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South Africa and Israel

Posted by Fredsvenn den mai 30, 2008

Jane Hunter writes in her text Israel and South Africa – Israeli Foreign Policy from 1987 that lsrael’s ties with South Africa, in the time before the end of the apartheid system, seem to be especially disturbing to many who follow Israel’s international activities. Perhaps it is natural that Israel has been castigated more harshly for its arms sales to South Africa than for its sales to other countries: first, because there has been for a decade an arms embargo against South Africa; and second, because of the unsurpassed criminality of the white regime and the uses to which it puts the Israeli-supplied weapons.

It has also been said that those arms sales are understandable, given the striking similarities between the two countries in their day-to-day abuse and repression of their subject populations, South African blacks and Palestinians under Israeli rule; in their operating philosophies of apartheid and Zionism; and in their similar objective situations: «the only two Western nations to have established themselves in a predominantly nonwhite part of the world,» as a South African Broadcasting Corporation editorial put it. That understanding, however, is somewhat superficial, and the focus on similarities of political behavior has somewhat obscured the view of the breadth and depth of the totality of Israeli-South African relations and their implications.

Israel’s relations with South Africa are different than its interactions with any of its other arms clients. That Israel gave South Africa its nuclear weapons capability underscores the special nature of Tel Aviv’s relations with the white minority government and begins to describe it – a full-fledged, if covert, partnership based on the determination of both countries to continue as unrepentant pariahs and to help each other avoid the consequences of their behavior.

According to Federation of American Scientists (FAS) South African projects to develop nuclear weapons during the 1970s and 1980s «were undertaken with some cooperation from Israel.» Chris McGreal has claimed that «Israel provided expertise and technology that was central to South Africa’s development of its nuclear bombs». However, United Nations Security Council Resolution 418 of November 4, 1977 introduced a mandatory arms embargo against South Africa, also requiring all States to refrain from «any co-operation with South Africa in the manufacture and development of nuclear weapons».

This year Israel marked the 60th anniversary of its declaration of independence in May 1948, which for the Palestinians immediately became a continuing disaster. In the text South African Statement on 60th anniversary of Apartheid Israel by ANC, May 24 2008, they write ”Apartheid was a gross violation of human rights. It was so in South Africa and it is so with regard to Israel ‘s persecution of the Palestinians!» and

«We fought apartheid; we see no reason to celebrate it in Israel now! Apartheid was a gross violation of human rights. It was so in South Africa and it is so with regard to Israel ‘s persecution of the Palestinians!

We, South Africans who faced the might of unjust and brutal apartheid machinery in South Africa and fought against it with all our strength, with the objective to live in a just, democratic society, refuse today to celebrate the existence of an Apartheid state in the Middle East .

While Israel and its apologists around the world will, with pomp and ceremony, loudly proclaim the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel this month, we who have lived with and struggled against oppression and colonialism will, instead, remember 6 decades of catastrophe for the Palestinian people. 60 years ago, 750,000 Palestinians were brutally expelled from their homeland, suffering persecution, massacres, and torture. They and their descendants remain refugees. This is no reason to celebrate.” …

However, George Bush visited Jerusalem to celebrate Israel’s 60th anniversary and talk up what has to be the most bizarre proposal yet for achieving peace: a «shelf agreement». This, Bush explained before he set out, ”would be a «description» of a Palestinian state to be hammered out between the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert before the end of the year. The idea would then be to put this virtual state on the shelf until the time might be right for it to be turned into a reality. In perfect step, Tony Blair announced that he has succeeded in negotiating the removal of three checkpoints and one roadblock on behalf of the Quartet of big powers and the UN – out of a total of 560 throughout the West Bank – but Israel will only actually remove them «in the future».” In other words, it’s business as usual, as the crisis of occupation deepens.

