the white South African nation? And will you be greatly surprised if I tell you that this white nation is not prepared to commit national suicide, not even by slow poisoning? The only alternative is a policy ofapartheid, the policy of separate development.

Indeed, as Israeli Justice Grunis reminded us, “human rights are not a prescription for national suicide.” Geyer couldn’t have agreed more. Denying basic and fundamental rights, while promoting and implementing a policy of demographic segregation and geographic separation, was a matter of survival, Geyer argued – just like his Zionist successors do now.

“Apartheid is a policy of self-preservation,” Geyer said. “We make no apology for possessing that very natural urge. But it is more than that. It is an attempt at self­-preservation in a manner that will enable the Bantu to develop fully as a separate people.” As the native black Africa population in South Africa was, Geyer noted, “still very immature,” efforts must be made “to develop the Bantu areas both agriculturally and industrially, with the object of making these areas in every sense the national home of the Bantu.”

Thirty years later, very little had actually changed.

In his infamous “Rubicon” speech, delivered in Durban on August 15, 1985, South African president P.W. Botha declared that “most leaders in their own right in South Africa and reasonable South Africans will not accept the principle of one-man-one-vote in a unitary system. That would lead to domination of one over the other and it would lead to chaos. Consequently, I reject it as a solution.”

Botha added, “I am not prepared to lead White South Africans and other minority groups on a road to abdication and suicide. Destroy White South Africa and our influence, and this country will drift into faction strife, chaos and poverty.”

In response, ANC president Oliver Tambo condemned Botha’s disingenuous statements about his apartheid regime’s commitment to “the protection of minorities” and “the just and equal treatment of all parts of South Africa.” Botha, he said, had instead committed to the continued “oppression of the overwhelming majority of our people” and “promised our people more brutal repression.”

Calling for increased resistance, through both armed struggle and the imposition of international sanctions, Tambo declared that all victims of apartheid were “ready to make any and all sacrifices to achieve justice and democracy based on the principle of one man, one vote in a unitary South Africa.”

That very same year, Raphael Israeli, a professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem andfuture client of the neoconservative PR firm Benador Associates, published an essay promoting increased Zionist colonization of the West Bank and Gaza and then subsequent partition of what he called “Greater Palestine” (which includes Jordan) as part of a potential solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israeli argued that “the seemingly reasonable claim that the ‘state belongs to all its inhabitants'” anticipates the “nightmare of a bi-national state” in which “Israel is no longer a state of the Jews or a Jewish state.”

The essay, entitled “One Palestinian People and One Palestine,” was eventually included in a collection edited by Israeli himself entitled, “Dangers of a Palestinian State.”

In laying out his vision for a bizarre tripartite entity within “Greater Palestine,” with redefined parameters of sovereignty and self-determination in which a “Palestinian government” is established in Amman, Jordan, alongside the Hashemite monarchy, and Israeli military control over the West Bank continues until a final settlement on borders is agreed upon.

Israeli stresses that Jewish citizens of the Zionist state reject the implementation of a “one person, one vote” system throughout Israel and the territories it occupies because they would be “faced with an intractable dilemma: either a democratic and egalitarian Israel with rights for all, with the corollaries of a bi-national state immediately and an Arab-majority state in the future; or Jewish Israel where the Jews would maintain rights and rule and the Arabs would be devoid of both.”

“No Israeli government,” the renowned academic wrote, “could face that dilemma and resolve it in any acceptable way.”

For Zionism, as it was for apartheid, equality and human rights are non-starters. The fear that a “one person, one vote” system and of a “state for all its citizens” instills in Zionists is no different from that expressed by defenders of South African apartheid.

Defended by de Klerk

Following John Kerry’s “apartheid” comment earlier this year, F.W. de Klerk, the former South Africa prime minister who presided over the dismantling of the apartheid regime, came to Israel’s defense. “I think it’s unfair to call Israel an apartheid state,” he said.

This is the same de Klerk, however, who two years earlier reflected that, while “[i]n as much as it trampled human rights, [apartheid] was and remains morally indefensible,” he still defended what he said was the system’s “original concept of seeking to bring justice to all South Africans through the concept of nation states.”

De Klerk explained that the Bantustanization of South Africa was conceived as a way to “bring justice for black South Africans in a way which would not – that’s what I believed then – destroy the justice to which my people were entitled.”  He added that it was “not repugnant” to believe that “ethnic entities with one culture, with one language, can be happy and can fulfill their democratic aspirations in [their] own state,” separate from one another.
After his comments sparked negative reactions, de Klerk’s spokesman walked back his comments. When “an artificial creation” like apartheid fell, the spokesman said, “you can go two ways – either by going your separate ways like in the Soviet Union or in what is being suggested for Israel and Palestine, or by trying to build a multicultural society.”When “the first option” failed in South Africa, apartheid leaders “changed course,” he said, continuing, “It is not immoral for the Afrikaners to want to rule themselves any more than it is for the Israelis or the Scots to wish for the same things.”

Israel and its defenders go to great lengths to insist the “Jewish state” is not an apartheid one. Curious, then, that the only arguments they can muster in their favor are precisely those that were used to apologize for South Africa’s decades of indefensible discrimination and violence.

A SHORT OPEN LETTER TO JOHN KERRY IN PHOTOS AND QUOTES

You obviously have a problem with reading, so these might be of help to you  in standing by the original words you muttered … Can you not see the similarities in the images below?

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And some attitudes and policies … Prepared by Michael Rivero

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1. “There is a huge gap between us (Jews) and our enemies, not just in ability but in morality, culture, sanctity of life, and conscience. They are our neighbors here, but it seems as if at a distance of a few hundred meters away, there are people who do not belong to our continent, to our world, but actually belong to a different galaxy.” Israeli president Moshe Katsav. The Jerusalem Post, May 10, 2001

2. “The Palestinians are like crocodiles, the more you give them meat, they want more”…. Ehud Barak, Prime Minister of Israel at the time – August 28, 2000. Reported in the Jerusalem Post August 30, 2000

3. ” [The Palestinians are] beasts walking on two legs.” Menahim Begin, speech to the Knesset, quoted in Amnon Kapeliouk, “Begin and the Beasts”. New Statesman, 25 June 1982.

4. “The Palestinians” would be crushed like grasshoppers … heads smashed against the boulders and walls.” ” Isreali Prime Minister (at the time) in a speech to Jewish settlers New York Times April 1, 1988

5. “When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle.” Raphael Eitan, Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defence Forces, New York Times, 14 April 1983.

6. “How can we return the occupied territories? There is nobody to return them to.” Golda Maier, March 8, 1969.

7. “There was no such thing as Palestinians, they never existed.” Golda Maier Israeli Prime Minister June 15, 1969

‘LIBERAL’ ZIONISM ECHOS DEFENSE OF SOUTH AFRICAN APARTHEID

How today’s liberal Zionists echo apartheid South Africa’s defenders

Rania Khalek*

Liberal Zionists have adopted the same arguments in defense of Israeli occupation that conservative opponents of sanctions on South Africa’s apartheid regime used in the 1980s. (Najeh Hashlamoun / APA images)

“While the majority of black South African leaders are against disinvestment and boycotts, there are tiny factions that support disinvestment — namely terrorist groups such as the African National Congress,” libertarian economics professor Walter Williams wrote in a 1983 New York Times op-ed.

Williams’ claim was as absurd then as it appears in hindsight, but his sentiment was far from rare on the American and British right in the 1980s.

Yet today’s so-called progressive and liberal Zionists employ precisely the same kinds of claims to counter the growing movement, initiated by Palestinians themselves, for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) on Israel.

Indeed, looking back, it is clear that Israel’s liberal apologists are recycling nearly every argument once used by conservatives against the BDS movement that helped dismantle South Africa’s apartheid regime.

“Singling out”

In a 1989 op-ed for the Christian Science Monitor, University of South Africa lecturer Anne-Marie Kriek scolded the divestment movement for singling out her country’s racist government because, she wrote, “the violation of human rights is the norm rather than the exception in most of Africa’s 42 black-ruled states” (“South Africa Shouldn’t be Singled Out,” 12 October 1989).

Kriek continued, “South Africa is the only country in Sub-Saharan Africa that can feed itself. Blacks possess one of the highest living standards in all of Africa,” adding that nowhere on the continent did black Africans have it so good. So, “Why is South Africa so harshly condemned while completely different standards apply to black Africa?” she asked.

Divestment opponents in the US provided similar justifications. In 1986, for instance, Gregory Dohi, the former editor-in-chief of the Salient, Harvard University’s conservative campus publication, protested that those calling for the university to divest from companies doing business in South Africa were “selective in their morality” (“I am full of joy to realize that I never had anything to do with any divestment campaign …,” Harvard Crimson, 4 April 1986).

Divestment was wrong not only because it would “harm” black workers, Dohi claimed, but because it singled out South Africa.

Déjà vu

Where have we heard these kinds of arguments before?

Arguing against BDS, The Nation’s Eric Alterman writes, “The near-complete lack of democratic practices within Israel’s neighbors in the Arab and Islamic world, coupled with their lack of respect for the rights of women, of gays, indeed, of dissidents of any kind — make their protestations of Israel’s own democratic shortcomings difficult to credit” (“A Forum on Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS),” 3 May 2012).

Alterman’s only update to Kriek’s logic is his mention of women’s and gay rights, a nod toThe Nation readers’ liberal sensitivities.

Alterman’s sometime Nation colleague, reporter Ben Adler, has also reprised Kriek’s and Dohi’s 1980s-style arguments: “If you want to boycott Israel itself then you need to explain why you’re not calling for a boycott of other countries in the Middle East that oppress their own citizens worse than Israel does anyone living within the Green Line” (“The Problems With BDS,” 31 March 2012).

A scary brown majority

The late neoconservative war hawk, and long-time New York Times columnist William Safire — who in 2002 insisted, “Iraqis, cheering their liberators, will lead the Arab worldtoward democracy” — also sympathized with white supremacist anxieties about the implications of a single democratic South Africa.

One person, one vote “means majority rule, and nonwhites are the overwhelming majority in South Africa,” Safire wrote in a 1986 column. “That means an end to white government as the Afrikaners have known it for three centuries; that means the same kind of black rule that exists elsewhere in Africa, and most white South Africans would rather remain the oppressors than become the oppressed” (“The Suzman Plan,” 7 August 1986).

Almost thirty years later, liberal Zionists exhibit the same empathy with racists in their own hostility toward the Palestinian right of return, which BDS unapologetically champions.

Such a scenario would spell the end of Israel’s Jewish majority, a horrifying prospect for ethno-religious supremacists who, like whites in South Africa did, fear the native population they rule.

Cary Nelson, a professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, well-known in academic circles for his left-liberal activism, conveyed the same fears in a recent anti-BDS tirade. He argued that “nothing in decades of Middle East history suggests Jews would be equal citizens in a state dominated by Arabs or Palestinians” (“Why the ASA boycott is both disingenuous and futile,” Al Jazeera America, 23 December 2013).

Nelson’s racism-induced panic is further distilled in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, where he argues that the BDS movement seeks “the elimination of Israel,” after which, “those Jews not exiled or killed in the transition to an Arab-dominated nation would live as second-class citizens without fundamental rights” (“Another Anti-Israel Vote Comes to Academia,” 8 January 2014).

Of course he wouldn’t put it this way, but Nelson fears, in effect, that Palestinians might do to Jews what the Israeli settler-colonial regime has done to Palestinians since its inception.

Relying on puppets

Last December, Mahmoud Abbas, the autocratic puppet leader of the Palestinian Authority, and chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), declared his opposition to BDS, leaving Israel and its apologists predictably overjoyed.

In The New Republic, Leon Wieseltier chides pro-BDS academics for speaking on behalf of Palestinians. “Who is Abu Mazen [Abbas] to speak for the Palestinians, compared with an associate professor of ethnic studies at the University of California, San Diego?” he quipped (“The Academic Boycott of Israel Is a Travesty,” 17 December 2013).

Jeffrey Goldberg is just as derisive, writing in his Bloomberg column that the American Studies Association — which voted to boycott Israeli institutions — “is more Palestinian … than the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization” (“Some Lessons in Effective Scapegoating,” 16 December 2013).

These and other liberal Zionists insist that the Israeli- and US-approved Abbas is the only authentic representative of Palestinian sentiment. They ignore the overwhelming support for boycotting Israel among the Palestinian people.

But for many Palestinians, an apt comparison for Abbas is with Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the black leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party.

Buthelezi was often denounced by black South Africans as a collaborator with the white apartheid regime and lauded by British and American conservative opponents of sanctions as the true voice of black South Africa.

