Pariah No More–the Political Lessons of ‘The Masters’

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The Masters golf tournament was, as usual, exciting this year; and it offered a political lesson. Trevor Immelman, a 28-year-old from South Africa, won by staving off the amazing Tiger Woods at Augusta (Georgia) National Golf Club. The ridiculous ceremony  in which last year’s winner, Zack Johnson, presented Immelman with a green jacket, signifying his victory was broadcast by CBS last night with traditional piety from Augusta’s "Butler Cabin."

I had to reflect: Not long ago Immelman lived in a pariah country, South Africa. And Augusta National was for a little while a pariah club, because of its racist admissions policies. And of course 50 years ago Tiger Woods, who is half black, wouldn’t have been allowed anywhere near Augusta. He would have been pariah, too. All those places and folks are O.K. now because policies changed profoundly and the world reaccepted them. No one on the broadcast yesterday said a word about race, segregation, or apartheid.

That acceptance came about in large part because U.S. opinion, maybe the most important current in the world, turned against the moral opprobrium of South Africa and Augusta with full force. U.S. opinion isn’t turning against Israel because our media won’t talk about the moral opprobrium of Hebron, and our politicians won’t talk about Hebron. When they do, it will be to Israel’s benefit. It will force that country to change, and allow its citizens to one day take part in world events without anyone noticing a thing.

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