Britain’s prime minister Gordon Brown made a surprise visit to the Israel’s Independence Day reception at the Israeli embassy in London. Brown was the first British prime minister to attend the reception since Tony Blair in 1998, when Israel celebrated its 50th anniversary. Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor told JTA he didn’t know until the last minute whether Brown would attend the 60th birthday event. According to Brown Britain will continue to be “a true and constant friend of Israel in good times and in bad” and that:

We will never reduce our efforts to secure for Israel a future free from terror, a future where – alongside a viable Palestinian state – children and the children of all your neighbours can believe in a brighter future.”

With his father, a church minister, being a frequent visitor to Israel, he said he learned of the fight for a Jewish homeland, the Balfour declaration and the promises made, some of which have been honoured and some which have been broken. “I learned of the ancient dream of the Jewish nation becoming reality in the modern state of Israel,” Mr Brown went on.

Nadine Gordimer

Also the former anti-apartheid activist and Nobel-prize winning author Nadine Gordimer is accused of lending her support to the oppression of Palestinians by joining in “Israel at 60” events. Gaza lecturer Dr Haider Eid, has written Gordimer an open letter:

”Dear Ms. Gordimer,

I am a Palestinian lecturer in Cultural Studies living in Gaza. I happen to also have South African citizenship as a result of my marriage to a citizen of that beloved country. I spent more than five years in Johannesburg, the city in which I earned my Ph.D and lectured at both traditionally black and white universities. At Vista in Soweto, I taught your anti-apartheid novels My Son’s Story, July’s People and The Late Bourgeois World. I have been teaching the same novels, in addition to The Pick Up and Selected Stories, to my Palestinian students in Gaza at Al-Aqsa University. This course is called «Resistance, Anti-Racism and Xenophobia». I deliberately chose to teach your novels because, as an anti-apartheid writer, you defied racial stereotypes by calling for resistance against all forms of oppression, be they racial or religious. Your support of sanctions against apartheid South Africa has, to say the least, impressed my Gazan students.

The news of your conscious decision to take part in the «Israel at 60» celebrations has reached us, students and citizens of Gaza, as both a painful surprise, and a glaring example of a hypocritical intellectual double standard. My students, psychologically and emotionally traumatized and already showing early signs of malnutrition as a result of the genocidal policy of the country whose birth you intend celebrating, demand an explanation.


South African writer Nadine Gordimer defended her decision to attend a writers conference in Israel saying that her «comrades» should have no doubts about her «solidarity with the struggle – our struggle – against apartheid.» She said she decided to attend after arranging to meet with Palestinians as well as Israelis and that her invitation came not from the Israeli government but from Mishkenot Sha’ananim, the international cultural center in West Jerusalem that organized and hosted the event.

The Alternative_Information_Center (AIC), a joint Palestinian-Israeli NGO, which according to its Mission Statement «engages in dissemination of information, political advocacy, grassroots activism and critical analysis of the Palestinian and Israeli societies as well as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict«, established in February 1984 by Israeli activists from the Revolutionary Communist League (previously Matzpen-Jerusalem) and Palestinian leftwing activists from the West Bank, and who is particularly disturbed by the participation of Nobel Prize winning author Nadine Gordimer, called on those who are working for social justice, along with Palestine solidarity groups from around the world to contact the participating authors, particularly those from their home countries, and encourage them to boycott this event in solidarity and support of a just peace for Palestinians and Israelis.

According to Boycott the International Writers’ Festival in Jerusalem:

”It is not possible that Israel continues to deny the human and national rights of the Palestinian people, to impose a deadly siege on the Gaza Strip and publicly flaunt its international political commitments by building additional settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, while its authors and cultural figures are honored with visits by distinguished international authors. Israeli society must be told loudly and clearly that it cannot act with complete impunity toward the Palestinian people and still enjoy privileges and honors of a law-abiding state. Most Israeli authors and other cultural figures have deep concern for the opinions of and working relationships with international authors, such that this boycott can make a substantial impact within Israeli society.”