In a 1985 address to representatives from US companies operating in South Africa,Buthelezi insisted that the majority of South African blacks firmly opposed sanctions because they would “condemn a great many millions and a whole new generation to continue living in appalling slum conditions.”

In 1990, Buthelezi came out against an ANC-led campaign of mass civil disobedience — marches, boycotts and strikes — throwing his weight instead behind “cooperation” and “negotiation” with the white regime.

This offers a striking parallel to the present-day Palestinian Authority which continues to give legitimacy to the endless “peace process” while suppressing direct action against the occupation.

Buthelezi was only the most prominent of a handful of black apologists and collaborators with the apartheid regime. Others included Lucas Mangope, puppet leader of the Bophuthatswana bantustan who also fiercely opposed sanctions that would isolate his white supremacist paymasters.

Mangope cringed at the idea of a one-person, one-vote system in South Africa and spent the last days of apartheid desperately clinging to power over his “independent” island of repression.

Yet it wasn’t uncommon for US media outlets — including The New York Times — to label Mangope, and others like him, “moderate” black leaders.

Israel, it seems, has taken its cues directly from the apartheid playbook, cultivating a small circle of Palestinian elites willing to maintain the occupation in exchange for power and comfort.

And liberal Zionists are more than happy to bolster the ruse by using these comprised figures’ words against Palestinians who still insist on their rights.

Think of the workers

When Mobil Corporation was forced to shut down its operations in South Africa in 1989 due to what it called “very foolish” US sanctions laws, its chief executive, Allen Murray, feigned concern for the impact on black workers.

“We continue to believe that our presence and our actions have contributed greatly to economic and social progress for nonwhites in South Africa,” the oil executive declared (“Mobil Is Quitting South Africa, Blaming ‘Foolish’ Laws in US,” The New York Times, 29 April 1989).

Before finally giving in to boycott pressures, Citibank also justified its refusal to divest by citing its obligation to the South Africans it employed.

Last month, SodaStream chief executive Daniel Birnbaum echoed this transparent posturing when he defended the location of his company’s main production facility in the illegal Israeli settlement of Maaleh Adumim.

The only thing keeping him from moving the factory, Birnbaum claims, is his loyalty to some 500 Palestinian SodaStream employees. “We will not throw our employees under the bus to promote anyone’s political agenda,” he told The Jewish Daily Forward (“SodaStream Boss Admits West Bank Plant Is ‘a Pain’ — Praises Scarlett Johansson,” 28 January 2014).

“Constructive engagement” again?

Scarlett Johansson, the Hollywood actress who resigned from her humanitarian ambassador role with the anti-poverty organization Oxfam in order to pursue her role as global brand ambassador for SodaStream, applauded the company for “supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights.”

Such appeals for cooperation with an oppressive status quo in the face of growing support for BDS mirror President Ronald Reagan’s insistence on “constructive engagement” with apartheid South Africa.

While asserting in 1986 that “time is running out for the moderates of all races in South Africa,” Reagan opposed sanctions that could foster change. Today, supporters of the endless Israeli-Palestinian “peace process” also regularly insist that “time is running out,” while fiercely opposing BDS.

Reagan praised his British counterpart Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for having “denounced punitive sanctions as immoral and utterly repugnant.” Why? Because “the primary victims of an economic boycott of South Africa would be the very people we seek to help,” the president argued (“Transcript of Talk by Reagan on South Africa and Apartheid,” The New York Times, 23 July 1986).

The Reagan administration even funded a survey of black South African workers to prove they loved working for benevolent American corporations and adamantly opposed divestment, never mind the fact that advocating for sanctions under apartheid was aseverely punishable offense.

Fast forward to 2014 and Jane Eisner, editor of the liberal Jewish Daily Forward publicly hails SodaStream as the solution to the conflict, using her newspaper to portray Palestinian workers as grateful to be employed by the settlement profiteer, sentiments they expressed while being interviewed under the watchful eyes of their supervisors.

Taking racism a step further

Today, twenty-first century liberals and progressives who are ideologically invested in Zionism have embraced the rationales of racist right-wingers from a bygone era.

What’s more, liberal Zionists have taken the racism a step further than Reagan and Thatcher ever dared to go with South Africa.

Although they opposed sanctions, Reagan and Thatcher regularly denounced apartheid as an unjust system that needed to be dismantled.

Israel’s apologists, by contrast, firmly support the maintenance of Israel’s discrimination against Palestinians with their insistence that the country remain a “Jewish state” and their continued denial of the Palestinian right of return.

*Rania Khalek is an independent journalist reporting on the underclass and marginalized.

THE MOSSAD TRAINED MANDELA ????

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Now that he’s gone the rumours fly …. BUT …. if you read the second report below you will see that’s all they are …. RUMOURS!
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Nelson Mandela apparently underwent weapons training by Mossad agents in Ethiopia in 1962 without the Israeli secret service knowing his true identity, according to an intriguing secret letter lodged in the Israeli state archives.
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Nelson Mandela ‘received weapons training from Mossad agents in 1962′

Secret letter lodged in Israeli state archives reveals South African icon underwent training under an assumed identity
By Harriet Sherwood in The Guardian
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Nelson Mandela, photographed in the early 1960s
Nelson Mandela, photographed in the early 1960s. The letter said Mandela was trained to use weapons and sabotage techniques, and ‘the staff tried to make him into a Zionist’. Photograph: Staff photographer/Reuters/Corbis
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Nelson Mandela apparently underwent weapons training by Mossad agents in Ethiopia in 1962 without the Israeli secret service knowing his true identity, according to an intriguing secret letter lodged in the Israeli state archives.

The missive, revealed by the Israeli paper Haaretz two weeks after the death of the iconic South African leader, said Mandela was instructed in the use of weapons and sabotage techniques, and was encouraged to develop Zionist sympathies.

Mandela visited other African countries in 1962 in order to drum up support for the African National Congress’s fight against the apartheid regime in South Africa. While in Ethiopia, he sought help from the Israeli embassy, using a pseudonym, according to the letter – classified top secret – which was sent to officials in Israel in October 1962. Its subject line was the “Black Pimpernel”, a term used by the South African press to refer to Mandela.

Haaretz quoted the letter as saying: “As you may recall, three months ago we discussed the case of a trainee who arrived at the [Israeli] embassy in Ethiopia by the name of David Mobsari who came from Rhodesia. The aforementioned received training from the Ethiopians [a codename for Mossad agents, according to Haaretz] in judo, sabotage and weaponry.”

It added that the man had shown interest in the methods of the Haganah, a Jewish paramilitary organisation that fought against the British rulers and the Arab population of Palestine in the 1930s and 40s, and other Israeli underground movements.

It went on: “He greeted our men with ‘Shalom’, was familiar with the problems of Jewry and of Israel, and gave the impression of being an intellectual. The staff tried to make him into a Zionist. In conversations with him, he expressed socialist world views and at times created the impression that he leaned toward communism.

“It now emerges from photographs that have been published in the press about the arrest in South Africa of the ‘Black Pimpernel’ that the trainee from Rhodesia used an alias, and the two men are one and the same.”

According to Haaretz, a later handwritten annotation to the letter confirmed the Black Pimpernel was Mandela. The newspaper said the letter was kept in the state archives, and was discovered a few years ago by a student researching a thesis on relations between Israel and South Africa.

The Israel foreign ministry website refers to a document which confirms a meeting between Mandela and an Israeli official in Ethiopia in 1962, but makes no explicit reference to the Mossad, or any kind of training.

An entry dated 9 December 2013 says: “The Israel State Archives holds a document (not released for publication) showing that Mandela (under an assumed identity) met with an unofficial Israel representative in Ethiopia as early as 1962 … The Israeli representative was not aware of Mandela’s true identity. Instead the two discussed Israel’s problems in the Middle East, with Mandela displaying wide-ranging interest in the subject. Only after his arrest in 1962, on his return to South Africa, did Israel learn the truth.”

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And the response from The Forward

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The Nelson Mandela Foundation has denied an explosive report that the South African freedom icon received training from Israeli agents in the early 1960s.

“(The foundation) has not located any evidence in Nelson Mandela’s private archive…that he interacted with an Israeli operative during his tour of African countries in that year,” the group said in a statement to the South African Press Association.

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Nelson Mandela Foundation Denies Israel Training Claim

Insists No Evidence Freedom Icon Interacted With Mossad

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getty images
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The Nelson Mandela Foundation has denied an explosive report that the South African freedom icon received training from Israeli agents in the early 1960s.

“(The foundation) has not located any evidence in Nelson Mandela’s private archive…that he interacted with an Israeli operative during his tour of African countries in that year,” the group said in a statement to the South African Press Association.

Haaretz first reported last week that top secret Israeli files suggest that Mandela was trained by Mossad agents during a stop in Ethiopia in 1962, as he began efforts to launch the armed struggle against the white-led apartheid regime in South Africa.

It said Mandela, who died on Dec. 5, apparently underwent weapons training by Mossad agents in Ethiopia in 1962 without the Israeli secret service knowing his true identity. They attributed their report to “an intriguing secret letter lodged in the Israeli state archives”.

The letter supposedly said Mandela was instructed in the use of weapons and sabotage techniques and was encouraged to develop Zionist sympathies.

Any contact between Mandela and Israeli agents would have been controversial in South Africa, where Mandela’s African National Congress forged a close alliance with the Palestinians and regularly slammed Israel for propping up the white government.

The foundation emphatically denies any such contact between Mandela and Israeli agents occured.

“In 1962 Mandela received military training from Algerian freedom fighters in Morocco and from the Ethiopian Riot Battalion at Kolfe outside Addis Ababa, before returning to South Africa in July 1962.

“In 2009 the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s senior researcher travelled to Ethiopia and interviewed the surviving men who assisted in Mandela’s training and no evidence emerged of an Israeli connection,” read the statement.

 

12 QUOTES BY MANDELA THAT YOU WON’T SEE IN THE CORPORATE MEDIA OBITS

 These quotes will help you to really know the man ….
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12 Mandela Quotes That Won’t Be In the Corporate Media Obituaries

On “sanitizing” the legacy of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela

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Nelson Mandela, who died yesterday at age 95, was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary who served as President of South Africa from 1994-1999.

During the 1950’s, while working as an anti-apartheid lawyer, Mandela was repeatedly arrested for ‘seditious activities’ and ‘treason.’ In 1963 he was convicted of sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the government, and sentenced to life imprisonment. Mandela served 27 years in prison before an international lobbying campaign finally won his release in 1990.

In 1994, Mandela was elected President and formed a Government of National Unity in an attempt to defuse ethnic tensions. As President, he established a new constitution and initiated the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate past human rights abuses and to uncover the truth about crimes of the South African government, using amnesty as a mechanism.

Nelson Mandela was a powerful and inspirational leader who eloquently and forcefully spoke truth to power. As tributes are published over the coming days, the corporate media will paint a sanitized portrait of Mandela that leaves out much of who he was. We expect to see ‘safe’ Mandela quotes such as “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” or “after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”

We wanted to share some Nelson Mandela quotes which we don’t expect to read in the corporate media’s obituaries:

  1. “A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy. The press must be free from state interference. It must have the economic strength to stand up to the blandishments of government officials. It must have sufficient independence from vested interests to be bold and inquiring without fear or favor. It must enjoy the protection of the constitution, so that it can protect our rights as citizens.”
  2. “If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don’t care for human beings.”
  3. “The current world financial crisis also starkly reminds us that many of the concepts that guided our sense of how the world and its affairs are best ordered, have suddenly been shown to be wanting.”
  4. “Gandhi rejects the Adam Smith notion of human nature as motivated by self-interest and brute needs and returns us to our spiritual dimension with its impulses for nonviolence, justice and equality. He exposes the fallacy of the claim that everyone can be rich and successful provided they work hard. He points to the millions who work themselves to the bone and still remain hungry.”
  5. “There is no doubt that the United States now feels that they are the only superpower in the world and they can do what they like.”
  6. “It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”
  7. “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”
  8. “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”
  9. “No single person can liberate a country. You can only liberate a country if you act as a collective.”
  10. “If the United States of America or Britain is having elections, they don’t ask for observers from Africa or from Asia. But when we have elections, they want observers.”
  11. “When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.”
  12. On Gandhi: “From his understanding of wealth and poverty came his understanding of labor and capital, which led him to the solution of trusteeship based on the belief that there is no private ownership of capital; it is given in trust for redistribution and equalization. Similarly, while recognizing differential aptitudes and talents, he holds that these are gifts from God to be used for the collective good.”

