Tony Greenstein | 09 January 2012 | Post Views:

South African Politicians Never Hesitated to Compare Apartheid and Israel

Here is a quote from the last white South African Prime Minister, F W de Klerk. For those with long memories, you might recall that when the former South African Prime Minister PW Botha stepped down, he was succeeded by the most right-wing candidate de Klerk, leader of the Trasnvaal Nationalists. Which just goes to prove that the ‘leftists’ in settler-colonial countries aren’t necessarily those to do business with. [thanks to Jewssansfrontieres for this]

What I supported as a younger politician was exactly what the whole world now supports for Israel and Palestine, namely separate nation states will be the solution. In our case we failed. There were three main reasons.

We failed because the whites wanted too much land for themselves. We failed because the majority of blacks said this is not how we want our political rights. And we failed because we became economically totally integrated. We became an economic omelet and you can never again divide an omelet into the white and the yellow of the egg. And we realized in the early eighties we had landed in a place which has become morally unjustified.

It comes from a BBC 4 radio programme. Whereas the BBC was implacably opposed to the Boycott of South Africa at the time, something it conveniently forgets to mention now, it is more than happy to pick up the plaudits today.

There is also an excellent article by Chris McGreal in the Guardian Brothers in arms – Israel’s secret pact with Pretoria which was published in February 2006.

Many have been the comparisons made by South African politicians, irked at the free ride that Israel was receiving, when Zionism was no different from Apartheid. As the South African press asked:

Is there any difference between the way the people of Israel are trying to maintain themselves amid the non-Jewish peoples and the way the Afrikaner is trying to remain what he is? The people of Israel base themselves upon the Old Testament to explain why they do not wish to mix with other people. The Afrikaner does this too. [Henry Katzew South Africa – A Country Without Friends’ Midstream Spring 1962 p. 73, RP Stevens, ‘Israel & South Africa’ Zionism & Racism, p. l6]

Likewise Dr Verwoerd, in many ways the architect of Apartheid, wrote: “The Jews took Israel from the Arabs after the Arabs lived there for a 1000 years. In this I agree with them. Israel like South Africa is an apartheid- state.” And the Jerusalem Post made clear in April 1976 on the conclusion of a. pact between Israel and South Africa, after Vorster’s visit there:

The Afrikaners were especially enthusiastic… seeing a similarity of interest in two ‘white’ nations at the head and foot of the African continent waging lonely fights for survival against overwhelming black numbers.
This alliance was not of recent origin. The founder of Political Zionism, Theodor Herzl, wrote to Cecil Rhodes, the British colonialist after whom Rhodesia was named:

Please give me a statement saying you have examined my programme and found it appropriate. And why do I come to you, Mr Rhodes, you will ask. Because- my programme is. a colonial programme. [T Herzl; Diaries, , Vol III p.105]

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