Hating one Middle Eastern country has never garnered the ANC votes or won it any international favour.
There is something foul about SA’s foreign policy. It stands continuously with the anti-Western bloc of dictators, fascists and human rights abusers. It has a horrendous track record of voting at the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council that is diametrically opposite to post-apartheid’s values of freedom and nondiscrimination.
It votes against measures that sanction human rights abusers and praises the “diversity” of totalitarian dictatorships. It abstains on the appointment of a special rapporteur on violence against the LGBTI community and on resolutions condemning human rights abuses in Syria.
It keeps consistently but deafeningly silent about all the horrors and atrocities committed in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, as well as on the mistreatment of women, minorities and children. It sits Janus-faced on the international stage, facilitating the work of despots offshore, while proclaiming the values of human rights back home.
There is but one country at which South Africa directs all its opprobrium and judgment. It is the most undeserving country of such hostility but is so targeted because the governing party irrationally believes this will win it votes locally and power internationally.
The ANC is dangerously wrong on both accounts: hating Israel has never garnered it votes in any election, and targeting Israel internationally only isolates South Africa itself. It carries out an inverted foreign policy that bashes the ‘Jew of nations’ and applauds the scoundrels.
The ANC owes the public an explanation about why it does this.
Last week, South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, recklessly steered into dangerous territory when asked about her country’s relations with Israel. She spoke of removing the South African ambassador to Israel and of kicking out the Israeli ambassador to SA. She even declared that the ANC will dictate university policy on Israel.
She forgot about SA’s esteemed constitution and rule of law, and that the ANC sits below, not above it.
Our constitution was carefully written by wise people who recognised that freedom of religion, speech, association and academia are fundamental values that ensure the longevity of a democratic state. Any unjust attempts to undermine those values, as Sisulu and her faction seem intent on doing, will unravel the very structures of the democratic state her predecessors fought for.
On the issue of cutting ties with Israel and allowing the antisemitic BDS fringe movement to capture foreign policy, Sisulu and the ANC should proceed with extreme caution. South Africa is focused on rebuilding its standing in the international community and hoping to be taken seriously on international affairs.
While still a member of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and SA) bloc, it parts company with every other member on Israel. Every BRICS country besides South Africa is constantly improving ties and friendships with the Jewish state. South Africa stands at odds with these world powers, including many African and Arab countries that work more closely than ever with Israel.
Moreover, South Africa needs Israel’s help to solve local problems such as water scarcity, access to electricity and agricultural solutions that would take millions out of poverty and turn our deserts into fields of plenty. Millions of South Africans would not take kindly to their future being stolen by petty short-term interests. Nor will they appreciate the negative effect this will have on local job creation and our already struggling economy.
Cutting out Israel only cuts out SA’s future.
If South Africa attempts to throw out the Israeli ambassador, it will send a signal that it wishes to disconnect the proudly South African Jewish community from their spiritual, religious and historical homeland. The government should take heed that Jews will never allow their bond with the Jewish state to be broken. Nor will committed Christians, who make up the majority of South Africa’s religious communities.
Antisemites may be pleased that their irrational hatred of Jews has resulted in a downgrade in relations with Israel, but the majority of South Africans will not be pleased with the uncertainty and instability it will bring.
It is time for principled business people, government officials, political parties and civil society to stand up to the ANC’s desperate and hypocritical obsession with the Jewish state. Our future depends upon it.
Rowan Polovin is chair of the SA Zionist Federation’s Cape Council.
Brunei recently announced death by stoning for adultery and gay sex.
“Death by stoning” in this day and age?
Well not that surprising given that this is the sentence dished out by the Mullah’s of Iran to women accused – only accused, mind -and not given a fair trial even in the event of being raped by her attacker.
But it is Israel that is hauled before the court of liberal public opinion for its abuse of human rights!
It is Israel that the likes of BDS, Jews for a Just Palestine, and other so called humanitarians who find every conceivable opportunity to demonize her, be it for marking the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration or the U.S’s moving her embassy to Jerusalem and any other issue that becomes the topic of the moment that could in any way be associated with Israel!
I grew up in apartheid South Africa and well remember the degradation and humiliation of having to take the lady who worked for us and helped raise our children to the “pass office” in downtown Johannesburg to obtain that most valuable of commodities, a simple rubber stamp that would allow her to remain in Johannesburg for another year.
Something that had to be repeated annually.
There are no words to explain that humiliation and degradation – that was Apartheid. Yet Israel is labeled an apartheid state, a country where every citizen is afforded the very same right to education, healthcare, political emancipation, labor relations – in fact every aspect of life that is enjoyed by its entire population regardless of being Jewish, Christian, Muslim, or whatever faith they choose to follow.
The U.S. recently recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, the territory captured by Israel in the 1967 aggressive war against Israel, but we hear calls to return this territory back to Syria, a country embroiled in a civil war that has claimed over half a million lives. One must wonder what the fate of the 20,000 Druze living in that territory would be or to be more realistic how many would survive under the Syrian regime? The irony is that those hell bent on the destruction of Israel care less for the carnage going on in the Arab world but hide behind the hackneyed term of “human rights” to justify their mission of destroying the Jewish state, which we all know reads the destruction of the Jews.
On March 31st, the President of Brazil paid an official state visit to Israel, cementing a relationship initiated a short while back by the visit to Brazil by the Israeli prime minister. Brazil, a key member of the BRICS group of countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) forges close relations with Israel as do China, India and even Russia – but who is the “odd man” out from this group, no prizes for guessing.
Not only the odd man – but openly hostile to any contact with Israel – are we missing something here?
About the author
Allan Wolman is a recent immigrant to Israel from South Africa. Matriculating from Parktown Boys high School in Johannesburg, in 1967, he joined1200 young South Africans to volunteer to work on agricultural settlements in Israel during the Six Day War. After spending year in Israel, he returned to South Africa where he met and married Jocelyn Lipschitz. The couple have three sons.
Allan ran one of the oldest travel agencies in Johannesburg – Rosebank Travel which he still runs together with his son in Johannesburg.