Source: en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Nelson_Mandela

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Source

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Related

Nelson Mandela, 1918 – 2013

         Nima Shirazi          

 

 mandela-2

 

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As countless obituaries, eulogies, elegiespanegyrics, and encomia pour in following the death of Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday December 5, 2013 at the age of 95, the sanitization and mythologizing of his principles and legacy is already in full swing across the political spectrum.

We will hear little of the fact that in his courageous and unfaltering stand for freedom and justice, he routinely refused to rhetorically renounce armed resistance to vicious, racist and violent oppression.  We will read even less about his outspoken condemnation of the “injustice and gross human rights violations…being perpetrated in Palestine” and how he declared that, even with the fall of Apartheid in South Africa, “we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

Endless comparisons between Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr. will be made in the mainstream; yet few will note that both men were tireless critics and opponents of American aggression and imperialism and reviled by many in the U.S. establishment as threats to the existing power structure. Both consistently linked their own struggles for freedom and equality with global movements for social change, for human rights, for universal dignity. King was relentlessly spied on by the FBI.  Mandela languished on the U.S. State Department’s terrorist watch list until 2008. He was almost 90 years old.

While in 1967 King named the United States as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today” and spoke out on behalf of the “hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence,” Mandela too castigated the American policies as often dangerous and destructive.

In September 2002, with the drive toward invading Iraq ramping up, Mandela told Newsweek,

The United States has made serious mistakes in the conduct of its foreign affairs, which have had unfortunate repercussions long after the decisions were taken. Unqualified support of the Shah of Iran led directly to the Islamic revolution of 1979. Then the United States chose to arm and finance the [Islamic] mujahedin in Afghanistan instead of supporting and encouraging the moderate wing of the government of Afghanistan. That is what led to the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Mandela continued, “If you look at those matters, you will come to the conclusion that the attitude of the United States of America is a threat to world peace,” and called the looming war crimes in Iraq “clearly a decision that is motivated by George W. Bush’s desire to please the arms and oil industries in the United States of America.”

 In the same interview, Mandela pointed out that, while there was “no evidence whatsoever” that Iraq had or was developing WMD, “what we know is that Israel has weapons of mass destruction. Nobody talks about that. Why should there be one standard for one country, especially because it is black, and another one for another country, Israel, that is white.” In all the pieces written about Mandela today and in the future, one must wonder how often we will read these words.

Months later, in early 2003, Mandela told the International Women’s Forum, ”It’s a tragedy what’s happening, what Bush is doing. All Bush wants is Iraqi oil. There is no doubt that the US is behaving badly. Why are they not seeking to confiscate weapons of mass destruction from their ally Israel? This is just an excuse to get Iraq’s oil.”

“If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America,” he added.

Musa Okwongo wrote this morning, “Dear revisionists, Mandela will never, ever be your minstrel. Over the next few days you will try so, so hard to make him something he was not, and you will fail. You will try to smooth him, to sandblast him, to take away his Malcolm X. You will try to hide his anger from view.” Nevertheless, Okwongo insists:

Nelson Mandela was not a god, floating elegantly above us and saving us. He was utterly, thoroughly human, and he did all he did in spite of people like you. There is no need to name you because you know who you are, we know who you are, and you know we know that too. You didn’t break him in life, and you won’t shape him in death. You will try, wherever you are, and you will fail.

R.I.P. Madiba.

 

Written for Muftah Org.

 

BELLA CIAO DEAR COMRADE NELSON

As he sat in prison he dreamt of seeing the end of apartheid both in South Africa and Israel. Half of the dream has been fulfilled.

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Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos  Latuff

Mandela_on_Israeli_apartheid_by_Latuff2*

After 27 years in jail, Nelson Mandela was released from Victor Verster Prison in Paarl (Cap Town), South Africa. The event was broadcast live all over the world.
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‘I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.’
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REMARKS BY NELSON MANDELA IN CAPE TOWN ON 11 FEBRUARY 11, 1990 AFTER HIS RELEASE FROM VICTOR VERSTER

NELSON MANDELA’S ADDRESS TO RALLY IN CAPE TOWN ON HIS RELEASE FROM PRISON

11 February 1990

Friends, comrades and fellow South Africans.

I greet you all in the name of peace, democracy and freedom for all.

I stand here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people. Your tireless and heroic sacrifices have made it possible for me to be here today. I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands.

On this day of my release, I extend my sincere and warmest gratitude to the millions of my compatriots and those in every corner of the globe who have campaigned tirelessly for my release.

I send special greetings to the people of Cape Town, this city which has been my home for three decades. Your mass marches and other forms of struggle have served as a constant source of strength to all political prisoners.

I salute the African National Congress. It has fulfilled our every expectation in its role as leader of the great march to freedom.

I salute our President, Comrade Oliver Tambo, for leading the ANC even under the most difficult circumstances.

I salute the rank and file members of the ANC. You have sacrificed life and limb in the pursuit of the noble cause of our struggle.

I salute combatants of Umkhonto we Sizwe, like Solomon Mahlangu and Ashley Kriel who have paid the ultimate price for the freedom of all South Africans.

I salute the South African Communist Party for its sterling contribution to the struggle for democracy. You have survived 40 years of unrelenting persecution. The memory of great communists like Moses Kotane, Yusuf Dadoo, Bram Fischer and Moses Mabhida will be cherished for generations to come.

I salute General Secretary Joe Slovo, one of our finest patriots. We are heartened by the fact that the alliance between ourselves and the Party remains as strong as it always was.

I salute the United Democratic Front, the National Education Crisis Committee, the South African Youth Congress, the Transvaal and Natal Indian Congresses and COSATU and the many other formations of the Mass Democratic Movement.

I also salute the Black Sash and the National Union of South African Students. We note with pride that you have acted as the conscience of white South Africa. Even during the darkest days in the history of our struggle you held the flag of liberty high. The large-scale mass mobilisation of the past few years is one of the key factors which led to the opening of the final chapter of our struggle.

I extend my greetings to the working class of our country. Your organised strength is the pride of our movement. You remain the most dependable force in the struggle to end exploitation and oppression.

I pay tribute to the many religious communities who carried the campaign for justice forward when the organisations for our people were silenced.

I greet the traditional leaders of our country – many of you continue to walk in the footsteps of great heroes like Hintsa and Sekhukune.

I pay tribute to the endless heroism of youth, you, the young lions. You, the young lions, have energised our entire struggle.

I pay tribute to the mothers and wives and sisters of our nation. You are the rock-hard foundation of our struggle. Apartheid has inflicted more pain on you than on anyone else.

On this occasion, we thank the world community for their great contribution to the anti-apartheid struggle. Without your support our struggle would not have reached this advanced stage. The sacrifice of the frontline states will be remembered by South Africans forever.

My salutations would be incomplete without expressing my deep appreciation for the strength given to me during my long and lonely years in prison by my beloved wife and family. I am convinced that your pain and suffering was far greater than my own.

Before I go any further I wish to make the point that I intend making only a few preliminary comments at this stage. I will make a more complete statement only after I have had the opportunity to consult with my comrades.

Today the majority of South Africans, black and white, recognise that apartheid has no future. It has to be ended by our own decisive mass action in order to build peace and security. The mass campaign of defiance and other actions of our organisation and people can only culminate in the establishment of democracy. The destruction caused by apartheid on our sub-continent is in- calculable. The fabric of family life of millions of my people has been shattered. Millions are homeless and unemployed. Our economy lies in ruins and our people are embroiled in political strife. Our resort to the armed struggle in 1960 with the formation of the military wing of the ANC, Umkhonto we Sizwe, was a purely defensive action against the violence of apartheid. The factors which necessitated the armed struggle still exist today. We have no option but to continue. We express the hope that a climate conducive to a negotiated settlement will be created soon so that there may no longer be the need for the armed struggle.

I am a loyal and disciplined member of the African National Congress. I am therefore in full agreement with all of its objectives, strategies and tactics.

The need to unite the people of our country is as important a task now as it always has been. No individual leader is able to take on this enormous task on his own. It is our task as leaders to place our views before our organisation and to allow the democratic structures to decide. On the question of democratic practice, I feel duty bound to make the point that a leader of the movement is a person who has been democratically elected at a national conference. This is a principle which must be upheld without any exceptions.

Today, I wish to report to you that my talks with the government have been aimed at normalising the political situation in the country. We have not as yet begun discussing the basic demands of the struggle. I wish to stress that I myself have at no time entered into negotiations about the future of our country except to insist on a meeting between the ANC and the government.

Mr. De Klerk has gone further than any other Nationalist president in taking real steps to normalise the situation. However, there are further steps as outlined in the Harare Declaration that have to be met before negotiations on the basic demands of our people can begin. I reiterate our call for, inter alia, the immediate ending of the State of Emergency and the freeing of all, and not only some, political prisoners. Only such a normalised situation, which allows for free political activity, can allow us to consult our people in order to obtain a mandate.

The people need to be consulted on who will negotiate and on the content of such negotiations. Negotiations cannot take place above the heads or behind the backs of our people. It is our belief that the future of our country can only be determined by a body which is democratically elected on a non-racial basis. Negotiations on the dismantling of apartheid will have to address the over- whelming demand of our people for a democratic, non-racial and unitary South Africa. There must be an end to white monopoly on political power and a fundamental restructuring of our political and economic systems to ensure that the inequalities of apartheid are addressed and our society thoroughly democratised.

It must be added that Mr. De Klerk himself is a man of integrity who is acutely aware of the dangers of a public figure not honouring his undertakings. But as an organisation we base our policy and strategy on the harsh reality we are faced with. And this reality is that we are still suffering under the policy of the Nationalist government.

Our struggle has reached a decisive moment. We call on our people to seize this moment so that the process towards democracy is rapid and uninterrupted. We have waited too long for our freedom. We can no longer wait. Now is the time to intensify the struggle on all fronts. To relax our efforts now would be a mistake which generations to come will not be able to forgive. The sight of freedom looming on the horizon should encourage us to redouble our efforts.

It is only through disciplined mass action that our victory can be assured. We call on our white compatriots to join us in the shaping of a new South Africa. The freedom movement is a political home for you too. We call on the international community to continue the campaign to isolate the apartheid regime. To lift sanctions now would be to run the risk of aborting the process towards the complete eradication of apartheid.

Our march to freedom is irreversible. We must not allow fear to stand in our way. Universal suffrage on a common voters’ role in a united democratic and non-racial South Africa is the only way to peace and racial harmony.

In conclusion I wish to quote my own words during my trial in 1964. They are true today as they were then:

‘I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.’

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RAPPIN TO APARTHEID

We need a new ‘I ain’t gonna play Sun City’ tune

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Artists United Against Apartheid – Sun City

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Not long after Band Aid and We Are The World focused musical attention on poverty and famine, a collection of artists took a similar approach in the struggle against apartheid. The initiator was Steven van Zandt – erstwhile guitarist in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band – who whipped up dozens of musicians to work on the project. They included Peter Gabriel, members of U2, Springsteen himself, Hall and Oates, Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Run DMC, Lou Reed, Jackson Browne and Keith Richards. Van Zandt wrote and produced the song and it reached the top 40 in several European nations, though not in the US.

Sun City is a large casino resort in the north-west of South Africa. During the apartheid years it was located in ‘independent’ state of Bophuthatswana, a phoney political entity that enabled white South Africans to visit a casino, gamble and attend strip shows, even though these activities were illegal within South Africa itself. The United Nations placed a cultural ban on artists touring or performing in South Africa – however many notable American and European acts ignored this and received large sums to perform at Sun City’s massive auditorium. Amongst those to defy the ban included Linda Ronstadt, Queen, Laura Branigan, Rod Stewart, Julio Iglesias – and, ironically, black singers like Ray Charles, Dionne Warwick and Boney M. As a result, Van Zandt’s song continually insists that “I ain’t gonna play Sun City”:

Twenty-three million can’t vote ’cause they’re black
We’re stabbing our brothers and sisters in the back
I wanna say I, I, I ain’t gonna play Sun City
I, I, I ain’t gonna play Sun City

Boputhuswana is so far away
But we know it’s in South Africa
No matter what they say
You can’t buy me, I don’t care what you pay
Don’t ask me Sun City because I ain’t gonna play 

h/t Lokis

NELSON MANDELA’S LONG WALK TO FREEDOM

mandela-nugget
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After 27 years in jail, Nelson Mandela was released from Victor Verster Prison in Paarl (Cap Town), South Africa. The event was broadcast live all over the world.
*
‘I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.’
*
*

REMARKS BY NELSON MANDELA IN CAPE TOWN ON 11 FEBRUARY 11, 1990 AFTER HIS RELEASE FROM VICTOR VERSTER

NELSON MANDELA’S ADDRESS TO RALLY IN CAPE TOWN ON HIS RELEASE FROM PRISON

11 February 1990

Friends, comrades and fellow South Africans.

