Excerpt from: ‘The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa’

on 59 Comments

Lately we have been following Sasha Polakow-Suransky‘s attempts to rebut Israel’s supporters’ latest smear campaign to derail the Goldstone Report – namely Judge Goldstone’s relationship to the apartheid government in South Africa. Polakow-Suransky has succinctly pointed out that if anyone is to be ashamed of their support for apartheid it should be Israel, who served as one of South Africa’s primary arms suppliers during that period.

Polakow-Suransky is in a position to know. Later this month his book The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa will be coming out, and we’re lucky to be able to give you a sneak peek. Below is the book’s prologue which gives a good overview of all the book covers.  

On April 9, 1976, South African prime minister Balthazar Johannes Vorster arrived at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem with full diplomatic entourage in tow. After passing solemnly through the corridors commemorating those gassed in Auschwitz and Dachau, he entered the dimly lit Hall of Remembrance, where a memorial flame burned alongside a crypt filled with the ashes of Holocaust victims. Vorster bowed his head as a South African minister read a psalm in Afrikaans, the haunting melody of the Jewish prayer for the dead filling the room. He then kneeled and laid a wreath, containing the colors of the South African flag, in memory of Hitler’s victims. Cameras snapped, dignitaries applauded, and Israeli officials quickly ferried the prime minister away to his next destination. Back in Johannesburg, the opposition journalist Benjamin Pogrund was sickened as he watched the spectacle on television. Thousands of South African Jews shared Pogrund’s disgust; they knew all too well that Vorster had another, darker past.

In addition to being the architect of South Africa’s brutal crackdown on the black democratic opposition and the hand behind many a tortured activist and imprisoned leader, Vorster and his intelligence chief, Hendrik van den Bergh, had served as generals in the Ossewa Brandwag, a militant Afrikaner nationalist organization that had openly supported the Nazis during World War II.

The group’s leader, Hans van Rensburg, was an enthusiastic admirer of Adolf Hitler. In conversations with Nazi leaders in 1940, van Rensburg formally offered to provide the Third Reich with hundreds of thousands of men in order to stage a coup and bring an Axis- friendly government to power at the strategically vital southern tip of Africa. Lacking adequate arms supplies, van Rensburg’s men eventually abandoned their plans for regime change and settled for industrial sabotage, bombings, and bank robberies. South Africa’s British-aligned government con sidered the organization so dangerous that it imprisoned many of its members.

But Vorster was unapologetic and proudly compared his nation to Nazi Germany: “We stand for Christian Nationalism which is an ally of National Socialism . . . you can call such an anti- democratic system a dictatorship if you like,” he declared in 1942. “In Italy it is called Fascism, in Germany National Socialism and in South Africa Christian Nationalism.” As a result of their pro-Nazi activities, Vorster and van den Bergh were declared enemies of the state and detained in a government camp.

Three decades later, as Vorster toured Yad Vashem, the Israeli government was still scouring the globe for former Nazis— extraditing or even kidnapping them in order to try them in Israeli courts. Yet Vorster, a man who was once a self- proclaimed Nazi supporter and who remained wedded to a policy of racial superiority, found himself in Jerusalem receiving full red-carpet treatment at the invitation of Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.

· · ·

Prior to 1967, Israel was a celebrated cause of the left. The nascent Jewish state, since its creation amid the ashes of Auschwitz, was widely recognized as a triumph for justice and human rights. Leftists across the world, with the notable exception of those in Muslim nations, identified with the socialist pioneering spirit of the new nation. Africans welcomed Israeli development aid and voted in Israel’s favor at the United Nations. Europeans for the most part supported the Jewish state, often out of socialist idealism or sheer guilt. Even Britain, which fought Jewish guerrilla organizations until the eve of Israel’s independence in 1948, recognized the state of Israel in January 1949. Although the South African Jewish community became the largest per capita financial contributor to Israel after 1948, relations between the two countries’ governments were cordial but chilly for much of the 1950s.

In the 1960s, Israeli leaders’ ideological hostility toward apartheid kept the two nations apart. During these years, Israel took a strong and unequivocal stance against South Africa. In 1963, Foreign Minister Golda Meir told the United Nations General Assembly that Israelis “naturally oppose policies of apartheid, colonialism and racial or religious discrimination wherever they exist” due to Jews’ historical experience as victims of oppression. Israel even offered asylum to South Africa’s most wanted man.

In addition to condemning apartheid, Meir forged close ties with the newly independent states of Africa, offering them everything from agricultural assistance to military training. Many African leaders accepted invitations to Israel and some, impressed with the Israeli army, decided to hire Israeli bodyguards. African states returned the favor by voting with Israel at the U.N. in an era when the Jewish state had few diplomatic allies. At the time, black American leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. were also outspoken in their support of Israel, likening criticism of Zionism to anti-Semitism.

Things began to change with Israel’s stunning victory over its Arab neighbors in the Six-Day War of 1967, which tripled the size of the Jewish state in less than a week. The post-1967 military occupation of Egyptian, Jordanian, and Syrian territory and the settlement project that soon followed planted hundreds of thousands of Jews on hilltops and in urban centers throughout the newly conquered West Bank and Gaza Strip, saddling Israel with the stigma of occupation and forever tarring it with the colonialist brush.

Israelis did not take kindly to the colonial label. After all, Zionism had in many ways been an anti-imperial movement. The World Zionist Organization may have mimicked European colonial settlement tactics in the early 1900s, but by the 1940s Zionism’s more extreme proponents were fighting to oust the British Mandate government in Palestine. Consequently, many Israelis saw their independence as a postcolonial triumph akin to the successful liberation struggles of newly independent African and Asian countries and they bristled at any attempt to equate Zionism with European colonialism.

Conquest and expansion had not been part of the IDF’s (the Israel Defense Forces) strategic planning for a war that it perceived as a defensive struggle for survival. Even Israel’s leaders were shocked by the extent of their territorial gains in the Six- Day War. Indeed, before the shooting stopped, the first internal military memos proposed withdrawing almost completely from the newly acquired territories in exchange for peace with the Arab states. Yet, as Arab negotiating positions hardened and religious Zionists and socialist idealists alike sought to redeem and settle the land, the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and the Sinai Peninsula slowly transformed Israel into an unwitting outpost of colonialism.