In March 2019, Alan and his wife immigrated to Israel and live in Tel Baruch between Tel Aviv and Herzliya.
Igniting fires and tension, an inspiring South African couple in Israel responds to terror by sponsoring clubhouses at military bases
By David E. Kaplan
At midnight on the 25th March 2019, I recall the last sound I heard before dropping off to sleep was a clap of thunder.
Five hours later, I awoke to another BOOM! This time it was not thunder but the deafening sound of a missile having landed nearby destroying a house near Kfar Saba in the centre of Israel, injuring seven.
It was a reminder that the murderous intent of those who govern Gaza extends far and wide.
It further reminded the writer of a visit to a number of army basses close to the Gaza border a few months earlier organised by ‘English-Speaking Branch of theAssociation for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers’.
There were fifty in our group who were invited to the official opening of two new army-base clubhouses, sponsored by Dave and Rae Kopping, a couple originally from South Africa. It also provided an opportunity to learn firsthand how the Israeli civilian population in the small towns and kibbutzim near Gaza were coping under the constant threat from attack from belowthe ground from tunnels and above the ground from rockets, mortars and inflamed kites and balloons.
As I write recalling that visit, I cannot fail to reflect that the loud BOOM that awakened my family last week and had us scurrying off to the bomb shelter was nearly a daily occurrence to the brave and resilient Israelis living in the south.
While Israel battles politically to get its ‘house’ in order regarding Gaza, Dave and Rae Kopping ‘enlisted’ in their own way to provide club ‘houses’ for soldiers at IDF bases near the border.
They began four years earlier following Operation Protective Edge in 2014 when the IDF had to protect Israeli civilians facing a daily barrage of missiles from Gaza for 50 days. The Koppings showed their heartfelt gratitude by donating a clubhouse at the Palmachim Airforce Base for the Drone and Helicopter Pilots. “They operate under enormous pressure, protecting us from this constant threat,” said Ray at the official opening. “They deserve a special place to unwind and relax.”
Four years later, what had changed was not the political but geographic landscape with expansive swathes of black cutting across the North Western Negev countryside caused by incendiary balloons and kites sent from Gaza and landing on fertile fields. This was all too apparent from the bus window as we saw once green fields now black from the fires caused by the balloons and kites.
As my companion on the bus remarked “how sad that kid’s kites and balloons in Gaza are weapons of death and destruction.”
As a running commentary to the visual horror playing out on a blackened somber ‘stage’, our guide related how much livestock and natural wildlife had perished in the fires.
The Kopping clubhouses replete with comfy couches, coffee tables, kitchenettes, TVs and sound systems, honour – like the earlier one at Palmachim – the memory of the Kopping’s daughter Greer-Rose Sandler who sadly passed away fourteen years earlier from an illness, and Rae’s brother Isaac Melcer, who was killed in the Sinai during the Yom Kippur War in 1973. “He was a tank commander who served under General Ariel Sharon,” reveals Rae, “and had only been married a year.”
“What better way to honour their memory,” adds Dave, “than to know that Greer-Rose and Isaac’s names will be forever associated with those who protect Israeli citizens from harm.”
The day proved an eye-opening window into the life – with all its complexities – of the civilian population living ‘Under Fire’ near Gaza, and the role the brave soldiers play in providing protection. Entering the first base, ‘X’, we noted with surprise that far outnumbering the parked tanks, were giant bulldozers.
We did not have long to wonder why!
Earth-moving equipment usually associated with construction elsewhere, were used here to counter destruction “as we dig up the earth in search of terror tunnels,” explained a young soldier. A recent immigrant from the UK, he related a recent incident when they were out nearby on patrol.
“We were walking along single file in the fields, when we passed a plastic pipe protruding from the ground. There was nothing unusual about this, as the area is always scattered with farming equipment.” That was until one soldier, keeping up the rear, “looked back and noticed a slight sudden twitch of the pipe.”
“That’s odd; there’s no wind,” he thought!
“Rega (“wait”),” he bellowed.
Doubling back, the patrol discovered it was an oxygen tube for the terrorists deep below who were digging a tunnel, and “we radioed in for the bulldozers.”
Relieved by their discovery, “We also knew from our intelligence there were fourteen more tunnels to locate.” Last year, the IDF destroyed a 2km long Hamas tunnel that entered 900 meters into Israeli territory. The problem is, “The terrorists need to be on the job for us to detect any subterranean movements.”
Such is the day in the life of a soldier protecting Israel’s southern communities – a game of cat and mouse.
The name of the 2014 war, “Protective Edge” had a resonance about it as “protection” is what this conflict is about. On a personal level this was brought home when a soldier asked, “Anyone want to try on our bullet proof gear?”
Some did, and were surprised by the weight, and left wondering how soldiers patrolled for hours wearing it in the blazing heat. There was sadness as we were reminded “that one of our comrades, Staff Sgt. Aviv Levi, was killed last week, by sniper fire.” He had been wearing the very same bulletproof jacket! The answer to the predictable question of how the bullet lethally penetrated – “special bullets made in Iran” – was met by a collective sigh.
Moving on to the second base, ‘Y’, we saw from the moving bus, more fields black from fire – a patchwork of this new type of warfare of kites and balloons, which much of the world media presents as “child’s play”.
Passengers flicked away with their cameras in disbelief.
Arriving at the base, we were escorted by young male and female soldiers to the new Kopping clubhouse for the official opening. Members of the Kopping family spoke as did some soldiers, who explained how tense this new warfare was.
Said one soldier, “We know how terrified the civilian population is of terrorists coming up through tunnels who could murder them. It is our job to find these tunnels and prevent this.” A responsibility fraught with anxiety, all the soldiers appreciate after tough days on patrol, “we now have a clubhouse where we can relax and unwind.”
Another female soldier expressed how proud she was to be serving in a combat unit, and this writer could not escape the thought that their peers elsewhere in the Jewish world would be at universities…. here they were immersed in the “university” of life – protecting “our family – Israel.”