I greet you all in the name of peace, democracy and freedom for all.

I stand here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people. Your tireless and heroic sacrifices have made it possible for me to be here today. I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands.

On this day of my release, I extend my sincere and warmest gratitude to the millions of my compatriots and those in every corner of the globe who have campaigned tirelessly for my release.

I send special greetings to the people of Cape Town, this city which has been my home for three decades. Your mass marches and other forms of struggle have served as a constant source of strength to all political prisoners.

I salute the African National Congress. It has fulfilled our every expectation in its role as leader of the great march to freedom.

I salute our President, Comrade Oliver Tambo, for leading the ANC even under the most difficult circumstances.

I salute the rank and file members of the ANC. You have sacrificed life and limb in the pursuit of the noble cause of our struggle.

I salute combatants of Umkhonto we Sizwe, like Solomon Mahlangu and Ashley Kriel who have paid the ultimate price for the freedom of all South Africans.

I salute the South African Communist Party for its sterling contribution to the struggle for democracy. You have survived 40 years of unrelenting persecution. The memory of great communists like Moses Kotane, Yusuf Dadoo, Bram Fischer and Moses Mabhida will be cherished for generations to come.

I salute General Secretary Joe Slovo, one of our finest patriots. We are heartened by the fact that the alliance between ourselves and the Party remains as strong as it always was.

I salute the United Democratic Front, the National Education Crisis Committee, the South African Youth Congress, the Transvaal and Natal Indian Congresses and COSATU and the many other formations of the Mass Democratic Movement.

I also salute the Black Sash and the National Union of South African Students. We note with pride that you have acted as the conscience of white South Africa. Even during the darkest days in the history of our struggle you held the flag of liberty high. The large-scale mass mobilisation of the past few years is one of the key factors which led to the opening of the final chapter of our struggle.

I extend my greetings to the working class of our country. Your organised strength is the pride of our movement. You remain the most dependable force in the struggle to end exploitation and oppression.

I pay tribute to the many religious communities who carried the campaign for justice forward when the organisations for our people were silenced.

I greet the traditional leaders of our country – many of you continue to walk in the footsteps of great heroes like Hintsa and Sekhukune.

I pay tribute to the endless heroism of youth, you, the young lions. You, the young lions, have energised our entire struggle.

I pay tribute to the mothers and wives and sisters of our nation. You are the rock-hard foundation of our struggle. Apartheid has inflicted more pain on you than on anyone else.

On this occasion, we thank the world community for their great contribution to the anti-apartheid struggle. Without your support our struggle would not have reached this advanced stage. The sacrifice of the frontline states will be remembered by South Africans forever.

My salutations would be incomplete without expressing my deep appreciation for the strength given to me during my long and lonely years in prison by my beloved wife and family. I am convinced that your pain and suffering was far greater than my own.

Before I go any further I wish to make the point that I intend making only a few preliminary comments at this stage. I will make a more complete statement only after I have had the opportunity to consult with my comrades.

Today the majority of South Africans, black and white, recognise that apartheid has no future. It has to be ended by our own decisive mass action in order to build peace and security. The mass campaign of defiance and other actions of our organisation and people can only culminate in the establishment of democracy. The destruction caused by apartheid on our sub-continent is in- calculable. The fabric of family life of millions of my people has been shattered. Millions are homeless and unemployed. Our economy lies in ruins and our people are embroiled in political strife. Our resort to the armed struggle in 1960 with the formation of the military wing of the ANC, Umkhonto we Sizwe, was a purely defensive action against the violence of apartheid. The factors which necessitated the armed struggle still exist today. We have no option but to continue. We express the hope that a climate conducive to a negotiated settlement will be created soon so that there may no longer be the need for the armed struggle.

I am a loyal and disciplined member of the African National Congress. I am therefore in full agreement with all of its objectives, strategies and tactics.

The need to unite the people of our country is as important a task now as it always has been. No individual leader is able to take on this enormous task on his own. It is our task as leaders to place our views before our organisation and to allow the democratic structures to decide. On the question of democratic practice, I feel duty bound to make the point that a leader of the movement is a person who has been democratically elected at a national conference. This is a principle which must be upheld without any exceptions.

Today, I wish to report to you that my talks with the government have been aimed at normalising the political situation in the country. We have not as yet begun discussing the basic demands of the struggle. I wish to stress that I myself have at no time entered into negotiations about the future of our country except to insist on a meeting between the ANC and the government.

Mr. De Klerk has gone further than any other Nationalist president in taking real steps to normalise the situation. However, there are further steps as outlined in the Harare Declaration that have to be met before negotiations on the basic demands of our people can begin. I reiterate our call for, inter alia, the immediate ending of the State of Emergency and the freeing of all, and not only some, political prisoners. Only such a normalised situation, which allows for free political activity, can allow us to consult our people in order to obtain a mandate.

The people need to be consulted on who will negotiate and on the content of such negotiations. Negotiations cannot take place above the heads or behind the backs of our people. It is our belief that the future of our country can only be determined by a body which is democratically elected on a non-racial basis. Negotiations on the dismantling of apartheid will have to address the over- whelming demand of our people for a democratic, non-racial and unitary South Africa. There must be an end to white monopoly on political power and a fundamental restructuring of our political and economic systems to ensure that the inequalities of apartheid are addressed and our society thoroughly democratised.

It must be added that Mr. De Klerk himself is a man of integrity who is acutely aware of the dangers of a public figure not honouring his undertakings. But as an organisation we base our policy and strategy on the harsh reality we are faced with. And this reality is that we are still suffering under the policy of the Nationalist government.

Our struggle has reached a decisive moment. We call on our people to seize this moment so that the process towards democracy is rapid and uninterrupted. We have waited too long for our freedom. We can no longer wait. Now is the time to intensify the struggle on all fronts. To relax our efforts now would be a mistake which generations to come will not be able to forgive. The sight of freedom looming on the horizon should encourage us to redouble our efforts.

It is only through disciplined mass action that our victory can be assured. We call on our white compatriots to join us in the shaping of a new South Africa. The freedom movement is a political home for you too. We call on the international community to continue the campaign to isolate the apartheid regime. To lift sanctions now would be to run the risk of aborting the process towards the complete eradication of apartheid.

Our march to freedom is irreversible. We must not allow fear to stand in our way. Universal suffrage on a common voters’ role in a united democratic and non-racial South Africa is the only way to peace and racial harmony.

In conclusion I wish to quote my own words during my trial in 1964. They are true today as they were then:

‘I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.’

Posted AT

NELSON MANDELA ~~ IMPENDING FUNERAL FOR A LATTER DAY SAINT

A stained glass window Nelson Mandela at the Regina Mundi church in Soweto

Regina Mundi church in Soweto, which has a stained glass window in his honour. Photograph: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
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Plans for the funeral of South Africa’s iconic former leader Nelson Mandela are already in place, even though his health is currently reported to be improving.
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Nelson Mandela Death Fears: Government Reveals Plan for Memorial Service at Soccer City
By Hannah Osborne
 
Nelson Mandela will be burried in his home village of Qunu (Reuters)
Nelson Mandela will be buried in his home village of Qunu (Reuters)

 

Plans for the funeral of South Africa’s iconic former leader Nelson Mandela are already in place, even though his health is currently reported to be improving.

 

Mandela will be buried 10 days after his eventual death and a huge memorial service will be held in Johannesburg’s Soccer City.

According to documents seen by the Daily Mirror, the main memorial will take place at the 94,000-seat stadium that hosted the 2010 World Cup Final, Mandela’s last major public engagement.

However, a source has also said the plans have become a “logistical nightmare”, and that the funeral could take place up to 12 days after he dies.

 

The documents show his body will be moved to a military hospital on the outskirts of Pretoria. He will lie in state for three days, allowing members of the public to file past.

 

Mandela will be buried in his home village of Qunu, in a ceremony to be attended by 450 relatives and dignitaries.

Books of condolences will be opened at the Union Buildings in Pretoria as well as designated places in other cities.

A source told the Mirror: “The original plan was a strict 10-day affair with the memorial service on Day 5 and the funeral service on Day 10.

“But a little flexibility has now been included because we want every world leader who wants to attend to be able to do so.

A huge memorial will be held at soccer city where the 2010 World Cup was held (Reuters)
A huge memorial will be held at Soccer City, site of the 2010 World Cup Final (Reuters)

“After Madiba dies his body will be transported reasonably quickly to One Military Hospital at Voortrekker Street on the outskirts of Pretoria. The hospital is run by the South African Military Health Service.

“Each province will have its own memorial service but the main one will be in ‘Soccer City’ in Johannesburg, where Spain lifted the 2010 World Cup.

“It is the biggest stadium in Africa and can hold 94,700 people and we are already working on plans on how to handle the distribution of tickets to the millions of people who will want to attend.”

Mandela has been in hospital in Pretoria since 8 June, when he was admitted with breathing difficulties. His condition had been described as “critical” but his family has since said his health is improving.

The anti-apartheid hero wrote out his request to be buried in Qunu on a piece of A4 paper, it has been revealed.

A former associate said: “Nobody likes to think about death and Mandela, like most people, was reluctant to make a will. He was clear he wanted to be buried in Qunu. He is a traditionalist and that’s why he wanted to be buried there.”

 

 

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Essay written by my son, The CrazyComposer
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Freedom Defined

The word “Freedom” is tossed about in contemporary political rhetoric quite often and yet it is poorly understood. It is heavily loaded with both partisan and sentimental value for those who use the word, and it cannot be easily defined for it not only represents the foundation of what the United States was ostensibly founded upon, but it is the watchword for all “democratic” nations. “Freedom” is our aspiration; in its absence we are enslaved, in its presence we are jubilant … but what does “freedom” really mean?

Understanding the concept of “freedom” is easier when you can comprehend what it means to live without freedom: to appreciate the lack of something permits us to better appreciate what it is like when it is made manifest in our presence. A perfect example of this can be found in 20th century history in the nation of South Africa and the tumultuous times of the Apartheid regime that imprisoned Nelson Mandela for 27 years. Nelson Mandela was only one of the political prisoners who lost his personal freedom in the battle for freedom for his people; that was the sacrifice that he made in order to see the hateful Apartheid system end, and for a nonracial system of government to come into being. The fruits of his freedom were manifested through the first “one-person-one-vote” elections in 1994, which marked the true end of apartheid. The subsequent establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commissionwas emblematic of this freedom as well. It was convened for the sake of creating a public record about what took place under the apartheid regime, to rehabilitate the nation after living through the ravages of the racist apartheid regime and, more importantly, to compensate those who had been abused under the old apartheid system rather than meting out revenge against those who had perpetrated the offences.

According to Nelson Mandela, freedom can only exist when everyone is free. In other words, freedom in not a personal issue, it pertains to the collective state of the people. Inequality is a great hindrance to true freedom as it creates distinct divisions (or classes) amongst the population that transcends traditional class structures. Having any class system in society, either according to job classification or based on religious belief, you will find that the issue of freedom is stunted by the idea that there is anything that differentiates one individual, or group of individuals, from others. One of the things that you discover by studying the situation that took place in South Africa, and the story of Nelson Mandela, is that freedom and racism are integrally related. When a man can have 3 decades of his life stolen from him because the state opposes the way he thinks, or his dream to live in a free state that does not treat him and his people like 2nd class citizens, that is when you know there is no freedom to be had. Freedom in South Africa, before the end of Apartheid, was an illusion for the simple reason that it was something that only white citizens were able to partake of, so long as they adhered to the barbaric laws of the apartheid regime.

When Nelson Mandela walked out of prison after 27 years he was a free man, but he would not know true freedom until he had the opportunity to cast his vote in the first “one-person-one-vote” election in South Africa on April 26, 1994. Over the days that the polls were open nearly 20 million South Africans of all colours cast their votes for who would represent them in the first non-white-only government. The African National Congress won the majority of support with 62.6% of the vote and, on May 9, 1994, Nelson Mandela was unanimously elected President by the National Assembly. The days of the elections were so important to the people of South Africa that the 27th of April was declared a public holiday: Freedom Day.

As the president of the “new” South Africa it is likely that Nelson Mandela did not, at that point, feel very much like a free man for the simple reason that his time was not his own, something that every head of state would likely agree with were they asked the question of their own situation. In his book “Long Walk to Freedom” Nelson Mandela wrote that “a leader often sacrifices personal freedom in order for a leader to serve the needs of his people” (paraphrased). It is a variation of the idea that personal sacrifices must be made in order to help others. That is the essence of being a truly great leader, of being a truly great human: someone must be willing to give of themselves for the betterment of others. In answering the question, “am I my brother’s keeper”, the response is “yes”, without hesitation, even if that costs something on a personal level.