Aided by a healthy dose of Arab and Soviet propaganda, Israel’s image as a state of Holocaust survivors in need of protection gradually deteriorated into that of an imperialist stooge of the West. As criticism of Israel mounted and Arab states dangled dollars and oil in the faces of poor African nations in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Third World countries increasingly switched allegiance. After the 1973 Yom Kippur War, all but a few African countries severed diplomatic ties with the Jewish state, and the Israeli government abandoned the last vestiges of moral foreign policy in favor of hard-nosed realpolitik.

It wasn’t long before Israel initiated defense cooperation with some of the world’s most notoriously brutal regimes, including Argentina’s military dictatorship, Pinochet’s Chile, and apartheid South Africa.

At its core, the Israeli–South African relationship was a marriage of interests and ideologies. Israel profited handsomely from arms exports and South Africa gained access to cutting-edge weaponry at a time when the rest of the world was turning against the apartheid state. For the next twenty years, a Janus- faced Israel denied its ties with South Africa, claiming that it opposed apartheid on moral and religious grounds even as it secretly strengthened the arsenal of a white supremacist government.

Israel and South Africa joined forces at a precarious and auspicious time. The alliance began in earnest after the October 1973 Yom Kippur War, and shared military and economic interests drove the relationship for the next three years. Though both countries were receiving varying degrees of support from the United States, neither enjoyed a defense pact with Washington and both were wary of relying too heavily on the Americans for their survival— especially in the early 1970s, when unconditional U.S. support for Israel was by no means assured. This alliance exposed Israel to great risks in the realm of public relations, especially when the Jewish state’s legitimacy was already under attack at the U.N. from pro-Palestinian groups and aligning itself with the hated apartheid regime threatened to tarnish its reputation further.

Rabin’s Labor Party government, which ruled the country from 1974 to 1977, did not share the ethnic nationalist ideology of South Africa’s rulers, but Israel’s war-battered industries desperately needed export markets and the possibility of lucrative trade with South Africa was hard for Defense Minister Shimon Peres to resist. As Rabin, Peres, and a new generation of leaders inherited the party from David Ben-Gurion and Golda Meir, the conviction that compromising certain values was necessary for survival gained sway and socialist idealism gave way to realpolitik. During the Rabin years, South African arms purchases breathed life into the Israeli economy and Israeli weapons helped to reinforce the beleaguered and isolated apartheid regime in Pretoria.

The impact of their tryst was felt across the globe. As the Cold War spread south in the 1970s, Africa became an ideological battleground, pitting Angolan government troops and their Cuban allies against South Africa’s formidable military machine, which owed its prowess in no small measure to Israel. The U.S. government feared that South Africa’s white minority regime, driven by a siege mentality and militant anticommunism, might resort to the nuclear option when faced with Soviet proxies on its borders. The U.S. government had by 1970 accepted that Israel was a member of the nuclear club, but Washington worked tirelessly in the late 1970s to prevent South Africa from joining it. As hard as officials in Jimmy Carter’s administration tried, their nonproliferation policy failed to prevent South Africa from acquiring the bomb soon after Carter left office, and subsequent U.S. administrations couldn’t stop Israel from helping the apartheid state develop more advanced components of its nuclear arsenal.

These two isolated states formed an alliance that allowed South Africa to develop advanced nuclear missile technology and provided Israel with the raw material and testing space it needed to expand its existing arsenal of missiles and nuclear weapons. All of this occurred in the face of intense international criticism, surveillance by U.S. and Soviet intelligence agencies, and constant condemnation by the United Nations General Assembly.

This mutually beneficial relationship was forged outside the jurisdiction of international conventions such as the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the cornerstones of Western efforts to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction. The two countries developed and improved their respective weapons systems under such secrecy that not even American intelligence agencies knew the full extent of their cooperation.

The Israeli–South African relationship was not only about profit and battlefield bravado, however. After Menachem Begin’s Likud Party came to power in 1977, these economic interests converged with ideological affinities to make the alliance even stronger. Many members of the Likud Party shared with South Africa’s leaders an ideology of minority survivalism that presented the two countries as threatened outposts of European civilization defending their existence against barbarians at the gates.

Indeed, much of Israel’s top brass and Likud Party leadership felt an affinity with South Africa’s white government, and unlike Peres and Rabin they did not feel a need to publicly denounce apartheid while secretly supporting Pretoria. Powerful military figures, such as Ariel Sharon and Rafael (Raful) Eitan, drew inspiration from the political tradition of Revisionist Zionism—a school of thought that favored the use of military force to defend Jewish sovereignty and encouraged settlement of the biblical lands of Greater Israel, including the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Sharon, Eitan, and many of their contemporaries were convinced that both nations faced a fundamentally similar predicament as embattled minorities under siege, fighting for their survival against what they saw as a common terrorist enemy epitomized by Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC) and Yasser Arafat’s Palestine
Liberation Organization (PLO). The ANC may have never employed indiscriminate violence to the extent that the PLO did, but in the eyes of the generals in Tel Aviv and Pretoria, Mandela and Arafat were one and the same: terrorist leaders who wished to push them into the sea. And for the top brass in both countries, the only possible solution was tight control and overwhelming force.

Foreign Ministry officials in Israel did not always approve of close ties with South Africa, but it was the defense establishments— not the diplomatic corps— that managed the alliance. The military’s dominance was so complete that the Israeli embassy in Pretoria was divided by a wall through which no member of the diplomatic corps was allowed to pass. Only when opponents of apartheid within the Israeli government sought to bring down that wall in the late 1980s did the alliance begin to crumble.

· · ·

The research for this book took place in a world where information and disinformation are equally important. Even decades after the fact, Israel remains extremely sensitive about keeping secret the details of its collaboration with a regime that is now universally condemned as immoral. Journalists and scholars who wrote on the Israeli–South African relationship during the 1980s suffered from a lack of access to key participants and official documents. As a result, the story they told, though partially accurate, was incomplete.8 For the past six years, I have struggled to fill in the gaps by prying open bureaucratic doors, accessing highly restricted archives, and interviewing more than one hundred key players in both countries.

In Israel, dozens of people initially refused to speak with me. I traced former ambassadors to desert kibbutzim and elderly South African Jewish émigrés to designer apartments in the posh northern suburbs of Tel Aviv. From the offices of defense contractors to assisted living communities, I was treated to battlefield tales and old photo albums offering glimpses of a relationship that until now few government officials have dared to talk about.