The British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BCUP) urged Gordimer to reconsider her trip, saying it was «dispiriting» that a writer of her standing was prepared to appear in a city that was under military occupation and «founded on ethnic cleansing». According to the BCUP:

«By taking part in an event substantially funded by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, you (Gordimer) will be lending credibility to a state that has for decades subjected Palestinian towns and villages to collective punishment and that boasts of its extrajudicial killings.»

However, Gordimer said she was not going to Israel under the «auspices» of the Israeli government, but was honouring an invitation by the Konrad Adenauer Institute.

According to Israel Business Today, September 1, 1999, the Konrad Adenauer Institute Konrad Adenauer Institute of Germany or Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) together with its local representative in Israel Dr. Johannes Gerster organized a visit to Israel by the former German Chancellor Dr. Helmut Kohl, who visited Israel from October 31 to November 3, 1999. He met the Israeli government and economic leaders during his trip and was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Weizmann Institute of Rehovot, something that would improve the relations between the Germany and Israel.

Konrad Hermann Josef Adenauer was a German statesman. Although his political career spanned sixty years, beginning as early as 1906, he is most noted for his role as the first Chancellor of West Germany from 1949–1963 and chairman of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) from 1950 to 1966. He was the oldest chancellor ever to serve Germany, leaving at the age of eighty seven.

KAS, the largest of the politically affiliated research foundations in Germany, with an annual budget of around €100 million, most of which it receives from government, is a German research foundation associated with that country’s CDU. Nationally and internationally, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation for Civic Education and the promotion of European integration, support art and culture, encourages talented students and doctoral students with scholarships and documented and researched the historical development of Christian-democratic movement. Like all political foundations tries, as a think tank for their party opinion on society, therefore. Abroad, the KAS has 67 offices and supports 200 projects in addition to the «help for self-help» in 120 countries with close political parties and organizations.

In the beginning of the 1950s the Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and the CDU Federal Executive debate the creation of a training and education centre to promote young politicians. December 20, 1955, the Society for Christian Democratic Education Work was established in Bonn as the precursor of the KAS. It was renamed after the former Chancellor Konrad Adenauer in 1964 and the Konrad Adenauer Institute was set up in 1966. It funds policy research, in the mould of a think tank, but the larger part of its sponsorship is research in the social sciences not directly connected to framing policy. It has close links to the right-wing of Germany’s Christian Democratic Party (CDU).


Én kommentar to “South Africa and Israel”

  1. Could you comment, whether my details are correct in a dissident essay in
    http://www.helsinki.fi/~pjojala/Expelled-Jews-statistics.htm ?

    E.g. «Tel Aviv (literally: Dumb-Hill of Spring) was plain desert at the beginning of the 20th century. Today, in the advent of its 100th year celebrations in 2009, it is the Silicon Wadi (Valley) of not only Mediterranean but of the whole globe since 1990’s. The world has never seen such a rocket area of original Hi Tech innovations, I would say.

    It is United States that profits from Israel, rather than the opposite. Israel gets nearly 2 billion euros from USA almost every year, that is true. But US demands Israel not to stop brain drain from Eretz israel to the US. Astonishing number of 25% of the Israeli researchers have moved from Israel to the United States – and this figure does not yet even include the people with double citizenship! The next largest brain drain of researchers to US are 12.2% from Canada, 4.3% from Netherlands, and 4.2% from Italy. Before the Second Intifada, there were 200 Israeli companies listed in the US High Tech Nasdaq, after the Intifada the count had dropped to 70. (At the moment the number is back in 100, however, which is still greater than from all the European countries combined). Dollars are green since the yankees pull them down from the tree raw and fresh (e.g. Mirabilis by AOL with $407 million, Indigo by HP with 719$, M-systems by ScanDisk Corp (SNDK) with $1.5 billion were big investments, though). Israel has not been allowed to let any of its companies to be scaled up in their homeland but most are imported straight from the garage. The scaling up of industrial production would mean jobs to both Jews, Arabs and other ethnic groups. Israel is ordered to stay as some kind of innovation laboratory only, as the 51. state.