Later, seated for lunch in the army dining room, a young soldier, an immigrant from the Argentine, addressed our group:
“These are tough times for the civilian population and for the soldiers. It is a tough war, but we are trained, and we are equipped, and we are inspired – not only do we know WHAT we are doing but WHY we are doing.”
Yes, these are “tough times”, but so are these ‘kids’ – tough and proud – proud of their country, proud of their units, proud of their service, and proud of each other’s capabilities. The camaraderie was palpable. There was much food for thought to ‘digest’ beyond the lunch!
Witness To War
Our tour concluded with a visit to the Black Arrow Memorial, west of kibbutz Mefalsim near the Gaza Strip.
Operation Black Arrow (In Hebrew: “Hetz Shachor”) was an Israeli military operation carried out in Gaza on 28 February 1955 while under Egyptian control. It was in retaliation to Fedayeen terrorism unleashed by President Gamal AbdelNasser who broadcast on August 31, 1955:
“Egypt has decided to dispatch her heroes, the disciples of Pharaoh and the sons of Islam and they will cleanse the land of Palestine….There will be no peace on Israel’s border because we demand vengeance, and vengeance is Israel’s death.”
As we stood at the Black Arrow Memorial, we saw balloons flying from Gaza in the distance then descend on fertile Israel fields and suddenly there was a blazing fire. We were witnesses to war. Over six decades later, the message from Gaza remains:
“…vengeance is Israel’s death.”
For more information on the English-Speaking Branch of the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers, contact volunteer Ian Waldbaum at Tel:
Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) is once again upon us. And with it are the fabrications and deceit that we have come to associate with the proponents of IAW, not least of all the BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions). For to describe Israel as an Apartheid state is mendacity of enormous magnitude, a lie that minimizes the pain and degradation that Apartheid South Africa was.
A nefarious untruth that negates the suffering that was Apartheid, the misuse and abuse of the term Apartheid – like other emotive terms such as “ethnic cleansing” or “genocide” – stifles debate. For to label Israel an Apartheid state is not to criticize it, but rather to say that it is so evil that it is beyond criticism and any form of debate.
And so, if Israel is an Apartheid state, then the call of the BDS and other advocates of IAW for “Palestine from the river to the sea,” have merit. For them, the notion of “Palestine from the river to the sea” would result in the demise of Israel; necessary of course, because like Apartheid South Africa, no apartheid state deserves to exist.
Is Israel even vaguely aligned to an Apartheid state? Each and every Israeli citizen – Jew, Moslem and Christian, black or white – is equal before the law, has equal access to medicine and education, has the right to vote and the freedom to practice his or her religion. Every Arab living in East Jerusalem was offered full Israeli citizenship after the Six Day War and the return of East Jerusalem to Jewish hands. Those who refused were given permanent residency. Israeli Arabs are judges on the Israeli Supreme Court – an Arab judge sentenced Israeli President Katzav to prison. Supreme Court judge, Salim Joubran, an Arab, was elected as vice-President of the Supreme Court in 2017. Arab members of Parliament sit and debate with their Jewish counterparts in the Israeli Knesset.
In their rantings, the supporters of IAW fail to take cognizance of the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. They fail to recognise that the first Arab state was established from the British mandate in 1922, when Britain, reneging on its obligation to re-establish a Jewish state in the whole of British mandatory Palestine, gave all the land East of the Jordan river to the Hashemite kingdom in the formation of Transjordan (modern day Jordan). They ignore the fact that the establishment of the State of Israel was an affirmation that the only two states in Palestine that had been independent prior to the formation of Israel, were in fact homelands for the Jews – the first in about 1000 BC and the second in 164 BC.
And they conveniently disregard the fact that Jews have since about 2000 BC had a constant presence in the land of Israel, including in Judea and Samaria (today known as the West Bank). The only time that Jews were prohibited from entering East Jerusalem where stood the First Temple and Judea and Samaria, was during Jordan’s occupation of these territories, between 1948 and 1967.
They disregard United Nations Resolution 181 that divided what was left of British Mandatory Palestine into a land for the Jews and a land for the Arabs. The Arabs could today have been celebrating 71 years of independence in the second Arab state, formed from the British mandate.
Death to Jews
In addition, the advocates for BDS and IAW provide no context for the Israel-Palestine conflict. They do not acknowledge that every war Israel has fought has been against an enemy who has wished to annihilate her. They never mention the fact that Israel has since her inception, suffered from ongoing terrorism because her neighbours cannot abide a Jewish presence in the Middle East. They gloss over the fact that the Hamas Charter calls for the murder of all Jews and the destruction of Israel. They never protest the wanton murder of innocent Israeli men, women and children. The slitting of a sleeping Jewish baby’s throat is disregarded, as is the slaughter of rabbis at prayer in a synagogue. No mention is ever made of the thousands upon thousands or rockets fired into Israel aimed at civilians or the underground tunnels burrowed into Israel with the intention of murdering and kidnapping Israeli civilians. The ‘Great March of Return’ is viewed by them as an innocent civilian protest. The fact that Hamas leaders urge protestors to go to the fence “armed with a knife” or “eat Israeli livers” if they are hungry is totally ignored by the advocates and supporters of BDS and IAW.
At the same time those who term Israel an Apartheid state overlook the true Apartheid of the Middle East:
The fact, that I, as a Jew, cannot enter many of the Muslim countries
The fact that Mahmoud Abbas has made it quite clear that no Jew will be allowed in a future Palestinian state
The fact that at the entrance to Arab towns in the West Bank are signs warning Jews and Israelis not to enter as their lives would be in danger
The assertion that Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria are preventing the establishment of a Palestinian state smacks of Apartheid and racism. Why should Jews not be able to live among Arabs in a Palestinian state as Arabs live among Jews in Israel?
By ignoring context; by ignoring history; by ignoring the reality that is Israel; and by calling for the eradication of the only Jewish state in the world and of no other, the supporters of IAW and the BDS reaffirm for all that at the heart of their pro-Palestinianism is primal Jew hatred.