In South Africa, retired military intelligence officials asked for my U.S. passport number and ran background checks before inviting me to their homes for interviews. Tracking down the key protagonists led me to sprawling rural farms and gated retirement communities. I met former defense ministers and generals for coffee in strip malls and over shots of brandy in Pretoria’s bars. A Soviet spy who had sent some of South Africa’s and Israel’s most sensitive military secrets to Moscow invited me to his home on the windswept coast of the Cape Peninsula, where he now lives comfortably among the retired naval officers he once betrayed. Former employees of the arms industry giant Armscor and the nuclear scientists involved in building South Africa’s atomic weapons were the most reluctant of all, but several eventually opened up. My family’s roots in South Africa helped ease the suspicions of several octogenarian generals, who instantly became candid in the presence of someone they regarded as a fellow white South African in the hope that I would share their nostalgia for the old days. Some saw the interviews as an opportunity to secure their place in history and were self-aggrandizing to the extreme; others guarded their secrets closely. I have therefore not relied exclusively on oral history.

Accessing government and military archives was even more difficult. The South African authorities repeatedly rebuffed and then delayed my requests. But after sixteen months of waiting for documents, I managed to get my hands on over seven thousand pages of records from the South African Defense Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, and the defense contractor Armscor, including the Israeli side of the correspondence— but not before Israel’s government did its utmost to prevent me from getting them.

In April 2006, the Israeli Defense Ministry intervened to block South Africa’s release of a 1975 agreement outlining the planned military cooperation between the two countries, which is signed by Defense Ministers Shimon Peres and P. W. Botha. The Directorate of Security of the Defense Establishment (known by its Hebrew acronym Malmab) insisted that declassification of the 1975 document or any others would endanger Israel’s national security interests. Fortunately, the South African Defense Ministry disregarded these protests. This is due in no small measure to the fact that the people whose records I sought are no longer in power in Pretoria. While the ANC government has not fully thrown open the doors to the apartheid government’s archives, it is far less concerned with keeping old secrets than with protecting its own accumulated dirty laundry after sixteen years in power.

Israel, of course, is a different story. There, intense secrecy surrounding this relationship remains in force. The actions of Israeli administrations from the 1970s and 1980s are still regarded as state secrets, and many of the architects of the Israeli–South African alliance—including Israel’s president as of this writing, Shimon Peres— remain in powerful positions. Even so, South African records pieced together with the oral testimony of retired high-level officials in both countries provide a startlingly clear, if incomplete, picture of the relationship.

This book does not equate Zionism with South African racism, as a 1975 United Nations resolution infamously did. Rather, I contend that material interests gave birth to an alliance that greatly benefited the Israeli economy and enhanced the security of South Africa’s white minority regime. Yet ideology was a factor, too: while the relationship was driven by concrete economic interests, it would have begun far earlier and ended much sooner had it not been for the influence of ideology.

As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict festers and the prospects for peace appear gloomier each day, it has become increasingly popular to compare the situation in Israel to the dying days of the apartheid regime in South Africa. This is not a new argument, but it is gaining traction in some circles as hopes fade for a two- state solution. During the 1980s, both the Israeli and South African governments were the targets of vicious criticism and international condemnation. In the end, apartheid South Africa collapsed while Israel survived, albeit as a fortress state mired in war. This was not surprising. As two leading South African academics wrote in 1979: “Israel solicits empathy because she stands for the minority right to live after experiencing the most systematic genocide in history. Israel can offer the Western world the continuous exorcism from fascism.” Apartheid South Africa, by contrast, had no such moral standing. The government’s overt racism offended Western political sensibilities far more than Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land, and American and European policymakers did not believe white South Africans deserved protection in the same way Jews did after the Holocaust.

Yet today, left-wing activists are attempting to paint Israel as a latterday South Africa, erode its claim to a unique moral position, and question its legitimacy. By calling for boycotts and divestment from Israel, these activists are following the script that proved so effective for the anti-apartheid movement during the 1980s. And to their own detriment, Israel’s leaders are playing their parts by building Israeli- only access roads, erecting countless military checkpoints, and expanding settlements in the West Bank.

Of course, Israel’s leaders have a responsibility to protect their citizens, but the Israel they have created is a far cry from the “light unto the nations” that was once revered by the African liberation heroes and American civil rights leaders.

Countless authors have chronicled, with varying degrees of fairness, how the Jewish state betrayed its founding ideals, abandoned socialist Zionist principles, and saw its democratic soul corrupted by occupation after 1967. But Israel’s domestic policies are only part of the story; its foreign policy, especially its ties with some of the world’s most reviled regimes, also contributed to its moral decay and the rise of anti-Israel sentiment abroad. Israel’s intimate alliance with apartheid South Africa was the most extensive, the most lucrative, and the most toxic of these pacts. Just as expanding settlements in the West Bank and Gaza eroded Israel’s democratic values at home, arms sales to South Africa in the early 1970s marked the beginning of an era in which expediency trumped morality in Israeli foreign policy and sympathy for the conquered gave way to cooperation with the conqueror.

Excerpted from The Unspoken Alliance by Sasha Polakow-Suransky Copyright © 2010 by Sasha Polakow-Suransky. Excerpted by permission of Pantheon, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

59 Responses

  1. stevelaudig
    May 14, 2010, 2:53 pm

    Getting onto the lands of others has turned the Israeli state inside out making it a replica of what it used to oppose. No good has come of it, nor ever will.

    • James Bradley
      May 14, 2010, 6:41 pm

      This was an excellent read.

      Except for this part:

      At the time, black American leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. were also outspoken in their support of Israel, likening criticism of Zionism to anti-Semitism.

      This quotation by MLK has actually turned out to be a hoax.

      link to en.wikipedia.org

      I’m also not buying into the suggestion that Israel lost its moral compass after the 1967 war.

      Israel was founded on the ethnic cleansing of close to a million people, the subjugating of those survivors to martial law, and ethnic supremacy as an integral part of its founding ideology and forms of governance.

      These realities were all part of Israel well before the 1967 conquest “corrupted” Israel.

      • Sumud
        May 15, 2010, 12:30 am

        James – from what I understand the letter is a fake but MLK did make a single reference to Israel (before 1967), words to the effect of “when people say they are anti-zionist they really mean anti-semitic”.

        I don’t agree with him, and I think if he had a fuller understanding of Israel’s history – as we do now, MLK would be among her most vocal critics.