    One of the secrets of innovative success in Israel is the fact that cheating is minimized in the public funding: Money is not delivered according to research plans but steady income and thus the market analysis is emphasized. The support is designed so that the first 2-10 years a startup company does not have to pay taxes. But very little, if any, direct funding without compensation is offered. Today, Israel draws Venture Capital (VC) more than the Europe. A novel phenomenon is the strategy by which Israel has been able to claim victory over China and other Far-East countries regarding the modern High Tech factories: As an example, the supranational Intel transferred the mass production of Centricon-processors to Israel, where ~25% of citizens possess a higher decree from the university but where people respect patents and are not plagiating every item they produce to others. Intel was also offered an overall tax rate of 10% which is about three times lower than that of US. Also, the biggest generic drug factory in the world was recently established in Israel. Generating US$7 billion in annual revenues, Israel’s Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA) is the world’s largest generic pharmaceutical company. TEVA makes generic versions of brand-name antibiotics, heart drugs, heartburn medications, and more – in all close to 200 global generic products, 700 compounds, and more than 2800 dosage forms and formulations. TEVA’s pharmaceuticals are used in some 20% of U.S. generic drug prescriptions. Examples of TEVA’s generics include lower-cost equivalents of such blockbusters as anti-depressant Prozac and cholesterol drug Mevacor. Nevertheless, in biotechnology and original drug development, about 400 experimental drugs have been approved or accepted in clinical phases. The greatest portion of funding of research per capita is found in Israel. Israel also has the greatest ratio of researchers per square meter or population in the face of the world, far exceeding I.e. Japan. A modern Western plague is the way nobody talks to each other. But the Israeli start-ups, in an ideal gas, are the opposite. They are urged to communicate together within the startups, leading to joint discoveries and inventions and shared IPR.

    Over half of the export from Israel are High tech products (32 $ billion in 2007), compared to the 25% which is the average in the OECD countries. Israel’s GDP is about $200 billion, nearly six times its original, relative per-capita level. Skyscrapers crowd Tel Aviv, multilane thruways, tunnels, fast trains and spaghetti junctions crisscross the country, and some 80 shopping malls, the first of which only opened in 1986. She harbors more museums per capita than any other country. She exhibits second highest output of new book per citizen. More patents per person than any other nation. More than 85% of solid waste in the country is treated in an environmentally sound manner. The shekel is one of the strongest currencies in the world, inflation is 2.5%, year 2007 growth of 5% was the developed world’s highest for the fifth consecutive year, while unemployment slid to a 15-year low of 6.5%. In short, even the emmigrant PhD’s have to be humble enough to make their living by cleaning toilets before they get the hold of making living. Although the export of the agriculture has remained constant past the last 30 years, its relative amount has dropped from 70% to 3%. Out of the 3000 companies in Israel 80% are less than ten years old, and the average failure rate of these start ups is very low, less than 50%. More Israeli patents are registered in the US than from Russia, India, and China combined, despite the enormous population disadvantage (about 7 million in Israel vs. 2.5 billion combined in the other 3). Nobels, by definition, are awarded to the people who have served the world. Although Sabin and Salk never got it with their free Polio vaccines, 21% of the Nobels have gone to this population of less that 17 million, taking both Eretz Israel and galut (diaspora) into account: http://www.helsinki.fi/~pjojala/Indicator.html

    How has the world reacted to such an impact? Despite of it, one-fourth of the judgements of the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations strike Israel, compared to zero judgments to all the Islamic countries combined. Out of the incidences dealt in the Security Counsil one-third is having to do with Israel. I think this resembles the hysteria seen in the Black Plague in Europe, when the European Jews were accused of the pandemia and burnt alive.