Monessa Shapiro is a retired teacher and a member of the Media Team. Monessa also writes and blogs for the Times of Israel.
Personal tribute to a friend and ally – the renowned journalist, publisher and lover of Israel who passed away in Johannesburg South Africa in November 2018.
By Kathy Kaler, CEO and host of Afternoon Drive Show, Chai FM
Being a radio presenter, I consider myself privileged. I get to engage with thousands of people daily via ChaiFM. People share their opinions, fears and hopes with me – daily. And all are important and yet most of our listeners I will never meet.
Except for Moses Moyo!
His text messages came in to the Morning Mayhem almost every morning since 2013 until his sudden passing.
Moses’ messages were frequently in defence of Israel while at other times comments about service delivery in Johannesburg, but most often they were song requests – Yaakov Shwekey, Moshe Peretz or Benny Friedman.
He signed them all ‘Moshe’.
It was only when I received a video of Moses singing along (to Benny Friedman’s “Mazal and Brocha” nogal!!) that I realised I was engaging with someone from “outside” our often-insular community.
But I was wrong.
Moses Moyo was someone very much engaged in the Jewish community.
On every level.
He loved our culture, our music, our religious rites, our traditions and even our quirks.
And he loved Israel. Passionately.
Moses understood profoundly, the importance of the Jewish state, not only to Jews but what Israel means to the world and her place in the greater scheme of things.
Always interested in hearing the human stories, I took the initiative to call Moses up one day and invite him for a cup of coffee. And that was where our friendship began.
In a little coffee shop in Glenhazel. It was 2014.
I came to know Moses as a great defender of the underdog – whether he was standing up for Israeli actions to defend her borders or the plight of African asylum seekers in Hillbrow. Moses stood for truth and all that was right in the world. It is no secret. Anyone who knew him will tell you that.
A year ago, Moses planned to run the Jerusalem Marathon as part of the DL Link #RunForRecovery team. Due to issues with his passport, he had to forego the 2018 Marathon but had it on his radar to run this year. Moses was incredibly positive and for him it was just a postponement.
Little did anyone know…
In October last year, while listening to the Morning Mayhem on ChaiFM I heard about Moses’ untimely death. Like so many others who knew him, I was filled with disbelief. And sadness. And loss. Not only had I personally lost a friend, but as a Jewish and Zionist community, we had all lost an ally.
After his passing, the Jewish Community started fundraising for Moses’ children’s education.
Education… A tree of knowledge, right? The South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) and the Jewish National Fund (JNF) will also be planting a tree in Israel in Moses Moyos’ name. I will be at that ceremony. Two trees. A tree of knowledge for his children in the form of the trust fund and a physical tree in the Holy Land.
Moses would have loved that.
What a testament it is to our community organisations to honour a wonderful man who was so loyal to our community and did so much to bring Christian and Jewish Zionists together.
This year I am part of the Jerusalem Marathon 2019 DL Link #RunForRecovery team. I will be running the 10km Marathon.
This morning I went for my early morning run on the streets of Jerusalem, and as I ran down Ben Yehuda into Jaffa road – my tears flowed.
And I let them.
They were tears for Moses Moyo.
They were tears of Gratitude.
Of Simply Being Alive. (Eventually I had to decide whether to run or cry – doing both is near impossible).
So, I ran.
This Friday I will be running for Moses Moyo to complete what he wasn’t able to.
My official DL Link racing shirt (yes, apparently a Marathon is a race!) has his name on the back along with the names of the two other warriors for whom I am running. The red DL Link Jerusalem Marathon 2019 Tour T-shirts have his name on the shirt of all 85 runners on the team.
Because we are all Moses Moyo
Champions of the Underdog. Pursuers of Truth. And Proud Zionists.
Onward and Upward. Always.
More on Moyo (By the Editor)
Moyo was the founder and chairperson of ‘Friends of the Inner-city Forum’, a community-based organisation in the inner city of Johannesburg. He was also a founding director of Ekuphumuleni hospice. He played an important role in the creation of Tirisano Inner-city Housing Co-operative – an initiative to help people buy flats in the inner-city of Johannesburg on a rent-to-buy basis.
He was a reporter with Eyewitness News.
Moyo was a pro-Israel activist and raised money by offering to run in the Jerusalem Marathon for the DL link, a cancer survivor organisation.
Moyo was the Deputy President of the Association of Independent Publishers.
Kathy Kaler is the CEO 0f Chai FM, a Johannesburg based radio station and is host of the Afternoon Drive Show.
The history of the Jewish people and that of many African countries is more similar than it is different. There are some striking parallels – tribal allegiances, love of the indigenous land and a shared history of persecution and colonialism.
In the fledgling days before the founding of the modern State of Israel, Jews fought to end the British mandate that effectively colonized their ancient land.
It was with philosophy that both the founder of modern Zionism, Theodore Herzl and Israel’s Prime Minister, Golda Meir, who was the first to recognize that the Jewish state was the natural partner to help beleaguered African countries.
They recognized the shared desires of the African people as well as the Jews to live free in their homelands and respected the national liberation movements of the time, sensing a mutual desire to that of their own Zionist ideals. Zionism after all, is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people.
But today, much like in many other parts of the world, anti-Semitism is rearing its ugly head on the continent. A continent that has suffered more than its own share of discrimination and persecution.
From the north to the south
Many would be surprised to find out that there once were thriving Jewish communities in many countries across the continent and while communities are sparse in sub-Saharan Africa, in Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Egypt, they once flourished.
The Lemba of Southern Africa, the Igbo of Nigeria, Ethiopan Jews, the Abuyudaya of Uganda and the Sephardi and Ashkenazi of Europe, many of whom settled in Africa to escape persecution and who can forget the Mizrahi Jews of Arab countries, who were forced to flee Islamic rulers.
Due to rising anti-Semitism and poverty, these communities barely exist anymore. Outside of South Africa which has the largest community on the continent, there were communities in Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Uganda, Zaire (the Democratic Republic of Congo) and Zimbabwe. While many left for Israel, others left for Europe or elsewhere.
