Could have been a model of reconciliation but instead the Rainbow Nation embraces terrorists that murder Jews
By Gary Kaplan
I know my paraphrased slogan is less catchy than the heinous one chanted across the globe, including in the city of my birth, Cape Town, South Africa. However, I believe my variation is more reflective of the truth.
South Africa has been robbed. Not at gunpoint for this is about a different type of crime, a different robbery, one that is still in progress and if not stopped, will leave South Africa with its open-ended financial crisis and debt, as well as a moral debt that will never be forgotten nor forgiven.
The ANC has not only allowed the anti-Israel movement to accuse Israel of Apartheid but has taken it upon itself to spread the new blood libel of our time and be its megaphone. The Apartheid analogy has served less as a realm of analytical inquiry and more as a rhetorical tool. Since the Durban conference of 2001, this analogy has been used by activists of the BDS movement, along with their stalwart allies, which in South Africa are the ANC and the South African government. Their intent is to utilise this analogy as a framework that justifies isolating and ultimately dismantling the State of Israel, drawing parallels to how international pressure significantly contributed to the downfall of the Apartheid state. This modus operandi of exporting false narratives is an insult to black South Africans who suffered under the system of absolute racial segregation. Furthermore, it is a tragic theft of the actual black South African Apartheid narrative because the term has been misappropriated to falsely label Israel when referring to its conflict with Palestine. The truth has been robbed.
Continuing on this misguided path, South Africa’s ANC’s leadership persistently espouses ignorantly on Israel’s war against the terrorist-run state of Gaza. Joining with the outrageous statements by different members of his government, on November 17, President Cyril Ramaphosa told reporters during a state visit to Qatar that Gaza:
“Has now turned into a concentration camp where genocide is taking place.”
It took the South African government nine days to condemn the 7th of October massacre by Hamas, and with that, it quickly blamed Israel for the:
“genocide of the people of Gaza.”
This type of rhetoric backing Islamic terrorists is yet another slap in the face to the real freedom fighters who opposed Apartheid and exposes South Africa’s Jewish community to the danger of mob violence. We saw last month what transpired on Sea Point beach front when one of the organisers of the violence against Jews, Hannie Orrie, said:
“We share one objective: to rid this country of Zionism.” The threat of the EFF, South Africa’s third largest political party to close down the Jewish day school, Herzlia, while ominous, is a symptom of the ANC government’s close associations with those terrorists seeking Israel’s destruction.
The Rainbow Nation and the ANC had a choice; they could have made a significant impact by trying to be a role model of reconciliation and broker a peace but instead, they chose to support Hamas that murderously and mercilessly pursues the destruction of the state of Israel. Instead of governing and rebuilding South Africa, they have spent their energy on siding with terrorists and allowing antisemitism and violence to breed and spread across South Africa.
How can a nation reborn after Apartheid be so intertwined with a brutal terrorist organisation like Hamas? Where did it go so wrong?
In my mind, there is a clear link between the Government’s anti-Israel sentiment and the country’s apparent infrastructure collapse, high crime and economic malaise. I am sure there are many realpolitik reasons for the ANC to be so vocal against Israel, which include anti-western politicians in the ANC, seeking Muslim voters, BRICS, etc. However, they all start from a real ideological point. The ANC admire Hamas, they see them as themselves, and in that obscure way, they have a twisted take on history and reality. The only fundamental similarity between the ANC and the Palestinians is that both are ignoring the chance to govern their people to provide security and prosperity.
I can ensure the South African government that their people would prefer electricity 24 hours a day, clean water and an end to poverty and crime than its shallow forays into ‘foreign policy’.
After Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, it took them 40 years to reach the promised land. Why? Not because they were literally lost but because a generation of slave- mentality needed to die for a new generation to understand the concept of freedom and live freely. It seems the ANC suffer from the same mentality; they too haven’t come to terms with the idea of freedom and its obligations and responsibilities. I find it hard to believe that the rainbow nation was created to align itself with terror and the destruction of the only Jewish state in the world. It seems South Africa today is going through the same evils it once had: racism, antisemitism, bigotry and supremacy. Once again, the Jews of South Africa need to explain to their government their place in society and explain why, even though their skin colour may be white, they are not “colonialists” but Jews. Have the ANC become the people they have fought against decades ago? Their blatant antisemitism would suggest so.
This ANC government supports an organisation responsible for the worst attack on Jews since the Holocaust – an organisation whose official policy is to murder Jews and which poses an ongoing threat to the safety of the Jewish people and the State of Israel.
It seems to me that the South African government today is no better than when white Afrikaner nationalism of the 1930s sided with Nazism, aligning with evil.
Is this what my Jewish parents so strongly opposed in South Africa? Is this the new South Africa?
The South African government’s comments on “genocide” and “concentration camps” regarding the war in Gaza, place it alongside history’s greatest holocaust deniers. I am sure this is not the legacy Mandela would have wanted to be associated with!
The ANC’s more-recent posturing that the narrative of the Palestinian people’s struggle resembles their own history of racial segregation and oppression undermines the true narrative of the struggle against Apartheid. It is diluting their history and dissipating its value. What started off as a just cause of striving for freedom has bizarrely morphed to supporting destruction, rape and brutal massacre. Who after all in their right mind, takes babies and toddlers as hostages and can claim to be “freedom fighters”?
However, in the last week, South Africa’s ANC government has taken its endangerment to Jews to an all-new level by welcoming in the aftermath of the Hamas massacre, a senior Hamas delegation to South Africa to participate in the Fifth Global Convention of Solidarity with Palestine. The delegation included politburo member Bassem Naim, Hamas representative in Iran, Khaled Qaddoumi and Hamas representative in East, Central and Southern Africa Emad Saber.
According to a press release, the Fifth Global Convention of Solidarity with Palestine was jointly organised by the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine and the Royal House of Mandela and would commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Global Campaign’s launch and the death of Nelson Mandela. What would Mandela who so loved children, and as president donated half of his salary to poor children and when he received the Nobel Peace Prize, gave part of the prize money to help street children say about the users and abusers of his legacy cozying up to the likes of Hamas who in the process of perpetrating a massacre of Jews, take babies and toddlers as hostages?
Seems more of the old South Africa than the new.
About the writer:
South Africa-born, Gary Kaplan works in the international relations division at Israel’s national trade union, the Histadrut where inter alia, he manages its youth exchange programme with the German trade union Confederation addressing issues from labour relations to Holocaust remembrance.