True freedom, after this model, comes from the expression of an individual’s interpretation of a rather esoteric ideal, an expression that is almost impossible to define in traditional terms as it encompasses so many definitions. People ultimately cobble together their own interpretation of the word, regardless of whether or not it is close to being an accurate definition. When it comes to an individual’s idea concerning freedom there really is no “right answer”, and the truth is an altogether different and irrelevant point to those who believe that “freedom” is a “God-given right”, guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States (for those living in the United States … Canadians have the “Charter of Rights and Freedoms”).

Alas, this is where the idea of “true freedom” enters the concept of relativistic or situational definitions. Some might argue that true freedom is an absolute that cannot be measured against perceived rights and “freedoms” that are conferred upon an individual by the state. At the same time, true freedom cannot be represented by anything that the state can confer upon a citizen for the simple reason that rights and freedoms conferred by the state can be taken away just as easily as they were granted; that does not make the idea of freedom very concrete if it is something that can be removed by a court decision or governmental decision, it makes it sound more like a vague concept that is “open to interpretation” rather than an entrenched right. Take, for example, the right of “Habeas Corpus”, which has been an important part of common law since before the Magna Carta (1215). This “right” was taken away from people in the United States, with the stroke of a pen, after President George W. Bush decided that terrorists did not deserve the same rights as those guaranteed under the constitution to all other defendants.

One of the main problems encountered by people attempting to formulate a concrete definition of the idea behind “freedom” comes when an individual’s expression of their freedom impinges upon another person’s ability to enjoy their life. The problem with individual freedom is that, for the most part, people do not live their lives in such isolated situations that make it possible to do anything they want without having to be concerned with the ramifications of their actions. True freedom does not necessarily mean doing anything you want, whenever you want; it means that you are free to make choices to do the right thing, those things being things that do not interfere with the lives and livelihoods of others. What is truly important is that we are given the ability to make the proper choices when it comes to the exercise of this freedom which is why education is one of the most important things in a “free” society. Without an educated population it is impossible to have a citizenry who understand what their responsibilities as citizens are and, subsequently, what their freedom represents.

Education is the cornerstone of a free society insomuch as it serves to provide a level playing field for every citizen, regardless of their position in society. Where there is an educational system that treats its students with dignity and respect you will find a citizenry that appreciates their freedoms without seeking to violate the rights of others; civility is as much an element of cultural decontamination as it is a part of the permissive nature of the society from which an individual is from. When people believe they are allowed to do anything because it is their “right” to do so, that they are exercising their freedom, the violation of the rights of others will take place more and more frequently for the simple reason that they will not care whether or not their actions have ramifications outside of the immediate moment in which they are operating. This is the great conundrum of freedom that may never be fully satisfied: is one individual’s freedom more important than the freedom of all? What happens when your freedom interferes with another person’s life? Is the pursuit of the one supposed to supersede the other or, are you to alter your plans to accommodate the society of which you are a member? Perhaps the definition of freedom has to include the word “sacrifice”.

The very concept of freedom, from the beginning of modern history, is fluid as can be seen through the history of the United States and its Declaration of Independence. In the Declaration of Independence there are the famous words declaring that we are all endowed with the unalienable rights of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”. One may infer that “freedom” was on the tip of the tongue of the writers of the Declaration, even if it was not actually written down: the words chosen are all synonymous to freedom. However, it must also be remembered that the Declaration of Independence was aimed at a particular crowd: white, male landowners. Women and people who were not white were not considered in the same category as the landowners, nor were they given the right to vote or speak in government. Freedom was not for all; not then, or now.

The very idea behind the “pursuit of Happiness”, for example, can cause contention amongst those who do not share similar views of what that pursuit may actually entail. While one person may feel the pursuit of happiness includes the playing of drums in the middle of the night, their neighbours would likely feel somewhat differently about that expression of freedom and ask the drummer to change their schedule for the sake of community harmony. By playing their drums at another, more appropriate time of the day, it is possible for the drummer to have his pursuit of happiness – to have his expression of freedom – without having his neighbours want to burn down his house in the process.

Freedom is something that will be debated for generations, but the true definition is really not that difficult to find as it relates to the entire human condition; it must be seen as a relativistic term in regards to how we all live, or it holds little personal meaning: if one person thinks themselves to be free while their brothers or sisters are not, what is the value of their freedom? Unless we are all free, unless we are all endowed with the same rights and privileges that every citizen is entitled to enjoy, freedom will remain nothing but a concept to be discussed in university classes and high school civics classes.

When Nelson Mandela spoke to 120,000 supporters in the First National Bank Stadium in Soweto, South Africa, he addressed the fact that there had been problems with crime in the township. Crime had to end, Mandela pleaded, for “Freedom without civility, freedom without the ability to live in peace, was not true freedom at all.” In the end, freedom is more about the things we decide not to do than what we decide to do; it means we are free to live our lives in harmony with each other, regardless of colour or creed, in peace, because that is the way we should be living. It isn’t about doing things that risk the lives of others so that we can have a fleeting thrill. Irresponsibility is not an expression of freedom, it is an expression of immaturity. Freedom is something that, after 27 years in prison for political beliefs, Nelson Mandela could say he understood by virtue of the fact that he could have a meal when he pleased and sleep when he wanted. The little things become precious when you have had everything stolen from you.

Ultimately freedom is what you make of it, it is the lifeblood of our democratic system: we are free to vote, to choose those who will represent us in government and ultimately shape the course that our nation takes in national and international affairs. Our greatest task as freedom loving citizens begins at the ballot box whenever there is an election: if we fail to vote we fail our nations. We abdicate the responsibility that our government expects from its citizens. If we do not vote, if we do not use our freedom to express our opinions at the polls, how can we be surprised when a reactionary political entity is elected that wants to curtail those personal rights and freedoms? Any right conferred by the state can be taken away: we must never allow this to happen. The only way to prevent it is by speaking through our votes. If we do not vote, if we allow apathy to overtake our love for freedom, the damage will have been done. Just remember, if you do not vote, you are entrusting your freedom to the people who do.

 

SOUTH AFRICAN ZIONISTS DEFEND APARTHEID IN COURT

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The South African Zionist Federation and importers of Ahava – one of the companies singled out in the government’s notice to label Israeli-made goods produced beyond the Green Line – launched a court application on July 5.
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South Africa Zionist Federation takes anti-Israel measure to court

The South African Zionist Federation decided to play hardball after realizing that negotiating with Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies would lead nowhere.

By Jeremy Gordin
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Protest again support of Israel in Cape Town

Protest against a proposal from South African Trade Minister Rob Davies in Cape Town, South Africa, Friday, June 29, 2012. Photo by AP

JOHANNESBURG – Nearly two weeks after South Africa’s government adopted a regulation to label goods produced in the West Bank as originating from the “Israeli Occupied Territories,” it has emerged that the country’s Zionist Federation decided long before then to take the issue to a Pretoria court.

The South African Jewish community was outraged by the cabinet’s decision on August 22 to ratify the measure first proposed on May 10 by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies. His office placed a notice in the Government Gazette (where all government business is published), saying it wants merchants “not to incorrectly label products that originate from the Occupied Palestinian Territories as products of Israel.” The regulation also holds merchants responsible for identifying the provenance of products they sell.

Yet it has come to light in recent days that while some Jewish groups made a submission to parliament in response to the notice, the South African Zionist Federation has been quietly working on taking the matter to court, in an attempt to have the measure declared fatally flawed (legally-speaking), and therefore invalid.

The South African Zionist Federation and importers of Ahava – one of the companies singled out in the government’s notice to label Israeli-made goods produced beyond the Green Line – launched a court application on July 5.

Their application avoids dealing with the bigger political issues at hand – the labeling or boycott of Israeli-made goods – and instead focuses on technical aspects of Minister Davies’ notice, which the Zionist Federation’s attorneys said were deficient.

Avrom Krengel, chairman of the South African Zionist Federation, said that the technical legal approach might ensure that the matter is heard relatively soon, possibly before the end of the year. If the notice that launched the labeling is invalidated, the entire process that followed would also be nullified, said Krengel.

Krengel explained that after South African Zionist Federation realized that Davies was playing hardball on the issue, his group resolved to eschew negotiation with the minister, whose meeting with Jewish community leaders was not cordial, and to return fire with fire.

“It seemed clear that we weren’t going to get anywhere by talking to the minister, so we took [our lawyer’s] advice and decided to let the courts deal with the issue,” Krengel said.

The South African Zionist Federation has joined a number of other organizations that have found it necessary to “go to the law” if they want action, or a reaction, from the government. There has been an increasing trend over the last two years to take contentious matters to court. One of the best-known cases happened about two months ago, when the NGO Section 17 successfully sued the Basic Education Ministry because of its inability to deliver textbooks on time to schoolchildren in the Limpopo province.

Meanwhile, the Zionist Federation and Ahava importers are basing their action on three claims: They allege that the government notice was badly drafted, in terms of stipulations outlined by the consumer protection act (CPA). They also claim that Minister Davies used a “general” notice to deal with a specific complaint (that goods from the “occupied territories” are not labeled as such). The plaintiffs argue that, in legal terms, such an action – not letting the national consumer commission deal with the specific matter in the first place – is legally “incompetent.”

The petitioners also claim that the minister’s notice is “unconstitutionally vague,” meaning that it is impossible to ascertain from it precisely which issue he is trying to remedy. In addition, they argue that the minister has no right to place the onus of labeling certain goods on the “traders.”

The Zionist Federation’s Krengel said that as a result of the litigation process, his organization has been given access to documents in the general “file” on the issue of labeling Israeli-made products from the West Bank.

“Interestingly, it would appear from certain correspondence, from the head of the [pro-Palestinian] NGO Open Shuhada Street to the minister, in which this person ‘extends his deepest thanks to the minister regarding agreement on Ahava products’ – it would appear that this whole business was a done deal by the middle of December 2010,” Krengel said. “All that we have been going through is bureaucratic posturing. Not very democratic, was it?”

Source

 

ROADMAP TO APARTHEID ON THE BIG SCREEN

 Not only is Roadmap the first documentary to offer an in-depth exploration of parallels between the South African and Israeli forms of apartheid, but it presents the material in such a way as to serve as a fairly comprehensive and accessible introduction for audiences with no prior exposure to the issue
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Film explores striking parallels between South African, Israeli apartheid

Abraham Greenhouse*
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A film still highlights the parallels between South African and Israeli aparthied policies.


Roadmap to Apartheid, a feature-length documentary by filmmakers Ana Nogueira (a white South African) and Eron Davidson (a Jewish Israeli), is an extremely ambitious project that is largely successful in achieving the difficult goals it sets for itself.

Not only is Roadmap the first documentary to offer an in-depth exploration of parallels between the South African and Israeli forms of apartheid, but it presents the material in such a way as to serve as a fairly comprehensive and accessible introduction for audiences with no prior exposure to the issue.

Few films are ever made about the “parallels between x and y,” no matter how salient the comparison. The challenges of crafting such a film — structural, technical and otherwise — are many, and daunting even to the most experienced filmmakers. Yet first-timers Nogueira and Davidson have assembled a work which, at moments, rivals anything by heavyweight documentary artists like Errol Morris.

Physical and psychological aspects of apartheid

The sophistication of filmmakers’ technical skills is readily apparent throughout the film, which looks like anything but a first-time effort.

Roadmap employs striking data visualizations, animations and split screen effects, but does not overuse them. Decades-old footage is smoothly integrated with modern material, and the original footage is remarkably well-shot. The interviews employ a variety of different camera angles which help maintain an organic, conversational tone that never feels monotonous, and much of the on-the-ground footage of demonstrations and military incursions has an immersive, kinetic quality that pulls the viewer into the action.

The sheer breadth of the aspects of Israeli and South African apartheid that the film explores and compares will likely exceed the expectations of many viewers. The filmmakers cover nearly everything: siege mentality colonialism, forced migration,checkpoints, passes, foreign natives, present absentees, partition and proxy rule, bombing and boycotts, bulldozers and Bantustans. Refugee issues, central to understanding Palestine, get less screen time, but this is mainly because this is one of the numerous ways in which the Israeli form of apartheid, as journalist Allister Sparks puts it, is “significantly worse than apartheid” in South Africa.