The continent’s massive poverty rates and political turmoil in the late 20th century led to some African national leaders blaming Jews for the problems of their countries which they claimed, “are operated by a conspiracy against the African race”. Anti-Semitism in Africa includes false rumors and allegations that the AIDS pandemic, was bioengineered by either the US, the United Nations or “the Jews” in a plot to exterminate millions of black Africans and that the disease is a part of the “Jewish” or “white Europeans’ maneuvers against Africa” or a continuous practice of “racial genocide”. African nations are prone to accept unreliable anti-Semitic reports and revisionist history that the slavery of black Africans in the new world was because of “Jewish merchants working for European colonial masters”. According to social scientists, these theories are appealing to some impoverished and downtrodden people without enough education to know the “Jewish conspiracy” myth is false and unprovable.
The South African story
In post-Apartheid South Africa, the Jewish community has not been spared. This is particularly troubling considering that the contribution made by the Jewish community during the Apartheid years was significant in the fight to end the racist regime. One famous example was that out of the 13 Rivonia trialists, 5 were Jewish.
Who can forget the inimitable Helen Suzman, the lone voice of opposition in parliament to the Apartheid government? Jewish and a woman to boot! Some of the greatest names to enter the pantheon of anti-Apartheid activists, be it through political, cultural, religious or civil action, include Johnny Clegg, Rabbi Isaacson, Joe Slovo, Arthur Chaskalson, Nadine Gordimer, Gill Marcus and Albie Sachs to name but a few. The founding fathers of the Rainbow Nation, Mandela, Sisulu and Thambo were intimately involved with Jews, having worked alongside many throughout their legal careers. Mandela famously visited Israel with “his” Rabbi Cyril Harris and met with then Prime- Minister, Shimon Peres. Mandela famously refers to Menachem Begin and the Irgun as the basis on which he hoped to model the armed wing of the ANC, Umkhonto we Sizwe in his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom:
“I read The Revolt by Menachem Begin and was encouraged by the fact that the Israeli leader had led a guerrilla force in a country with neither mountains nor forests, a situation similar to our own.”
I think that these great stalwarts of human rights would be greatly hurt to witness the appalling invective levelled against South Africa’s Jewish community.
Good Jew, Bad Jew
Manifesting more as anti-Zionism rather than traditional anti-Semitism (although the two cannot be separated) the clarion call seems to be “Jews are welcome, Zionists are not.” Or are they? Over the past few years, anti-Semitism is manifesting on the Southern tip of the continent much like it is all over the world. Social media platforms have become new battlefields and threats of violence and subsequent incidents have increased.
There seems to be a division between who is termed “good” or “bad” Jew. Good Jews apparently are not Zionist and identify as Jewish by “cultural ties”, not those awful traditional, Israel loving kind. There have been atrocious incidents of anti-Semitism ranging from the BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions) movement and their cries of “shoot the Jew” at a conference hosted by the South African Zionist Federation to the appalling tweets from populist Black Land First leader, Andile Mngxitama and a whole host of incidents and issues in between.
Many look to Europe or the USA as the barometer on how anti-Semitism manifests but if we ignore the South African model, we do so at our peril. It would appear that when BDS and their supporters in South Africa sneeze, their global network catches a cold. This is not to say that anti-Semitism in South Africa is restricted to BDS and the far left but the far right, perhaps emboldened by the alarming rise of their counterparts in the USA are rearing their ugly, neo-Nazi heads as well.
The consequences of rising anti-Semitism in South Africa are worrying. This could mean the marginalizing of a minority group that has played a vital role in not just the fight against the injustice of the past but continues to punch far above its size in helping to build a new country. It would also result in many of South Africa’s Jews leaving for safer pastures – and along with them, investment and employment opportunities for many of the country’s impoverished.
South Africans fought against Apartheid and many paid a painful price. After the struggles of the country’s dark past, do we really want to see this vicious cycle of discrimination and racism rise again?
Silence is no longer an option and the message that Jews are just as much a colour in the Rainbow Nation as any other community needs to be heard. Loudly.
Israel’s paltry trade with South Africa during Apartheid era
By Rolene Marks
Israel Apartheid Week will wind its hate filled way across the world in March and April – one of the main accusations is Israel’s support of South Africa during Apartheid. Lay of the land sets the record straight.
Israel’s detractors love to compare the Jewish state to Apartheid South Africa. This is not a comparison based on facts but rather part of a greater campaign to paint Israel as a pariah state and deal out the same sort of isolation through boycotts and sanctions as was done to South Africa during the height of Apartheid.
Many try to single out Israel as the only country during those years to have had any dealings with South Africa but on closer inspection, trade and co-operation between the two countries was so minute to that of other countries whose trade with the Apartheid government registered in the billions of dollars.
While Israel’s cooperation with the Apartheid regime is a cause of much embarrassment to me as both a South African and an Israeli, Israel’s role in not standing up to Apartheid is insignificant in comparison to other countries.
Focus on the Facts
Israel’s total amount of trade with the then Apartheid government was a mere $200m dollars per annum compared to:
– U.S.A – $3.4 billion
– Japan – $2.9 billion
– Germany – $2.8 billion
– U.K. -$2.6 billion
– Arab countries – $3 billion
The Arab countries could have brought the Apartheid regime to its knees – if it wanted to! It didn’t.
It was the oil tankers from Iran and Saudi Arabia which kept the wheels of Apartheid oiled. Arab oil exports to South Africa totaled more than $3 billion per year and, if that supply had been cut off, would have ended apartheid in the 1960’s!
The Saudi and Iranian human rights records are abysmal and constitute some of the worst human rights violators in the world today. Nonetheless South African government officials frequently visit both countries. The singling out of Israel for opprobrium smacks of a horrendous double standards when one considers that in Iran, homosexuals are hung from cranes, and the ruling government has no compunction in denying the Holocaust or calling for the destruction of the Jewish state.
This occurs all the while parading their ballistic missiles through the streets of the capital, Teheran!