      • Sumud
        May 15, 2010, 1:33 am

        Having read through a few of the articles linked below it appears even that single quote has never been sourced adequately.

  2. Julian
    May 14, 2010, 2:55 pm

    I just knew Goldstone was innocent. No way Goldstone sent 28 Black men to their deaths and had numerous others tortured. Israel trading with South Africa proves it.

    • Avi
      May 14, 2010, 3:02 pm

      Did you ever get that copy of Obama’s birth certificate?

    • Mooser
      May 14, 2010, 3:07 pm

      .” Israel trading with South Africa proves it”

      Because Israel will not trade with countries who have capital punishment, or unjust capital punishment, or what, exactly?

      Or are you making a funny?

    • David Samel
      May 14, 2010, 4:08 pm

      Julian, it is Israeli supporters such as yourself who argue the non sequitur that since Goldstone was a judge in the apartheid era, his 2009 report on Gaza must be flawed. The notion that Goldstone’s conduct in the 1980’s damns what he does now would necessarily condemn Israel as well for its association with apartheid SA. And this is before we even consider how the entire attack against Goldstone’s SA past is immensely unfair, while the attack on Israel’s is completely legitimate.

      • Julian
        May 14, 2010, 6:49 pm

        Goldstone report was flawed because it was flawed. Goldstones character flaws certainly doesn’t help his credibility. He also is a proven liar. he stated the UN mandate was changed enabling to take on the mission. I challenge you to find any change in the UN mandate. Either Goldstone is hallucinating or a blatant liar. His 2 partners, the Irish Colonel Travers who states only 2 rockets fell on Israel prior to the invasion of Gaza and that Israelis deliberately shot Irish Peace Keepers in Lebanon, which never happened, is apparently a nut. His other partner signed a statement condemning Israel before taken on the UN job. In any real world investigation it would disqualify her, with the UN it’s just the opposite.

      • Shingo
        May 14, 2010, 7:07 pm

        “Goldstone report was flawed because it was flawed.”

        Wow, you gotta marvel and the scholarly dissertations from the Zionist wingnuts here.  They never bother tryuing to prove their case, they just make flatulent statements and expect the rest of us to accept them at face value.

        “Goldstones character flaws certainly doesn’t help his credibility”

        Even though those charactre flaws haven’t been proven.

        “He also is a proven liar.”

        Jualian is stil working on the proof.

        “the Irish Colonel Travers who states only 2 rockets fell on Israel prior to the invasion of Gaza and that Israelis deliberately shot Irish Peace Keepers in Lebanon, which never happened, is apparently a nut.”

        Julian dopesn’t bothr providing such evidence.  We’re supopsed to believe him.

        “His other partner signed a statement condemning Israel before taken on the UN job. ”

        Notice that Julian doesn’t argue if that statement was justified.   No investifgatino is legitimate for Julian is the investigations involve criticism of Israel.

      • occupy nomo
        May 14, 2010, 8:27 pm

        In your eyes anyone who criticizes Israel is wrong. If a Jew criticizes Israel, that person is even more wrong because it is more difficult to dismiss him. Finally, if it is a respected Jewish judge criticizing israel, it becomes unbearable for you and the hurling of insults and the hate filled campaign to discredit him is in full swing.

        You are not alone but very wrong.

        BTW did you read the HRW report on Cast lead? Let’s go to work discrediting that instead of looking at what’s really wrong with Israel?

      • David Samel
        May 14, 2010, 9:36 pm

        Julian – you’ve been reading too much Dershowitz. Dersh has wildly misinterpreted Travers’s statement regarding the death of Irish troops as being a fantasy that caused Travers to hate Israel before the Commission began. Travers was explaining why Irish sentiment had turned away from Israel, and cited the deaths of Irish peacekeeper troops, some at the hands of Israel’s apparently deliberate actions, as a reason. What do you think? That Ireland lost no peacekeepers in Lebanon? They lost dozens. That Israel never deliberately attacked UNIFIL troops? Of course not – they all died while hiding behind Lebanese civilians, or Hezbollah fighters, or whatever. Simply because Dersh accused Travers of fabricating the deaths of Irish soldiers does not mean that you should take his word for it. You should do at least five minutes worth of research to see if there was any truth to it.

    • Shingo
      May 14, 2010, 7:26 pm

      “No way Goldstone sent 28 Black men to their deaths and had numerous others tortured. Israel trading with South Africa proves it.”

      That was debunked this week. 

      You need to update your talking points.  Based on how slow you have been to catch up to the reality about Olmert’s offer, that means you’ll get up to speed in 2012.

    • Shingo
      May 14, 2010, 7:26 pm

      “No way Goldstone sent 28 Black men to their deaths and had numerous others tortured. Israel trading with South Africa proves it.”

      That was debunked this week. 

      You need to update your talking points.  Based on how slow you have been to catch up to the reality about Olmert’s offer, that means you’ll get up to speed in 2012.

      • Shingo
        May 14, 2010, 7:30 pm

        link to thejc.com

        Judge Goldstone responds to death penalty story


        By Miriam Shaviv
        May 6, 2010

        Follow Miriam on Twitter

        We asked Judge Goldstone to confirm the report in Yediot that as a judge in the South African court of appeal, he sentenced 28 people to death. Here is what he had to say:

        I have seen a translation of today’s “preview” in Yediot. The facts relating to the death penalty are:

        1. During the nine years I was a trial judge from 1980 to 1989, I sentenced two people to death for murder without extentuating circumstances. They were murders committed gratuitously during armed robberies. In the absence of extenuating circumstances the imposition of the death sentence was mandatory. My two assessors and I could find no extenuating circumstances in those two cases.

        2. While I was a judge in the Supreme Court of Appeal from 1990 to 1994, all executions were put on hold. However, automatic appeals still continued to come before the Supreme Court of appeal. We sat in panels of three and again, in the absence of extenuating circumstances, some of those appeals failed.

        3. It was a difficult moral decision taking an appointment during the Apartheid era. With regard to my role in those years I would refer you to the joint public statement issues in January by former Chief. Justice Arthur Chaskalson (the first CJ appointed by President Mandela) and George Bizos, (Nelson Mandela’s lawyer and close friend for over 50 years). The statement was published in full by the South African Jewish Report on about 23 January…

        Finally, I would say that these events took place 25 – 30 years ago. At that time a number of democracies had not abolished the death sentence. I do not understand why my actions as a judge im those years precludes me from campaigning today against the death sentence or precludes me from judging war crimes whether committed in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda or the Middle East.