Some of the transitions and comparisons work better than others, but those which work best, such as the juxtaposition of a Boer laager and Israel’s infamous wall in the West Bank, work remarkably well. That the film explores parallels not only between the physical aspects of apartheid, which are many and varied, but the psychological dimensions, for colonizer and colonized alike, is important. The most powerful moments of the film, in which the strongest links between the two forms of apartheid are made, are those which depict an emotional experience common to both struggles.

“There is no pain quite like being unloved, unwanted, in one’s own land, among one’s own kind,” laments South African poet Don Mattera, whose mesmerizing voice dominates several of the film’s most emotionally resonant moments, including a heartrending journey into the mind of a person watching as their home is physically destroyed. So powerful are Mattera’s words and voice that they tend to overshadow the uncharacteristically flat tone of the film’s narration by Alice Walker. Of course, if one of your film’s worst problems is that someone managed to outdo Alice Walker, you probably don’t have that much to worry about.

Prominent voices, leading analysts

The film is packed with insights from the world’s leading authorities on both South African and Israeli apartheid, including Diana Buttu, Na’eem Jeenah, Jeff Halper, Yasmin Sooka,Ali Abunimah, the late Dennis Brutus, Salim Vally, Ziad Abbas, Eddie Makue, Angela Godfrey-Goldstein, Jonathan CookJamal Juma’, Allister Sparks, Sasha Polakow-Suransky, Phyllis Bennis and others. Among this group, it would have been nice to hear from more black South Africans, and more women, but the film does manage to assemble a good mixture of very smart people saying very smart things.

Perhaps more importantly, the film includes just as prominently the voices of many ordinary South Africans and Palestinians who are experts on apartheid in their own right, by virtue of suffering, surviving and resisting it through the course of their own daily lives. The voices of ordinary Jewish Israelis are also included, exploring how Israeli apartheid offers them all manner of colonial privileges while erecting physical and psychological barriers that largely prevent them from observing its direct impact upon the indigenous Palestinians.

Individual and collective resistance

The discussion of home demolitions, a practice common to both Israeli and South African forms of apartheid, does seem to take a bit longer than it should, but is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the film.

“Every time you destroy someone’s house, you destroy their life,” says an unnamed Palestinian man who has experienced this six times firsthand. “You kill that person, and they become like they are neither dead nor alive.”

Mattera, after recounting the 1962 demolition of his own home in Sophiatown, South Africa, remarks: “You can shave off my hair. New hair will grow. You can spit in my face. I will find water to wash it. You can take away my clothes and leave me naked. I will find a blanket. But if you take away my house, and dignity, where can I go? Where?”

Some answers to that question may be found in the film’s closing segment, which examines individual and collective resistance to apartheid, and frameworks for imagining a shared future based on freedom and equality for all people. The global campaigns for boycott, divestment, and sanctions which helped end apartheid in South Africa, and which are well on their way to doing to same in Palestine, are discussed, but the emphasis here is more on the outcome than on the strategy.

Roadmap to Apartheid is an important achievement in the history of popular education about Palestine, which has long pointed to the parallels between Israel and South Africa, but has lacked a film that could present this framing in a comprehensive yet accessible way. For the filmgoer, it is well worth seeing. For the activist, it is well worth screening. For anyone who doubted that such a film could be made, Nogueira and Davidson have proven, just as Mattera declares when discussing the dream of free and equal society in historic Palestine, “It is possible. It is possible.”

Roadmap to Apartheid premiered in New York City on Friday, 22 June. For more information and screenings, visit their website at roadmaptoapartheid.org.

*Abraham Greenhouse is a longtime Palestine solidarity activist and blogger for The Electronic Intifada. Follow him on Twitter at @grinhoyz.

 

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PALESTINIANS ~~ THE NEW BLACKS

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
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In a first ever musical collaboration between South Africa and Palestine, South African band, The Mavrix, and Palestinian Oud player, Mohammed Omar, have released a music video called “The New Black”. The song is taken from The Mavrix’ upcoming album,”Pura Vida”, due for release in June 2012.

Written and composed by Jeremy Karodia and Ayub Mayet, the song was a musical reaction to the horror of the Gaza Massacre of 2008/2009 and then subsequently inspired by the book “Mornings in Jenin”, authored by Susan Abulhawa. Mayet had penned the first lyrics in 2009 after the Massacre and the song went into musical hibernation. Having read the novel, “Mornings in Jenin”, he then re-wrote the lyrics and the song evolved into its current version.

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Haidar Eid, a Gaza based BDS activist and friend of the band, heard the song in 2011 and urged the band to do a collaboration with Palestinian Oud player, Mohamed Omar. He also suggested that the band do a video highlighting the collaboration between South African and Palestinian musicians and also the similarities in the two struggles.

The song was recorded by The Mavrix in South Africa whilst Mohamed recorded the Oud in Gaza and, although never having had the opportunity to meet, the musical interplay between the musicians so far apart illustrates the empathy the musicians feel in solidarity with each other.

Produced by The Palestinian Solidarity Alliance (South Africa) and the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) along with written endorsements from Haidar Eid of PACBI, Omar Barghouti of the BDS Movement, Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada and Susan Abulhawa, author of “Mornings in Jenin”, the song represents a message of support from South Africans, who having transgressed and crossed over their own oppression under apartheid, stand in solidarity with Palestinians who are currently experiencing their own oppression under Israeli apartheid.

THE SILENT FLOTILLA

Without fanfare or publicity, a solidarity group from South Africa arrived in Gaza Thursday night. They brought 10 trucks of much needed medical and humanitarian supplies with them….
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South Africa activists visit Gaza
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GAZA CITY  — A solidarity group from South Africa arrived in Gaza Thursday evening, for a four-day visit they have called “Freedom for detainees.”

The 36 activists will meet with figures who work on the issue of Palestinian detainees in Israeli jail, a Ma’an correspondent said.

The group brought 10 trucks of medical and humanitarian supplies, entering through the southern Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

Reported AT

SOUTH AFRICAN YOUTH SAY NO TO ISRAELI APARTHEID

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Don’t patronize us! We lived apartheid, we suffered apartheid, we know what apartheid is, we recognise apartheid when we see it. And when we see Israel, we see a regime that practices apartheid. Israel’s image needs no changing; its policies do! We urge Israeli students to instead join the growing and inspiring internal resistance to their regime, particularly the boycott from within movement, rather than waste time and money on these propaganda trips to deceive us Black students, South Africans have no need for these Muldergate-like trips.
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JOINT STUDENT STATEMENT


There is no doubt, Israel is an Apartheid state; There is only one word, boycott!

We, students and youth of a post Apartheid South Africa, who bear the scars of a racist history and who continue to fight for complete liberation, have a duty and responsibility to stand in solidarity with those facing oppression worldwide. Israeli apartheid is one such form of oppression.

Israeli media boast that a mission of 150 Israeli propagandists will be sent to universities in 5 countries to fix Israel’s “serious image problems”. The Israeli mission will begin on South African campuses on the 11th of August, with a delegation that includes at least two aides from the Israeli parliament. A delegation member was clear about the intention of their trip: “We have to create some doubt in their [South African students’] minds.”

Don’t patronize us! We lived apartheid, we suffered apartheid, we know what apartheid is, we recognise apartheid when we see it. And when we see Israel, we see a regime that practices apartheid. Israel’s image needs no changing; its policies do! We urge Israeli students to instead join the growing and inspiring internal resistance to their regime, particularly the boycott from within movement, rather than waste time and money on these propaganda trips to deceive us Black students, South Africans have no need for these Muldergate-like trips.

A “major focus” of the Israeli trip will be the University of Johannesburg (UJ). On 1st April 2011 UJ’s Senate, with the full backing of UJ’s Student Representative Council, terminated its institutional relationship with Israel’s Ben-Gurion University. Indeed, UJ set an academic boycott of Israel precedent that all other South African and international universities can follow.

Following UJ’s decision, and in response to a letter sent to us by Palestinian students, we urge all SRCs, student groups and other youth structures to strategize and implement a boycott of Israel and its campaigns. We declare that all SA campuses must be Apartheid-Israel free zones.

As with the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, international solidarity is key in overcoming Israeli Apartheid. In Nelson Mandela’s words: ‘It behoves all South Africans, erstwhile beneficiaries of generous international support, to stand up and be counted among those contributing actively to the cause of freedom and justice….we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.’

FOR THE RECORD

A. On Education

1. The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories has had disastrous effects on access to education for Palestinians. Palestinian students face poverty, harassment and humiliation as a result of Israeli policy and actions.

2. Israel mounted direct attacks on Palestinian education, including the complete closures of two Palestinian universities in 2003 and the targeting and bombing of more than 60 primary and secondary schools during the Israeli attacks on Gaza in 2009.


3. Israel’s assault on the education of Palestinians is illegal under international law. The right to education is a fundamental human right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international instruments.

4. The Israeli blockade of Gaza has had a detrimental impact on students. Gaza’s electricity supply is controlled by Israel and shut-down for several hours most days, making it difficult for students to study. Moreover, the blockade means insufficient quantities of educational equipment, such as paper, desks and books, reach students.

B. On Israeli Apartheid

5. Several of our senior leaders have compared Israel to Apartheid South Africa, including Comrades Kgalema Mothlantle, Blade Nzimande, Zwelinzima Vavi, Rob Davies, Jeremy Cronin, Ahmed Kathrada, Winnie Mandela, Ronnie Kasrils, Denis Goldberg, the late Kader Asmal and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

6. Both the former and current United Nations Special Rapporteurs for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories have requested that Israel be investigated for the crime of apartheid.

7. In an official report commissioned by the South African government in 2009, the Human Sciences Research Council confirmed that Israel, by its policies and practices, is guilty of the crime of apartheid.

8. In November 2010, South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation called upon the Israeli government “to cease their activities that are reminiscent of apartheid forced removals…”

C. On Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)

8. Palestinian civil society, including student groups, have called for a policy of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel until it abides by international law.

9. This call has the endorsement of the largest and most representative coalition of civil and political society in Palestine. The call also has the support of a growing number of progressive Israeli groups.

10. In 2010, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Professor Richard Falk, said: “It is politically and morally appropriate, as well as legally correct, to accord maximum support to the BDS campaign.”

11. COSATU, South Africa’s largest trade union federation was one of the first unions to endorse the BDS call. Subsequently, numerous other international trade unions have also adopted a pro-BDS position.

12. Several international groups have began to advance the BDS call in the cultural, consumer, sports, economic and academic spheres. Earlier this year the largest student union in Europe, the ULU, passed a motion in support of BDS.”

ISSUED AT WITS UNIVERSITY ON THURSDAY THE 4th OF AUGUST 2011 BY
South African Union of Students, South African Student Congress and the Young Communist League of South Africa

* SASCO is South Africa’s oldest and largest student organization.

** The SA Union of Students (SAUS) comprises all South African university Student Representative Councils and is the most representative student union in the country.

*** The Young Communist League of South Africa (YCL) has local branches at all South African universities

BDS SOUTH AFRICA

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An Israeli mission is being sent to five countries to do pro-Israeli propaganda work at campuses. The mission has been briefed and trained by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Israeli Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs. Furthermore, they have received funding from the Ben-Gurion University and Weizmann Institute of Science student unions.
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These youtube diaries document the mission’s attempted propaganda visit to South African campuses.In this installment – Day 1: OR Tambo International Airport – students who planned a creative protest at the arrivals terminal of the airport speak about the measures that the Hasbara group had to take to “sneak into the country like spies”.

Palestinian students have written to South African peers asking students to challenge and boycott the upcoming Israeli trip to South Africa which is meant to begin on the 11th of August 2011. In response, the SA Union of Students; South Africa’s oldest and largest student group, SA Students Congress; and the Young Communist League of South Africa have issued a joint statement that slams the “Israeli Apartheid Agents” mission to South African campuses and they encourage all local structures to investigate and implement boycott of Israel campaigns was issued.

All South African students are being called on to boycott the Israeli tour; challenge and counter the tour; and investigate and advance Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel on their campuses. More information:

www.bdssouthafrica.com

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FALSELY LABELLING APARTHEID

In South Africa, of all places :(
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‘The Ahava products were falsely labelled to appear as though they were from Israel, yet in fact were made in the Israeli settlement Mitzpe Shalem in the occupied West Bank,” one of the protesters said.

Uproar against ‘false labelling’

A GROUP of human rights activists are up in arms against retailer Wellness Warehouse for selling Ahava beauty products allegedly made in Israeli settlements

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Lining up in the forecourt of the retail store in Cape Town’s up-market Kloof Street on Saturday, human rights activists called a boycott of the business outlet.