France supplied Apartheid South Africa with weapons, nuclear material and financial aid, Switzerland the USA and Britain funded the Apartheid regime, Germany supported the racist regime in extensive trade. I include a few of the thousands of examples that can be sited:
Royal Dutch/Shell’s subsidiary, Shell South Africa, was involved in extensive operations in the petroleum, mining and chemical industries of South Africa and Namibia, with an estimated turnover of more than US$2 billion in South Africa in 1989.
In 1962 Britain’s ICI and South Africa’s De Beers each put £5 million into AECI (African Explosives and Chemicals Industries) to set up three new plants producing tear gas, ammunition for small arms, anti-tank and aircraft rockets.
British Leyland’s South African subsidiary supplied Land Rovers that were used by the South African police against students in the 1976 Soweto uprising.
The human rights records in Iraq, Libya, Syria have resulted in many hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths. Once again, South African government officials have no problem visiting these human rights violators, and those that purport to be human rights activists, like the BDS movement, remain silent and raise no issues of concern?
One must ask if a special standard is applied to the Jewish State and why?
It appears that perspective has little to do with the assumptions made about the historical relationship between Israel and South Africa. It also looks as if human rights are not a factor when dealing with bilateral relations between South Africa and other countries. When South African leaders visit Russia, perpetrator of some of the greatest crimes against humanity in modern times in places like Syria and Chechnya, and which in 2014, invaded and then occupied the Crimea in the independent Ukraine, they never raised any issues of concern.
Why does South Africa – that maintains that its “legacy” obliges it to take issue wherever and whenever human rights are grossly violated – remain silent against gross violations by Russia?
When the ANC hosted internationally criticised Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in South Africa – a man responsible for attempted genocide against the Jewish people – there were photo ops and soundbites instead of condemnation.
And therein lies the rub!
When a special standard is applied to Jews and the Jewish state, it leads people to ask some very troubling questions.
Israel is a free, vibrant albeit flawed democracy. Is the Jewish state culpable as its detractors try make out?
The facts speak otherwise.
When it comes to historical trade relations between the two countries, Israel’s opponents are intentionally defaming the Jewish state ‘making mountains out of molehills’ by way of lies and deception.
Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) is an international annual series of events held all over the world around February, March and April with the stated purpose of spreading information regarding the plight of the Palestinian people and rallying support for their cause. The 2019 series of events takes place from 16th March until 14th April. On April 1st 2019, the South African IAW shall commence.
There will be rallies, speeches, protests, presentations, workshops, even concerts, poetry readings and films, a huge festival of sorts, all designed, according to their website, to ‘raise awareness of Israel’s apartheid policies’ and ‘gain support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign’.
This movement has much support especially in South Africa where it is known what the racist apartheid regime was and so it is easy to attract local support to an ‘anti-apartheid’ cause. People in South Africa and throughout the world jump onto the BDS bandwagon genuinely wanting to support the apparent underdog. Who wouldn’t want to support the underdog?
If you are reading this and happen to be one of the very passionate people fighting for the rights of the Palestinian people, I implore you, as free-thinking and passionate individuals who care for the well-being of others, to consider the below responses to the arguments generally put forward:
“Israel is practicing ethnic cleansing and genocide against the Palestinian people”
How is it possible for the Palestinian population to have grown from around 650,000 in 1948 to over 4.6 million now if Israel is engaged in constant ethnic cleansing? And if there is this ethnic cleansing going on, how is it that Israeli society is made up of millions of Muslim Arab and Christian citizens? It does not make sense.
“The Palestinian people are denied having a Palestinian State”
“Jews build / expand settlements in disputed areas”
Why is there a push to support the Palestinian people to be such ethno-fascists that it is somehow deemed ‘understandable’ if someone ‘loses all sense’ and murders people (including stabbing children to death) because of not wanting Jews to live among them or even build a shed on their own properties, for example? Should we not be more concerned that non-Muslims are, to put it euphemistically, not welcome in Palestinian areas? If those areas become a Palestinian State, then those Jews who live there should have the option of deciding whether to move in order to remain citizens of Israel, or become citizens of Palestine. Much like what should happen in the formation of any state.
“Israel can end the conflict by giving land over to the Palestinian Authority
Israel has given land in the past, but nothing has changed with regards to the Jihad waged against Israel and the stream of rockets being fired into Israel. Why is this not questioned by those wholeheartedly standing against Israel by default of standing for the Palestinian people?
(Courtesy of MEMRI)
Be a courageous game-changer and question this. Supporting any boycott of Israel without investigating for oneself whether or not these allegations against Israel are true, not only puts supporters of Israel (or Jewish people in general as has been seen in many incidences around the world) in danger, but also prevents growth, learning, understanding and dialogue. It prevents the ingredients needed in the first place for peaceful resolutions.
Comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa does a gross disservice to those who suffered through apartheid.
Don’t simply jump on the IAW and BDS band-wagons. Be for the Palestinian people by questioning their leadership, not by being against countries which help them, including Israel. Supporting BDS ironically hurts the Palestinian people by putting the blame on others for their leaders’ crimes.
Courtesy of Israel Collective
“Sharon Salomon is a South African, Israeli living in Johannesburg. She is the granddaughter of Auschwitz survivors, and of those who were smuggled from Iraq to Israel in the 1950’s. She remembers little bits of Apartheid as a young child and her parents being fiercely against. She is passionate about being a voice for truth and dialogue believing it to literally save lives. She is the director and founding member of Race Against Extinction supporting tiger conservation. She holds a BSc in Mathematical Sciences and consults as a Business Analyst.”
Israeli consortium bids for South African food & beverage behemoth
By David E. Kaplan
Contrary to those half-witted South African politicians who advocate keeping their distance from Israel, are the astute in the country’s business community who think the positive opposite. The operative word is “THINK” as this week reveals a proposed marriage of South Africa’s beverage giant Clover with Israel’s Coca Cola.