    As a matter of fact, the population of Arabs (my beloved friends and brothers) under the Israeli government was increased ten-fold (10X) in only 57 years. This is close to the world record for any nation at the same time interval. The Sephardi Jews were expelled from Spain in the very date when Christoffer Colombo lifted up his anchors and sailed away from Spain. The Jews had to leave and their possessions were stolen. In the case of the Mizrahi, the Jews have lived for millennia all around the Middle East since the first exile of Israel 500 B.C., in what are now Muslim-dominated countries. While much has been made of the 700,000 Palestinians having been made homeless with the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, it’s peculiar that there is no official recognition of their Jewish counterparts. A greater number of Jews – some 856,000 – were forcefully expelled from Arab countries after the creation of the State of Israel, their homes forfeited, their belongings seized. They became refugees, migrating to Israel, mainly. But they did not spoke any Hebrew but Arabic and Farsi (Persian).

    Israel has been forced to damage the very infrastructure she has constructed and administrated while hunting the weapons from the milittant police forces after the release of prisoners and arsenal according to the Oslo accords. Between 1967-1993 roads, system of siewers (gutters, ditches), electricity supply, water supply, schools, health care system, and social welfare system to the West Bank and Gaza. In contrast, even the official law in Jordan which has the peace treaty with Israel, it is forbidden for a Jew to live in the country. The health care services have been free for the Arab population, only a portion of the price of the drugs must have been paid by the patients. Under the administrations of Great Britain (1920-1947) or Jordan (1948-1967), no universities were established for the Arabs in the country. According to The Association of Arab Universitiesin (http://www.aaru.edu.jo/), in contrast, under the Israeli administration altogether six universities appeared during the time (of course by the force of the local Arab people, though). Also, since 1969 an independent newspaper has appeared in Jerusalem, which has never been put under a censorship.

    Despite the anti-Israel media war in Europe, the long-time funding office of the PLO, Palestinian life expectancy increased from 48 to 72 years in 1967-1995. The death rate decreased by over 2/3 in 1970-1990 and the Israeli medical campaigns decreased the child deat rate from a level of 60 per 1000 in 1968 to 15 per 1000 in 2000 for the «occupied» Palestinians at the Westbank. (An analogous figure was 64 in Iraq, 40 in Egypt, 23 in Jordan, and 22 in Syria in 2000). During 1967-1988 the amount of comprehensive schoold and second level polytechnic institutes for the Arabs was increased by 35%. During 1970-1986 the proportion of Palestinian women at the West Bank and Gaza not having gone to school decreased from 67 % to 32 %. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in West Bank and Gaza increased in 1968-1991 from 165 US dollars to 1715 dollars (compare with 1630$ in Turkey, 1440$ in Tunis, 1050$ in Jordan, 800$ in Syria, 600$ in Egypt. and 400$ in Yemen). Israel has been forced to damage the very infrastructure she has constructed and administrated while hunting the weapons from the milittant «freedom fighters». Between 1967-1993 roads, system of siewers (gutters, ditches), electricity supply, water supply, schools, health care system, and social welfare system to the West Bank and Gaza.

    The Second Intifada could be called The Oslo War.

    Aviv is Hebrew for «spring», symbolizing renewal, and tel is an archaeological site that reveals layers of civilization built one over the other. The Jewish population has been such a layer of native culture not only in the Palestine, yet the expulsion of the native Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews from Pakistan to Morocco since 1948 is totally ignored in the European media: http://www.helsinki.fi/~pjojala/Expelled-Jews-statistics.htm.

    Don’t You think for a blitch second that the industrial countries have desired peace in the Middle East. A collaboration between the Jews with their technology and science and Arabs with their oil, loyality and commitment has been the greatest nightmare of the Europe at least. The intimate friendship between the cousin nations, as officially declared by Chaim Weizmann and Emir Feisal in Versailles peace conference was deliberately mutilated. Expulsion of the native and national Jews from Muslim countries since 1948 has been al Nakba to nations from Pakistan to Morocco.»

    Pauli Ojala, evolutionary critic
    Biochemist, drop-out (MSci-Master of Sciing)

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