They held up placards and sang. Some placards read: “Boycott Ahava for a free Palestine”, “Israel occupation is a crime, don’t support it, boycott Ahava” and “Wellness Warehouse remove Ahava products made in Occupied Palestine”.

They accused the owners of violating international law and “infringement of the rights of the Palestinian people”.

‘The Ahava products were falsely labelled to appear as though they were from Israel, yet in fact were made in the Israeli settlement Mitzpe Shalem in the occupied West Bank,” one of the protesters said.

Daniel Kamen, Open Shuhada Street (OSS) education coordinator said they stood for the rights of both Palestinians and Israelis. The OSS organised the protest.

He said his group would take up the issue of false labelling with the National Consumer Commissioner.

He said that before they took to the streets since last August they had tried to sort out the matter through correspondence with Wellness Warehouse chief executive Sean Gomes.

“We appealed to Wellness Warehouse’s claim that it ‘cares for the earth and its people’, and requested that Gomes discontinue the sale of Ahava.

“Wellness Warehouse refused to comply with our request.”

In response to the request Gomes had said that his store was but “one of a number of retailers, health shops and spas”, in SA that stocked the products.

“Wellness Warehouse is not the importer, but purchases Ahava from a local importer.

If a product is deemed to be contravening any law and this is confirmed and sanctioned by the South African trade authorities and government, we will take the necessary action at that time,” said Gomes.

Source

PALESTINE NEEDS A NELSON MANDELA

We often hear people ask; “Where is the Palestinian Gandhi”? We rarely hear; ‘Where is the Palestinian Mandela”.

BUT…. that is exactly what Palestine needs today. A leader with integrity, dedication to his people and willing to take risks.

My son wrote a brilliant piece the other day about Freedom….about Nelson Mandela. So many of the circumstances of Apartheid South Africa and Apartheid Israel are similar… surely we need similar leadership to combat this.

Freedom Defined

The word “Freedom” is tossed about in contemporary political rhetoric quite often and yet it is poorly understood. It is heavily loaded with both partisan and sentimental value for those who use the word, and it cannot be easily defined for it not only represents the foundation of what the United States was ostensibly founded upon, but it is the watchword for all “democratic” nations. “Freedom” is our aspiration; in its absence we are enslaved, in its presence we are jubilant … but what does “freedom” really mean?

Understanding the concept of “freedom” is easier when you can comprehend what it means to live without freedom: to appreciate the lack of something permits us to better appreciate what it is like when it is made manifest in our presence. A perfect example of this can be found in 20th century history in the nation of South Africa and the tumultuous times of the Apartheid regime that imprisoned Nelson Mandela for 27 years. Nelson Mandela was only one of the political prisoners who lost his personal freedom in the battle for freedom for his people; that was the sacrifice that he made in order to see the hateful Apartheid system end, and for a nonracial system of government to come into being. The fruits of his freedom were manifested through the first “one-person-one-vote” elections in 1994, which marked the true end of apartheid. The subsequent establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was emblematic of this freedom as well. It was convened for the sake of creating a public record about what took place under the apartheid regime, to rehabilitate the nation after living through the ravages of the racist apartheid regime and, more importantly, to compensate those who had been abused under the old apartheid system rather than meting out revenge against those who had perpetrated the offences.

According to Nelson Mandela, freedom can only exist when everyone is free. In other words, freedom in not a personal issue, it pertains to the collective state of the people. Inequality is a great hindrance to true freedom as it creates distinct divisions (or classes) amongst the population that transcends traditional class structures. Having any class system in society, either according to job classification or based on religious belief, you will find that the issue of freedom is stunted by the idea that there is anything that differentiates one individual, or group of individuals, from others. One of the things that you discover by studying the situation that took place in South Africa, and the story of Nelson Mandela, is that freedom and racism are integrally related. When a man can have 3 decades of his life stolen from him because the state opposes the way he thinks, or his dream to live in a free state that does not treat him and his people like 2nd class citizens, that is when you know there is no freedom to be had. Freedom in South Africa, before the end of Apartheid, was an illusion for the simple reason that it was something that only white citizens were able to partake of, so long as they adhered to the barbaric laws of the apartheid regime.

When Nelson Mandela walked out of prison after 27 years he was a free man, but he would not know true freedom until he had the opportunity to cast his vote in the first “one-person-one-vote” election in South Africa on April 26, 1994. Over the days that the polls were open nearly 20 million South Africans of all colours cast their votes for who would represent them in the first non-white-only government. The African National Congress won the majority of support with 62.6% of the vote and, on May 9, 1994, Nelson Mandela was unanimously elected President by the National Assembly. The days of the elections were so important to the people of South Africa that the 27th of April was declared a public holiday: Freedom Day.

As the president of the “new” South Africa it is likely that Nelson Mandela did not, at that point, feel very much like a free man for the simple reason that his time was not his own, something that every head of state would likely agree with were they asked the question of their own situation. In his book “Long Walk to Freedom” Nelson Mandela wrote that “a leader often sacrifices personal freedom in order for a leader to serve the needs of his people” (paraphrased). It is a variation of the idea that personal sacrifices must be made in order to help others. That is the essence of being a truly great leader, of being a truly great human: someone must be willing to give of themselves for the betterment of others. In answering the question, “am I my brother’s keeper”, the response is “yes”, without hesitation, even if that costs something on a personal level.

True freedom, after this model, comes from the expression of an individual’s interpretation of a rather esoteric ideal, an expression that is almost impossible to define in traditional terms as it encompasses so many definitions. People ultimately cobble together their own interpretation of the word, regardless of whether or not it is close to being an accurate definition. When it comes to an individual’s idea concerning freedom there really is no “right answer”, and the truth is an altogether different and irrelevant point to those who believe that “freedom” is a “God-given right”, guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States (for those living in the United States … Canadians have the “Charter of Rights and Freedoms”).

Alas, this is where the idea of “true freedom” enters the concept of relativistic or situational definitions. Some might argue that true freedom is an absolute that cannot be measured against perceived rights and “freedoms” that are conferred upon an individual by the state. At the same time, true freedom cannot be represented by anything that the state can confer upon a citizen for the simple reason that rights and freedoms conferred by the state can be taken away just as easily as they were granted; that does not make the idea of freedom very concrete if it is something that can be removed by a court decision or governmental decision, it makes it sound more like a vague concept that is “open to interpretation” rather than an entrenched right. Take, for example, the right of “Habeas Corpus”, which has been an important part of common law since before the Magna Carta (1215). This “right” was taken away from people in the United States, with the stroke of a pen, after President George W. Bush decided that terrorists did not deserve the same rights as those guaranteed under the constitution to all other defendants.

One of the main problems encountered by people attempting to formulate a concrete definition of the idea behind “freedom” comes when an individual’s expression of their freedom impinges upon another person’s ability to enjoy their life. The problem with individual freedom is that, for the most part, people do not live their lives in such isolated situations that make it possible to do anything they want without having to be concerned with the ramifications of their actions. True freedom does not necessarily mean doing anything you want, whenever you want; it means that you are free to make choices to do the right thing, those things being things that do not interfere with the lives and livelihoods of others. What is truly important is that we are given the ability to make the proper choices when it comes to the exercise of this freedom which is why education is one of the most important things in a “free” society. Without an educated population it is impossible to have a citizenry who understand what their responsibilities as citizens are and, subsequently, what their freedom represents.

Education is the cornerstone of a free society insomuch as it serves to provide a level playing field for every citizen, regardless of their position in society. Where there is an educational system that treats its students with dignity and respect you will find a citizenry that appreciates their freedoms without seeking to violate the rights of others; civility is as much an element of cultural decontamination as it is a part of the permissive nature of the society from which an individual is from. When people believe they are allowed to do anything because it is their “right” to do so, that they are exercising their freedom, the violation of the rights of others will take place more and more frequently for the simple reason that they will not care whether or not their actions have ramifications outside of the immediate moment in which they are operating. This is the great conundrum of freedom that may never be fully satisfied: is one individual’s freedom more important than the freedom of all? What happens when your freedom interferes with another person’s life? Is the pursuit of the one supposed to supersede the other or, are you to alter your plans to accommodate the society of which you are a member? Perhaps the definition of freedom has to include the word “sacrifice”.

The very concept of freedom, from the beginning of modern history, is fluid as can be seen through the history of the United States and its Declaration of Independence. In the Declaration of Independence there are the famous words declaring that we are all endowed with the unalienable rights of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”. One may infer that “freedom” was on the tip of the tongue of the writers of the Declaration, even if it was not actually written down: the words chosen are all synonymous to freedom. However, it must also be remembered that the Declaration of Independence was aimed at a particular crowd: white, male landowners. Women and people who were not white were not considered in the same category as the landowners, nor were they given the right to vote or speak in government. Freedom was not for all; not then, or now.

The very idea behind the “pursuit of Happiness”, for example, can cause contention amongst those who do not share similar views of what that pursuit may actually entail. While one person may feel the pursuit of happiness includes the playing of drums in the middle of the night, their neighbours would likely feel somewhat differently about that expression of freedom and ask the drummer to change their schedule for the sake of community harmony. By playing their drums at another, more appropriate time of the day, it is possible for the drummer to have his pursuit of happiness – to have his expression of freedom – without having his neighbours want to burn down his house in the process.

Freedom is something that will be debated for generations, but the true definition is really not that difficult to find as it relates to the entire human condition; it must be seen as a relativistic term in regards to how we all live, or it holds little personal meaning: if one person thinks themselves to be free while their brothers or sisters are not, what is the value of their freedom? Unless we are all free, unless we are all endowed with the same rights and privileges that every citizen is entitled to enjoy, freedom will remain nothing but a concept to be discussed in university classes and high school civics classes.

When Nelson Mandela spoke to 120,000 supporters in the First National Bank Stadium in Soweto, South Africa, he addressed the fact that there had been problems with crime in the township. Crime had to end, Mandela pleaded, for “Freedom without civility, freedom without the ability to live in peace, was not true freedom at all.” In the end, freedom is more about the things we decide not to do than what we decide to do; it means we are free to live our lives in harmony with each other, regardless of colour or creed, in peace, because that is the way we should be living. It isn’t about doing things that risk the lives of others so that we can have a fleeting thrill. Irresponsibility is not an expression of freedom, it is an expression of immaturity. Freedom is something that, after 27 years in prison for political beliefs, Nelson Mandela could say he understood by virtue of the fact that he could have a meal when he pleased and sleep when he wanted. The little things become precious when you have had everything stolen from you.

Ultimately freedom is what you make of it, it is the lifeblood of our democratic system: we are free to vote, to choose those who will represent us in government and ultimately shape the course that our nation takes in national and international affairs. Our greatest task as freedom loving citizens begins at the ballot box whenever there is an election: if we fail to vote we fail our nations. We abdicate the responsibility that our government expects from its citizens. If we do not vote, if we do not use our freedom to express our opinions at the polls, how can we be surprised when a reactionary political entity is elected that wants to curtail those personal rights and freedoms? Any right conferred by the state can be taken away: we must never allow this to happen. The only way to prevent it is by speaking through our votes. If we do not vote, if we allow apathy to overtake our love for freedom, the damage will have been done. Just remember, if you do not vote, you are entrusting your freedom to the people who do.

Originally posted AT

BOYCOTTER’S ‘FLASH-MOB’ PERFORMANCE IN TEL AVIV

 

Israeli Activists tell the Cape Town Opera to Boycott Apartheid in Tel Aviv

Posted by Joseph Dana

Thirty Israeli Boycott campaign activists gathered Monday at the entrance to the Tel Aviv Opera House in protest of Cape Town Opera playing Porgy and Bess. The activists made a sudden flash-mob performance of two revised versions of Summertime and It Ain’t Necessarily So.



The protest was organized following a massive campaign of Palestinians, Israelis and South Africans, who called upon the Cape Town Opera House to cancel its planned trip to Israel, and abide by the Palestinian Boycott National Committee (BNC) 2005 call for Boycott Sanctions and Divestment from Israel in demand of full rights for Palestinians.

Art performance against apartheid, Tel Aviv opera house, Israel, 15/11/2010.Art performance against apartheid, Tel Aviv opera house, Israel, 15/11/2010. 

Like the boycott of South Africa, artists play an important role in this boycott movement. Prominent artists such as the Pixies, Elvis Costello and Roger Waters have declared that they are not willing to perform in Israel under current conditions of oppression and inequality.