Of course, a deal is only a deal when all is signed – but why keep this news ‘bottled’ up – when the champions for enterprise and entrepreneurship in both South Africa and Israel are so enthused to see ‘golden’ opportunities above ground rather than the usual mineral subterranean variety.
Heading a consortium called MilCo, Israel’s Central Bottling Company (Coca Cola Israel) submitted a bid to acquire control of Clover, in a deal that values the South African public traded company at $359 million (NIS 1.3 billion). The consortium is offering the SA food producer’s shareholders R25 per share, which will amount to 59.5% of the SA food producer.
Interestingly, while Clover traces its history back to 1898 with farmers meeting in the lush pastures of the Natal Midlands to discuss the establishment of a butter factory, only a year earlier in 1887, 208 delegates met at a hotel in Basel Switzerland where the modern Zionist movement was birthed under the chairmanship of Theodor Herzl.
Trajectories of both affirm that with determination, passion, grit and self-belief, the impossible becomes possible.
While Clover Industries produces milk and juices, has 8,000 employees and owns 13 production facilities throughout South Africa, the Central Bottling Company is the fourth largest manufacturer of consumer products in Israel. It owns a number of leading brands, headed by Coca Cola Israel, Tara Dairy, and other beer and soft drink brands.
Eran Elsner, who manages the Central Bottling Company’s overseas business, said, “The Central Bottling Company group believes that its activity is synergetic with the activity of the company in South Africa. There is a reciprocal contribution of knowledge and experience between the Central Bottling Company group and the overseas companies, which is channeled towards innovation and business development, while providing added value to consumers, who are always foremost in our considerations.”
Other members of the MilCo consortium are Ploughshare Investments, which will buy 10.9%, and IncuBev, which will buy 8.3%. The latter is an international business focused on the food and beverage sectors in sub-Saharan Africa.
A barometer of the excitement following the announcement, Clover’s share price jumped 19% to R23.80 on Monday morning after the JSE opened.
At the same time in Israel, CBC, whose subsidiary companies serve more than 160-million consumers worldwide, made the following press release:
“CBC is Israel’s leading manufacturer and distributor of beverages and, through its foreign subsidiaries, has manufacturing and distribution operations in Turkey, Romania, and Uzbekistan. CBC, which is also the owner of the Tara dairy, Israel’s second-largest milk processing dairy, produces and distributes its own brands and Müller brands, and it operates the license for the Müller brand in Romania.”
CBC also owns Gat Foods, a “grove to table” juice operation with customers in more than 70 countries. In addition, CBC works closely with its international franchisors, including The Coca-Cola Company, Carlsberg, Anheuser-Busch InBev, the Müller Group and Diageo.
Further South African participation in the bid is Brimstone Investment Corporation (Brimstone) cementing its plans to further expand into the food sector.
“In addition to a long history of being one of South Africa’s most popular brands,” says Brimstone CEO Mustaq Brey, “Clover runs South Africa’s largest chilled and frozen goods distribution network and is well placed for further expansion. This made it an attractive investment proposition for the foreign direct investment which South Africa desperately needs if we wish to achieve the economic freedom our country deserves.”
Brey added that all of Brimstone’s investments are geared towards transforming the South Africa’s economy by creating shareholder value on a sustainable and responsible basis. “In this transaction, MilCo is adopting an owner-operator approach and a long-term investment horizon with a view to grow the dairy category as a whole, thereby benefiting local farmers and other suppliers throughout the value chain.”
Building for the Future
Clover has a “strong portfolio of brands and best distribution system in South Africa,” said Richard Izsak, CBC’s chief of staff and Israel Country Manager and Strategic Planning Director for The Coca-Cola Company’s Eurasia Group. “We want to build the company for the long term.”
While foreign takeovers of South African listed-companies have been a rarity in recent years, State President Cyril Ramaphosa has made clear that international investment is a centerpiece of his plans to revive the economy. The challenges are immense – weak economic growth and high unemployment and as warned by the US and the UK, “ongoing corruption scandals are a barrier to investment” as recently reported in South Africa’s Sunday Times.
This is not deterring Israel that has faith in South Africa.
Regarding the economy, says Izak, “CBC is investing for long term, even if there are some ups and downs in the short term.”
It’s the more the “downs” than “ups” that are keeping away much foreign investment, however Israel is ready and willing to invest.
Despite political currents and the diplomatic obstacles, the “Startup Nation” continues to enjoy a prosperous relationship with South Africa.
“South Africa is a country of unquestionable business potential,” said the head of the Israeli Economic Mission to Southern Africa Amit Lev in 2018 to the SA Jewish Report. “While it can be difficult at times, the trade relations between South Africa and Israel are mutually beneficial and have potential to improve both countries significantly.”
Noting that Israel’s trade with South Africa is low relative to business engagements with other countries – accounting for only 1% of overall trade – Lev expressed that “with the right approach and resources, there is an opportunity to make a difference in the markets of both Israel and South Africa.”
Lev discounts the impact of BDS as a challenge for business. While these threats must be addressed, “our success stories outnumber such problems.”
There are many advantages to carrying out business in South Africa. “Besides being a portal to the rest of Africa,” said Lev, “the country has a growing economy, a sophisticated banking system which is compatible with Israel’s, and it is a member of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) group.
“Also, the country is a top agriculture producer, and the issues it is currently facing regarding water are ideal for the implementation of business infrastructure and solutions from Israel. Israel has so much to share with South Africa in the water, hi-tech and agriculture sectors, and the opportunity for Israel here is immense.”
Reflecting on the economic achievements Israel has notched up in the past 70 years, “Now is the time for Israel to mature its economic sector and move into its next 70 years of success. By creating multinational corporations, growing its trade network around the globe, exposing itself to more opportunities and inviting others to be a part of the growth, Israel can be enhanced and make giant steps in this magical movement of economy.”
While the business relationship between South Africa and Israel is promising, the Coca Cola bid for Clover indicates that the future could be even more promising.
No surprise when it has ‘academics’ like Oscar van Heerden peddling lies and falsehoods against Jews.