        Other of the Yediot allegations are either false or distorted.

      • lareineblanche
        May 14, 2010, 9:01 pm

        Thanks Shingo.
        Contrast the humility and exactitude of his response with the arrogant ravings of his detractors. What a guy.

    • potsherd
      May 14, 2010, 8:59 pm

      Interesting to see how Zionist anti-logic twists the charge of Israeli war crimes into an accusation against the accuser. Instead of considering the guilt or innocence of the IDF, the Zionists pursue the guilt of Richard Goldstone.

      It’s noteworthy that Zionist argument is almost invariably of the form ad hominem. No matter what evidence there is for Israeli crimes, it is never credited. Instead, the onus is shifted onto the victim or the accuser, or some issue entirely irrelevant to the question of what crime Israelis have actually committed.

      If the IDF murders an Arab, the Israeli apologist will declare that Arabs fuck goats.

    • Sumud
      May 15, 2010, 1:10 am

      Goldstone sentenced 2 people to death from 80-89, not 28. He says the other claims in the Yediot story are “either false or distorted”.

      link to en.wikipedia.org

      There’s been an awful lot of edit activity on Goldstone’s wiki page in the 2 weeks, about 100 edits. The section supporting Goldstone has also been expanded, including material written by Sasha Polakow-Suransky on the Israel-South Africa alliance.

      link to en.wikipedia.org

      I know there are wiki sceptics on MW but I think in general it’s pretty good, and strict on sourcing, POV and balance. Having said that I have found (and corrected) several instances of material that is obviously false and has been planted by zealous zionists.

    • Sumud
      May 15, 2010, 1:11 am

      Julian – nobody even mention torture WRT Goldstone – care to share your source?

  3. Les
    May 14, 2010, 3:10 pm

    Historian Polakow-Suransky will never be confused with the for hire lawyer Dershowitz.

  4. syvanen
    May 14, 2010, 3:14 pm

    This looks like a conspiracy. Polakow-Suransky’s publisher obviously penetrated Israeli propaganda departments and planted the hanging judge Goldstone story. Could not have bought better prepublication publicity.

  5. annie
    May 14, 2010, 3:52 pm

    intriguing prologue. definitely wets the appetite for more.

    i wish i hadn’t run into the passage i bolded in this sentence.

    At the time, black American leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. were also outspoken in their support of Israel, likening criticism of Zionism to anti-Semitism.

    i really can’t speak for other black leaders but i have searched high and low for evidence MLK made the statement attributed to him aside from the allegations of one writer who published it in a questionable source . certainly nothing at the king center confirms this, it has just been trumped repeatedly by neocons but (not so curiously) only after the meme of anti zionism = anti semitism came about, which was after the 60’s if i am not mistaken. it was part of the ‘new anti semitism’ meme and i have found absolutely no evidence this meme existed during martin’s lifetime..with the exception of the allegation by the one lone neocon who claimed martin said this during some question an answer period.

    sorry for the off topic remark, it just irks me when i encounter this propaganda being attributed to one of our dearest american heroes.

    • Cliff
      May 14, 2010, 4:18 pm

      Maybe one of our Zio-Trolls can produce an argument for the MLK JR. quote’s legitimacy.

      Here’s the against:
      link to electronicintifada.net

      That being said, I can’t imagine how a hero like MLK would support colonialism and imperialism. He was against the Vietnam War. He was fighting racism. He lived under the bootstrap of racism. Why would he support European settlers over the indigenous Palestinians?

      Total bullshit. Zionism at it’s very essence is a lie. The MLK quote is symbolic of this hasbara garbage.

      • Donald
        May 14, 2010, 4:55 pm

        “Why would he support European settlers over the indigenous Palestinians?”

        I’m in the same boat with the rest of you–I don’t know if the story is true and find it hard to believe, but supposing it were true, it would probably be because he’d been misled. It’s hard to believe he wouldn’t be suspicious of the standard hasbara stories, however–even I was, when I started to think about it, long before I knew they were false. There was just too much of an obvious attempt at making the people who already lived there the “bad guys”.

    • demize
      May 14, 2010, 5:32 pm

      I’m quite sure that was de-bunked. It was supposedly based on one letter by MLK. I’ll try to find a source.

      • MRW
        May 14, 2010, 6:30 pm

        The Use and Abuse of Martin Luther King Jr. by Israel’s Apologists
        link to blacksandjews.com

        Lipset wrote in his essay “The Socialism of Fools: The Left, the Jews & Israel” about a “dinner” for Dr. King he attended. When one black student made “some remark against the Zionists,” Dr. King “snapped” back, “‘When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You are talking anti-Semitism’.” The piece by Congressman Lewis also quotes this same remark though it is not clear if it is gathered from Lipset’s essay.

        Congressman Lewis claims Dr. King made this comment “shortly before his death” during “an appearance at Harvard.” Lipset states it was “shortly before he was assassinated” at a “dinnergiven for him in Cambridge.” This quotation seems on its face much more credible. Yet, SPME presents snippets from the fake letter while apparently citing this statement (a 1968 “speech” at Harvard).

        There are still, however, a few reasons for casting doubt on the authenticity of this statement. According to the Harvard Crimson, “The Rev. Martin Luther King was last in Cambridge almost exactly a year ago–April 23, 1967” (“While You Were Away” 4/8/68). If this is true, Dr. King could not have been in Cambridge in 1968. Lipset stated he was in the area for a “fund-raising mission,” which would seem to imply a high profile visit. Also, an intensive inventory of publications by Stanford University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project accounts for numerous speeches in 1968. None of them are for talks in Cambridge or Boston.

      • James Bradley
        May 14, 2010, 6:44 pm

        Its a complete hoax.

        There is no evidence that MLK ever made those statements:

        link to en.wikipedia.org

    • wondering jew
      May 14, 2010, 5:51 pm

      The attack on “Zionists” as a code for an attack on Jews is much older than the 1960’s. Stalin’s attacks on Jews in the post WWII era were called antiZionist moves whereas their Jew hatred intent was clear.