It was therefore particularly troubling to hear of a Cape Town opera that decided to perform in Tel Aviv, with no other play than Porgy and Bess. Nobel Peace Prize winning Archbishop Desmond Tutu commented on this insult to both Palestinians and South African liberation legacy by saying that “to perform Porgy and Bess, with its universal message of non-discrimination, in the present state of Israel, is unconscionable.” And so, as the opera did not heed the calls to join the boycott, Israeli activists decided to remind the singers as well as the audience just what Porgy and Bess is all about. Timed to occur half an hour before the Opera’s Premier, a flash-mob of thirty singers and dancers, backed by a bass, a clarinet and harmonica, started singing new and updated versions of Summertime and It Ain’t Necessarily So – two of Gershwin’s most well known pieces from the opera.

After singing in both English and Hebrew, activists began to scatter, but were surprised that in spite of the harsh words of the songs – they were received with a round of applause, and several opera lovers even chased them and asked for a repeat of the show. After the second show activists left the scene, intending to come back every now and then for so long as the Cape Town Opera is still here.

Posted AT

DESMOND TUTU GIVES A BOOST TO THE BOYCOTT

“Just as we said during apartheid that it was inappropriate for international artists to perform in South Africa in a society founded on discriminatory laws and racial exclusivity, so it would be wrong for Cape Town Opera to perform in Israel,” Archbishop Tutu said in his statement.

Tutu Urges South African Opera Company Not to Perform in Israel

By DAVE ITZKOFF
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Bernd Weissbrod/European Pressphoto Agency Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Desmond Tutu, the former Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, has urged an opera company there not to perform in Israel, invoking South Africa’s long struggle against apartheid in criticizing Israel’s policy toward Palestinians, The Associated Press reported. The Cape Town Opera is scheduled to perform “Porgy and Bess” at the Tel Aviv Opera House beginning on Nov. 12. But Archbishop Tutu, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize who retired from his official duties earlier this month, said in a statement that the tour should be postponed “until both Israeli and Palestinian opera lovers of the region have equal opportunity and unfettered access to attend performances.”

“Just as we said during apartheid that it was inappropriate for international artists to perform in South Africa in a society founded on discriminatory laws and racial exclusivity, so it would be wrong for Cape Town Opera to perform in Israel,” Archbishop Tutu said in his statement. He added that it would be “unconscionable” for the opera company to perform “Porgy and Bess,” which he said has a “universal message of nondiscrimination.”

Hanna Munitz, general director of the Israeli Opera, said in a statement that the intent of the collaboration between the companies “is culture and art, and definitely not politics,” adding: “Both houses relate to culture as a bridge, the aim of which is to be above any political dispute. Furthermore, the fact of the matter is that very big performance companies arrive in Israel from abroad all the time.”

Source

SOUTH AFRICA LEADING THE WAY TO END APARTHEID IN ISRAEL

An international boycott helped end apartheid – now South Africans are leading world opposition to racism in Israel


South Africa Champions the Academic Boycott of Israel

We can easily be enticed to read reconciliation and fairness as meaning parity between justice and injustice. Having achieved our own freedom, we can fall into the trap of washing our hands of difficulties that others face. Yet we would be less than human if we did so. It behooves all South Africans, themselves erstwhile beneficiaries of generous international support, to stand up and be counted among those contributing actively to the cause of freedom and justice.Nelson Mandela, December 4,1997

Occupied Ramallah, 30 September 2010 — PACBI welcomes the decision [1] yesterday by the Senate of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) “not to continue a long-standing relationship with Ben Gurion University (BGU) in Israel in its present form” and to set conditions “for the relationship to continue.” The fact that the UJ Senate set an ultimatum [2] of six months for BGU to end its complicity with the occupation army and to end policies of racial discrimination against Palestinians is a truly significant departure from the business-as-usual attitude that had governed agreements between the two institutions until recently.

If the Senate decision was a commendable first step in the right direction towards ending relations with Israeli institutions implicated in apartheid policies and support for the occupation, the real victory lies in the intensive mobilization and awareness raising processes by key activists and academics in South Africa that indicated beyond doubt the groundswell of support for Palestinian rights in the country and that played a key role in influencing the UJ Senate vote. A petition urging UJ to sever links with BGU remarkably gathered more than 250 signatures of academics from all academic institutions in South Africa, including some of the most prominent figures. The mainstream media attention, in South Africa and the West, to the facts about BGU’s complicity and the heavy moral burden placed on the shoulders of South African institutions, in particular, to end all forms of cooperation with any Israeli institution practicing apartheid has been unprecedented, with views favorable to justice and upholding international law gaining wide coverage.

The UJ Senate has requested BGU to “respect UJ’s duty to take seriously allegations of behaviour on the part of BGU’s stakeholders that is incompatible with UJ’s values” and to provide more information about “BGU’s formal policies and informal practices.” Explaining this aspect of the ultimatum, Adam Habib, UJ’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, told Aljazeera [3]:

[W]e know that the BGU has collaborative projects with the Israeli army and we also know that the university implements state policy which invariably results in the discrimination of the Palestinian people. Crucially, there can be no activities between UJ and an Israeli educational institution that discriminated against the Palestinian people.

Salim Vally, a senior researcher at the UJ Faculty of Education and spokesperson for the Palestinian Solidarity Committee (PSC), welcomed the decision saying: “While the PSC supports an unequivocal and unambiguous boycott of all Israeli state institutions, this is a move in the right direction and we are confident that it would lead to a more comprehensive boycott of Israel in the future.” [4]

Regardless of all concerns about the details of the decision, a predicted outcome of a delicate balance of forces in a university that is still dealing with its own apartheid past, it cannot but be viewed as a triumph for the logic of academic boycott against Israel’s complicit academy, as consistently presented by PACBI and its partners worldwide, including in South Africa. It is, indeed, as a significant step in the direction of holding Israeli institutions accountable for their collusion in maintaining the state’s occupation, colonization and apartheid regime against the Palestinian people. As former South African cabinet minister and ANC leader Ronnie Kasrils wrote in the Guadian, “Israeli universities are not being targeted for boycott because of their ethnic or religious identity, but because of their complicity in the Israeli system of apartheid.” [5]

PACBI warmly salutes all those who worked on and who endorsed the campaign to cut links with BGU. The precedent-setting petition, endorsed by the heads of four South African universities and prominent leaders such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Breyten Breytenbach, John Dugard, Antjie Krog, Barney Pityana, and Kader Asmal, does not mince words in calling for severing links with BGU and, it implies, with all Israeli institutions complicit in violations of international law [6]:

While Palestinians are not able to access universities and schools, Israeli universities produce the research, technology, arguments and leaders for maintaining the occupation.

Archbishop Tutu defended the call to sever links with complicit Israeli institutions saying [7], “It can never be business as usual. Israeli Universities are an intimate part of the Israeli regime, by active choice.” Reiterating his unwavering support for the Palestinian-led global campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, he eloquently adds:

Together with the peace-loving peoples of this Earth, I condemn any form of violence – but surely we must recognise that people caged in, starved and stripped of their essential material and political rights must resist their Pharaoh? Surely resistance also makes us human? Palestinians have chosen, like we did, the nonviolent tools of boycott, divestment and sanctions.

While challenging BGU’s complicity, the UJ Senate decision does not fully heed the call by Archbishop Tutu or the 250 South African academics. It makes problematic assumptions and reaches, in part, conceptually and morally flawed conclusions.

First, by conditioning the continuation of links with BGU, among other conditions, on including a Palestinian university in a three-way collaboration, the UJ Senate decision indirectly assumes “parity between justice and injustice,” which Mandela cautioned against, and balance between an institution that is in active partnership with the system of apartheid and occupation and another university that is suffering from this same system. This position is morally untenable, especially when espoused by an academic institution that is transforming itself from an apartheid university to one committed to equality and social justice.

Furthermore, this attempt to cover up an essentially immoral relationship with BGU — that was forged during apartheid at the height of Israel’s partnership with the racist regime in South Africa — by suggesting a Palestinian fig leaf is in direct violation of the long standing position by the Palestinian Council for Higher Education which has consistently called on all Palestinian academic institutions not to cooperate in any form with Israeli universities until the end of the occupation. [8] It is also in conflict with the Palestinian Call for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel [9] and the Guidelines for the International Boycott of Israel,[10] both widely supported by Palestinian civil society, particularly by the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE), representing the academic and support staff in all Palestinian universities and colleges. Does enticing the victim of a criminal to “partner” with that criminal make the latter less so?

Second, the statement that “UJ will not engage in any activities with BGU that have direct or indirect military implications” is quite troubling in its logic, if taken literally, not as interpreted by Prof. Habib above. It basically says that it is acceptable to do business with a criminal entity so long as the particular business done with it is above suspicion. Had this logic been applied to a South African apartheid institution at the height of the international academic boycott, it would have meant continuing business as usual with that racist institution so long as the specific project conducted with it was not directly or indirectly implicated in apartheid policies. The fact that the institution as a whole is guilty of complicity in apartheid would have been deemed irrelevant.

BGU as an institution is guilty of complicity in the Israeli occupation and apartheid policies; nothing can make any “environmental” or “purely scientific” project it conducts with UJ morally acceptable until it comprehensively and verifiably ends this complicity. The culpability of the entire institution in violations of international law and human rights cannot be washed away by narrowing the focus or diverting attention only to details of the project with UJ.

As Archbishop Tutu said:

In the past few years, we have been watching with delight UJ’s transformation from the Rand Afrikaans University, with all its scientific achievements but also ugly ideological commitments. We look forward to an ongoing principled transformation.

A post-apartheid South African university that is in the process of transforming itself to a truly democratic institution cannot possibly complete this necessary transformation while maintaining a partnership with an apartheid institution elsewhere. We sincerely hope that UJ will continue on the path it has taken, by completely severing its links with BGU and any other Israeli institutions complicit in violating international law and human rights.


Source
Also see THIS brilliant piece by Ronnie Kasrils

BOYCOTT OF ISRAELI APARTHEID GETS A BOOST FROM SOUTH AFRICAN ACADEMICS

Images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Written in part by Omar Barghouti

A true breakthrough in the academic boycott of Israel!!

A South African, long brewing, campaign at the prestigious University of Johannesburg to cut off academic links with Ben Gurion University due to its complicity and racist practices has won the endorsement of John Dugard, Desmond Tutu, Breyten Breytenbach, Allan Boesak, Mahmoud Mamdani and almost 200 other academics from 22 academic institutions in SA.


Here’s the Mail & Guardian report on it today:
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Here is the petition  to sever links with Ben Gurion University


SOUTH AFRICAN ACADEMICS CALL FOR UJ TO
TERMINATE RELATIONSHIP WITH ISRAELI INSTITUTION
This petition was first disseminated on the 05th of September, within two days it was signed by over 100 South African academics from more than 12 SA universities. To date it has more than 200 signatories from 22 academic institutions.
Supported by: Professors Kader Asmal, Allan Boesak, Breyten Breytenbach, John Dugard, Antjie Krog, Mahmood Mamdani, Barney Pityana and Archbishop Desmond Tutu
As members of the academic community of South Africa, a country with a history of brute racism on the one hand and both academic acquiescence and resistance to it on the other, we write to you with deep concern regarding the relationship between the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU). The relationship agreement, presented as ‘merely the continuation’ of a ‘purely scientific co-operation’ is currently being reviewed owing to concerns raised by UJ students, academics and staff.
As academics we acknowledge that all of our scholarly work takes place within larger social contexts – particularly in institutions committed to social transformation. South African institutions are under an obligation to revisit relationships forged during the apartheid era with other institutions that turned a blind eye to racial oppression in the name of ‘purely scholarly’ or ‘scientific work’.
The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories has had disastrous effects on access to education for Palestinians. While Palestinians are not able to access universities and schools, Israeli universities produce the research, technology, arguments and leaders for maintaining the occupation. BGU is no exception, by maintaining links to both the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and the arms industry BGU structurally supports and facilitates the Israeli occupation. An example of BGU’s complicity is its agreement with the IDF to provide full university qualification to army pilots within a special BGU programme. Furthermore, BGU is also complicit in the general discrimination at Israeli universities against Palestinians and Palestinian citizens of Israel.
It is clear to us that any connection with an institution so heavily vested in the Israeli occupation would amount to collaboration with an occupation that denigrates the values and principles that form the basis of any vibrant democracy. These are not only the values that underpin our post-apartheid South Africa, but are also values that we believe UJ has come to respect and uphold in the democratic era.
We thus support the decision taken by UJ to reconsider the agreement between itself and BGU. Furthermore, we call for the relationship to be suspended until such a time that, at minimum, the state of Israel adheres to international law and BGU, (as did some South African universities during the struggle against South African apartheid) openly declares itself against the occupation and withdraws all privileges for the soldiers who enforce it.
To view the signatories , click HERE

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