By David E. Kaplan
Where does one even begin in responding to University of Johannesburg academic, Oscar Van Heerden’s scurrilous diatribe posing as an article in the Daily Maverick (24th January 2019) that opens with inflammatory lies:
“The Palestinians are being decimated. Bombs are being dropped on them, rockets are deployed to kill them, and snipers are at the ready to finish the job where the other methods failed.”
This is classic antisemitism when you resort to antisemitic rhetoric blaming the Jews of Israel with such transparent falsehoods.
Even the words “finish the job” is a term taken straight from the intentions of the Nazi’s “Final Solution” and referencing it to Palestinians.
He intentionally neglects to mention Israel’s attempts at negotiation since the 1967 war being rejected. On September 1, 1967, the Arab League summit delivered the “Three No’s” – ‘no to peace with Israel’, ‘no recognition of Israel’, and ‘no negotiations with Israel’.”
Van Heerden does not mention this nor does he write of the constant terrorism, rockets fired at Israeli civilian populations and tunnels built for terrorists to enter Israel and murder civilians.
And how does this South African armchair academic portray this murder and attempted mass murder of Israelis:
“After all, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.”
It bothers not that this “academic” resorts to propaganda joining an infamous company that goes back 2000 years using hatred of Jews to deflect confronting the truth of societal problems. In the first century, the Jews were blamed for the death of Jesus; the 7th century Jews were persecuted by the Muslims for denial of the prophethood of Mohammad; in the Middle Ages, Jews were accused of the Black Death, the plague that decimated half of Europe; in 1881, Jews were accused of the assassination of Tsar Alexander II; from 1933-1945, Nazi propagandist referred to Jews as rodents and sub-humans (untermenschen) paving the way for factory-style mass extermination. Since 1948 and the Declaration of the State of Israel, the “Jewish enterprise” of Israel is a colonial blot on a Muslim landscape that requires being expunged.
At no stage does van Heerden address Palestinian intransigence – only blaming Israel. But the reason is clear, for Van Heerden is not seeking a solution for the Palestinian people but the dissolution of Israel’s Jewish people. He reveals his true agenda when not even supporting the official South African position of a “Two-State Solution” when he quotes:
“…So as we stand here on the 70th anniversary …of the Nakba, we have an opportunity to not just offer solidarity in words but to commit to political action, grassroots action, local action, and international action that will give us ….. a free Palestine from the river to the sea.”
In other words – no Israel.
And who is he trying to fool when he writes: “Palestinians are routinely punished for their political views rather than any actual threat of violence.”
Threats of violence?
How would he describe the firing of 500 missiles at Israel in November 2018? Lobbing over marshmallows?
South Africa that same November welcomed a delegation of Hamas from Gaza. Does South Africa want to play a role and support the ‘Two-State Solution’ or does it prefer to subscribe to the dark agenda of Hamas and Van Heerden of “a free Palestine from the river to the sea.”
Hamas has long proved its terror bona fides in line with its 1987 covenant expressing its religious duty to destroy the Jewish people and its nation state. Since 1993, Hamas has killed hundreds of Israeli civilians in mass-casualty suicide attacks throughout Israel. Hamas’ current terror crusade in Gaza has been engineered by Muslim Brotherhood groups in Europe and by Yahiya Sinwar, Hamas’ president, a former commander in the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, Hamas’s military wing.
Sinwar is widely considered to be Hamas’ most ruthless leader since the organisation’s founding in 1987.
Is Pretoria aware that the Iranian regime has put Gaza “in play” as a chess piece as part of its regional strategy to destroy Israel and subvert countries across the Middle East?
Accordingly, Tehran’s $100-million funding of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in 2018 stands behind the terror campaign as the Islamic Republic’s southern front to destroy Israel. Simultaneously, the regime has placed some 175,000 Hezbollah rockets in Lebanon, pointed at the Jewish state, while tens of thousands of Iranian military operatives are ready to attack from Syria.
Iranian operatives under the command of Iranian Quds Force commander, Qasem Soleimani, together with Sinwar and the Hamas leadership, have been planning, financing, inciting and compensating tens of thousands of supporters, many of them young teenagers, to storm the internationally recognised border fence with Israel even at the risk of death. This is a far cry from how van Heerden describes the situation in the opening of his article!
Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, referring to the Jews living in southern Israel near the border with Gaza:
“We will tear down the border and we will tear out their hearts.” Hamas operatives, camouflaged in civilian clothing to appear like innocent civilians, reportedly receive $1,000 to commit cross-border attacks. Hamas pledged $3,000 to the families of those killed by Israeli fire.
Palestinians injured by Israeli troops in the clashes receive $200-$500 in compensation, depending on the level of injury, while the Palestinian Authority pays thousands of dollars monthly for life if they are captured or killed, in line with PA legislation.
This is not a popular protest; it is part of Iran and Hamas’s grand strategy in its war of attrition to destroy the Jewish state.
Hamas leader Mahmoud Al Zahar – who visited South Africa in November 2018 – confirmed Hamas’ strategy in a May 13 interview on Qatar’s’ Al Jazeera network with:
“The Gaza protests are not peaceful resistance… It is supported by our weapons.”
Iran is using Gaza’s civilians to execute a new “popular warfare” strategy. According to a senior Palestinian Authority security official in Ramallah, Iranian elite Quds Force officers are entrenched in Gaza tunnels, assisting in the overall strategy and execution of the fence-storming terror campaign.
What van Heerden’s article also fails to address is that the fault lines of the Middle East have little to do with Israel. As Matti Friedman wrote last week in The New York Times:
“They run between dictators and the people they’ve been oppressing for generations; between progressives and medievalists; between Sunni and Shiite; between majority populations and minorities. If Israel’s small sub-war were somehow resolved, or even if Israel vanished tonight, the Middle East would remain the same volatile place it is now.”
Rather than subscribe to the propagandist writings of van Heerden, far better for South Africa to use its diplomatic influence to convince the Palestinians to stop incentivizing its youth to commit terror attacks and instead create a secure and stable and flourishing society based on human rights and equality – values South Africa has struggled for.