      From Wikipedia:
      The antisemitic campaign of 1948-1953 against so-called “rootless cosmopolitans”, destruction of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee, the fabrication of the “Doctors’ plot”, the rise of “Zionology” were officially carried out under the banner of “anti-Zionism,” but the use of this term could not obscure the antisemitic content of these campaigns.

      • MRW
        May 14, 2010, 6:09 pm

        Who wrote this, WJ? What’s the cite?

      • tree
        May 14, 2010, 6:46 pm

        It appears to come from a Wikipedia entry entiled “Antisemitism and Joseph Stalin”.

        The antisemitic campaign of 1948-1953 against so-called “rootless cosmopolitans”, destruction of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee, the fabrication of the “Doctors’ plot”, the rise of “Zionology” were officially carried out under the banner of “anti-Zionism,” but the use of this term could not obscure the antisemitic content of these campaigns,[original research?] and by the mid-1950s the state persecution of Soviet Jews emerged as a major human rights issue in the West and domestically.

        From the fourth paragraph under the heading “After World War II”.

        link to en.wikipedia.org

      • wondering jew
        May 14, 2010, 6:52 pm

        This is by Gustavo Perednik in his work “Judeophobia”-

        Soviet Judeophobia, a central tool of Stalin’s regime and policy during the Cold War, reverberating far beyond the USSR. In 1952, fourteen leading party members of the Czechoslovak Communist Party were prosecuted in Prague for conspiracy against the state. Eleven of them were Jews, including the Party secretary-general, Rudolf Slansky. The Slansky Trials were conducted under the supervision of Moscow agents. For the first time an authoritative Communist forum openly proclaimed the accusation of a world-wide Jewish conspiracy. The Jewish origin of the accused was repeatedly stressed, and their alleged crimes were traced to this prime cause. The prosecution stigmatized them as Zionists, although the accused had opposed Zionism all their lives. The worsening economic situation was blamed on “the Jews.”

      • tree
        May 14, 2010, 6:56 pm

        Sorry, messed up my close blockquote.

        I find it rather a stretch to claim that MLK was so concerned with the doings of Stalin that he must have made a statement warning about conflating Zionism with Judaism.

        I also find it rather obvious that when Zionist Jews insist that all “real” Jews are Zionists and that, in effect, all Jews think alike on at least this subject, some ignorant people are going to take them seriously and equate Zionism with Jewishness.

        Speaking of which, what happened to our “real Jew”, eeee, who knew how to cull out all the Jewish poseurs ( those not sufficiently welded to Israel ) from the “real” ones? Someone cut off his access to Wikipedia, leaving him speechless? Or did he just decide we were all hopeless haters beyond redemption?

      • tree
        May 14, 2010, 7:12 pm

        “…reverberating far beyond the USSR.”

        His next sentence then describes a trial in Czechoslovakia, which was, in 1952, a puppet state of the USSR. Its a pretty bold stretch to claim that ’50 s Czechoslovakia was “far beyond the USSR.”

        My understanding of the Slansky Trials, although I admit it is limited, is that they were caused by a USSR-led pushback against a Czech effort at Tito-style independence from the USSR. Although anti-semitism problably have played a part in the proceedings, it was not the primary motivator of the trials, and to cull everything down to simplistic “anti-semitism” is to dumb down history.

      • wondering jew
        May 14, 2010, 7:36 pm

        In the aftermath of the 67 war, two movements combined in the black community-1. the attempt to kick the Jews out of leadership positions and to take control over their own movement and 2. reaction to the Israeli victory in the war. Thus it is quite likely that Dr. King encountered some black person speaking out against the Zionists and the term was being used as a term to attack Jews or was taken by Doctor King to attack Jews.

        I was quoting the facts regarding the Stalinist use of the term Zionist for hatred of Jews to prove that the term has existed since at least World War II.

        The Soviet policy opposing the study of Hebrew or the use of Hebrew (which existed in the 20’s and 30’s) was a way of saying Yiddish- good. Hebrew -bad. And although Hebrew is associated ideologically with Zionism, it is a language that exists independent of Zionism as well.

        Personal note: My great grandmother whose name was Zipporah had to misspell her name using the official Yiddish spelling of the name approved by the Soviet authorities or otherwise risk imprisonment if she were to spell the name with the traditional spelling which was “Hebrew” and therefore Zionist and punishable.

      • annie
        May 14, 2010, 7:44 pm

        the fabrication of the “Doctors’ plot”, the rise of “Zionology” were officially carried out under the banner of “anti-Zionism,” but the use of this term could not obscure the antisemitic content of these campaigns,[original research?]

        that means whoever wrote the allegation at wiki didn’t source it, probably because they can’t.

      • wondering jew
        May 14, 2010, 7:51 pm

        annie- Are you contending that there was no Doctors’ plot? That there was no Jew hatred under Stalin? Or just that they didn’t call it anti Zionism and were instead honest about the fact they were attacking Jews? Or that they attacked Jews for cosmopolitanism and not for Zionism?

      • wondering jew
        May 14, 2010, 7:55 pm

        tree- I don’t think Perednik was writing about the motivations of the Slansky trials, he was writing about the rhetoric that was used. Some purges of Jews in the Communist bloc were anti Jewish in motivation, others had other motivations.

      • annie
        May 14, 2010, 8:22 pm

        i’m sorry WJ but that simply is not compelling evidence because it was alleged by Perednik only after the ‘new anti semitism’ campaign began which was decades after martin’s death.

        is there anything at all ever written or published before or during martin’s lifetime that references that meme (the AZ equals AS meme)?
        2006, jonathan cook:

        The fresh claims about a new anti-Semitism began life in the spring of 2002, with the English-language website of Israel’s respected liberal daily newspaper, Haaretz, flagging for many months a special online supplement of articles on the “New anti-Semitism”, warning that the “age-old hatred” was being revived in Europe and America. The refrain was soon taken up the Jerusalem Post, a rightwing English-language newspaper regularly used by the Israeli establishment to shore up support for its policies among Diaspora Jews.

        Such views were first aired by senior members of Sharon’s cabinet. In an interview in the Jerusalem Post in November 2002, for example, Binyamin Netanyahu warned that latent anti-Semitism was again becoming active:

        “In my view, there are many in Europe who oppose anti-Semitism, and many governments and leaders who oppose anti-Semitism, but the strain exists there. It is ignoring reality to say that it is not present. It has now been wedded to and stimulated by the more potent and more overt force of anti-Semitism, which is Islamic anti-Semitism coming from some of the Islamic minorities in European countries. This is often disguised as anti-Zionism.”

        Perednik was born in 56. rafal pankowski in 08 made similar claims (unsourced). there must be some book referencing this anti zionism connection to the doctor’s plot beside allegations in ‘works’ on zionism-israel.com. no?

        what about the 70’s or 80’s? any sources from those decades?

      • wondering jew
        May 14, 2010, 8:45 pm

        The Slánský trial (officially Proces s protistátním spikleneckým centrem Rudolfa Slánského meaning “Trial of anti-state conspiracy centered around Rudolf Slánský”) was a show trial against elements of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ) who were thought to have adopted the line of the maverick Yugoslav leader Josip Tito.[1] On November 20, 1952, Rudolf Slánský, General Secretary of the KSČ, and 13 other Communist leaders or bureaucrats, 11 of them Jews, were accused of participating in a Trotskyite-Titoite-Zionist conspiracy and convicted.

        annie- This is from wikipedia. I’m sorry I do not have a better library and my sources are all internet sources. Are you contending that when wikipedia says that Slansky and those put up on trial in Czechoslovakia were accused of participating in a Trotskyite-Titoite-Zionist conspiracy that wikipedia or its contributor just made up this phrase from whole cloth?

      • wondering jew
        May 14, 2010, 8:51 pm

        All Jews involved in “Slansky’s case” were accused of Zionism though many of them had been fighting against it not long before. The trial was held under sharply risen anti-Jewish tendencies in the Stalin leadership policy.

        At interrogations the judges and prosecutors demanded that the accused should “confess” that they were “Jewish conspirators” and were guilty of all mischiefs of Czechoslovakian people. At the trial the words “Zionist” and “Jew” were used as synonyms that made it possible to declare the whole Jewish community of Czechoslovakia to be Zionist. Judge Novak and prosecutor attorney Urvalek demanded from the accused to confess that the interests of Czechoslovakian people were alien to them, first of all, because they were Jews.

        This is from the official site of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine, written by Yakov Etinger in 2002 (and therefore not evidence according to annie).

      • annie
        May 15, 2010, 9:16 am

        WJ, i am contending there is no recorded history from this period asserting any alleged or confirmed hatred of anti zionism was merely a result of anti semitism. it may very well have been for all i know but this diagnosis did not appear on the scene until decades later thereby retroactively designating anti semitism as the root cause of all forms of anti zionism in the past present and future.

      • annie
        May 15, 2010, 10:55 am

        WJ, the Slansky trial is very famous. certainly you can find evidence to substantiate your claims conflating anti zionism = anti semitism wrt this trial prior to this century! here’s a report from open source archives: a href=”http://www.osaarchivum.org/files/holdings/300/8/3/text/23-1-25.shtml”>RADIO FREE EUROPE Research Thirty Years After the Slansky Trial 22 November 1982. i urge you to read this extensive report. a small sampling

        Eleven of the fourteen defendants were Jewish
        With just one or two exceptions, all had had direct dealings with ‘
        Western partners or had spent the war years in the West. Four were economic heavyweights in the communist administration, and Vladimir Clementis was presented as a Slovak nationalist. (A separate trial with other Slovaks, including the present party leader and President Gustav Husak, in prison since 1951, took place in 1954. There were innumerable spin-off trials after Slansky, directed at many different groups and activities.)

        interesting the report from 82 does not once mention zionism or anti zionism even once

        Why Did It Happen? Literature enquiring into the motivation of self-inflicted persecution has gone into this question at length
        and in depth. [1] Concentrating on the main features only, we
        can summarize the cause as follows:

        not once. here’s the Cold War International History Project circa 91.

        WORKING PAPER #50
        Rudolf Slansky:His Trials and Trial
        By Igor Lukes
        CHRISTIAN F. OSTERMANN, Series Editor
        This paper is one of a series of Working Papers published by the Cold War International History Project of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. Established in 1991 by a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Cold War International History Project (CWIHP) disseminates new information and perspectives on the history of the Cold War as it emerges from previously inaccessible sources on “the other side” of the post-World War II superpower rivalry.

        it’s a long slog but i made it thru..not one mention of zionists or zionism. Trotskyites? of course. try harder. if what you assert has merit there should be plenty of evidence available from the 2nd half of the last century.

      • wondering jew
        May 15, 2010, 11:52 am

        From the New York Times Nov. 23, 1952, an article entitled, “Tragicomedy in Prague”:

        “If this were only a rehash of the Zinoviev and Kamenev ordeals of the 1930’s, we might regard it as a purely Soviet farce playing a rerun in a new adaptation. But there is something new in this latest trial: the charge that Slansky and the majority of his fellow-defendants who are of Jewish origin were members of a vast Jewish conspiracy, betraying their country to ‘American imperialism’ in order to serve the State of Israel… Here we have the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion, but in the Stalinist version…. So the Prague trial is not merely a comedy; rather it may well mark the beginning of a major tragedy as the Kremlin swings further and further towards Antisemitism masked as Anti Zionism.”

      • wondering jew
        May 15, 2010, 11:57 am

        Meir Cotic wrote a book about the Slansky trial: “The Prague Trial: The First AntiZionist Show Trial in the Communist Bloc”.

      • wondering jew
        May 15, 2010, 11:57 am

        Published in 1987.

      • wondering jew
        May 15, 2010, 12:09 pm

        From the Cold War international History project, page 54 (60)

        “Following Bolshevik tradition, Slansky acknowledged that he had made mistakes in his work, but he stubbornly refused to acknowledge the preposterous charges of high- treason, sabotage, spying, and conspiracy. He was particularly unyielding about the claim that he was a Zionist, a pet theme persistently pushed forward by the Soviet advisors.
        Rather courageously, Slansky reminded the interrogators that charges of Zionism were often but a mask of fascist thinking. When the interrogators pointed out that he had staffed the CPC apparat with Jews, Slansky replied: “The point is not that they were Jews, the point is that they were in the resistance.” Those who failed to see this, Slansky told his tormenters were racists.”

      • Donald
        May 15, 2010, 12:19 pm

        WJ–I’ve heard this too–that anti-zionism in communist countries was sometimes a thin veil for anti-semitism. I’ve never investigated it, but you’ve made a decent case as far as I can tell.

        But what does it show? Communist governments were specialists in taking legitimate human rights ideals espoused by the left and turning them into excuses for their own brand of oppression. And more generally, it’s not surprising that at least some anti-semites would latch onto anti-Zionism and link the two. In fact, Zionists and anti-semites are on the same side in that respect–both of them want to associate criticism of Zionism with anti-semitic sentiments.

      • wondering jew
        May 15, 2010, 12:31 pm

        Donald- The question was raised in regards to MLK, how would it be possible for him to say that some young black man attacking a Jew as a Zionist was merely masking an attack on Jews. How could that be possible when this is only a recent phenomenom (invented by the Zionists to accuse all those of antiZionism of being antiSemites). And I was trying to prove that this is not recent, that the attack on Jews using the term Zionist is at least as old as Stalin. Q.E.D.

    • MRW
      May 14, 2010, 6:15 pm

      From Wikipedia

      A widely-distributed essay, falsely attributed to King, states that “anti-Zionist is inherently antisemitic, and ever will be so”. However, this has been shown to be a forgery, and was not written by King.[67][68]

      67: ^ Green, Lee. “Letter by Martin Luther King a Hoax”. CAMERA. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
      link to camera.org

      68: ^ Wise, Tim. “Fraud fit for a King: Israel, Zionism, and the misuse of MLK”. Electronic Intifada. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
      link to electronicintifada.net

      • MRW
        May 14, 2010, 6:19 pm

        The Tim Wise piece is well worth reading in its entirety.

      • lareineblanche
        May 15, 2010, 12:22 pm

        Thanks for the link, yes, that T Wise article is excellent.

  6. MHughes976
    May 14, 2010, 4:57 pm

    I don’t know whether King ever made conciliatory remarks about Zionism and/or Israel but I remember those days. I don’t think many of us then would have thought it surprising or unfitting that black people and Jewish people struggling for liberation would have made common cause. What I recall is an enormous readiness to credit Israel and all its agents with extremely good and humane intentions, which would somehow, given the chance, make everything all right. This was eventually tested by the rise of Likud, which to its credit made little attempt to pretend to humane rather than nationalist intentions. I recall with shame my belief that it was only a matter of the moderates on both sides gaining power at the same time.
    I remember being moved by a play of which I can’t now recall anything except that it concerned young, idealistic Jewish people joining the fight for liberation in the Bad Old South of the USA and probably reflected some of the truth about the King campaigns.
    King was doubtless more intelligent than me but even he might not have been immune to the spirit of those times.

  7. pulaski
    May 14, 2010, 6:09 pm

    “Apartheid South Africa, by contrast, had no such moral standing. The government’s overt racism offended Western political sensibilities far more than Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land, and American and European policymakers did not believe white South Africans deserved protection in the same way Jews did after the Holocaust.”

    The Holocaust was enormous and the dangers of fascism apparent. But unless you rely on some sort of racial/cultural essentialism, there is no reason to think that Jews would be the most likely victims the next time a holocaust happens. One purely factual grounds, the Afrikaners had a better case for minority protection (they existed nowhere else on the earth). And they had all the familiar justifications for “self rule”: they had been the first victims of concentration camps, etc. Victimhood as an rational for oppression of others is an old story.

    I’ve met conservative Afrikaners who admire Israel and shake their heads: “that is exactly what we wanted, it was allowed for Israel but not for us.” Hell, they’d been there three and a half centuries and God also gave them that land.

    South Africa was terrible at hasbara and lacked a dedicated set of people outside the country who were defending it. Unlike Rhodesia, the Afrikaan nationalists in South Africa never appealed to “pan-whiteness.” Not that that helped Rhodesia in the end — American mercenaries played a minor role. An attempt to buy an American paper by a branch of South African intelligence ended up causing the Muldergate scandal that contributed to Botha’s downfall.

  8. VR
    May 14, 2010, 9:05 pm

    In historical accounts you have to watch carefully in regard to Israel (and other accounts) of what is termed the “moving of the goalposts.” Some wish to see the animus arising in Israel and the original goals as two distinct occurrence. That is, Israel “was not so bad in the beginning,” but became decidedly worse with time. What people have to realize is that there are facts which are immovable.

    First Zionism came from the very cradle of colonialism, it was from nation(s) which had an active part from previous years of colonizing the region. So to say that Zionism was quite apart from colonial activity is to remove its very foundation.

    Second, when Israel moved during the 48′ activity it did so being totally endued by colonial leave and power, having developed not only the instruments of what would later be a state institutionally, but even trained to defend itself by the colonial benefactor. When it decided to spurn its colonial tutor it used some of the very same activities which were used by the colonial in the Mandate period (such as house demolitions, etc.).

    You see the intentions of the would be Israelis by very public documents, where founders like Ben Gurion made statements such as “waiting for the revolutionary moment” to get exactly what they wanted from the Palestinians by force. Within the very context of the decisions of what to do to the Palestinians you find a small opposing contingency, with individuals like Buber and others who were overrun by the will to force (see Buber’s birthday celebration later where he says the Israelis chose the ways of Hitler rather than the spirit).

    So I would say be very careful with “history” which tries to imply that there was no thought of further colonial activity until 67′. Watch out for the idea of “slowly being corrupted” starting in later years. And as I have said elsewhere in regard to white supremacist South Africa and Israel, one recognized and supported the other, “naturally (not out of some minority desperation).”

    • VR
      May 14, 2010, 11:55 pm

      Let me follow this up with another point, the above statement does not mean you do not read the book, it means you read it critically. I for one am looking forward to seeing what the extent of the involvement was between these two countries. I will read it its contents with what I believe to be the facts of what I know about this collaboration, and if I am proven wrong by the preponderance of the evidence presented (because this author looks like he has done his homework) I will stand corrected and if we have agreement I will feel vindicated. A critical read does not mean you are not open, and openness does not mean gullibility. I hope this clarifies what I wrote above.

  9. potsherd
    May 14, 2010, 9:34 pm

    Interesting commentary in Ha’aretz (hating the new format) link to haaretz.com

    At the end of the day, after Goldstone is finally exorcised as a witch and Israel’s human rights NGOs shut down, what then? Won’t accountability still be a cornerstone of the rule of law? Putting the diversions aside for a moment – and the author is appreciative of how difficult that is, given the government’s urge to obsess on nothing but diversions – are we not still left with alarming suspicions, partial information, and a very real need for a credible, independent investigation into Cast Lead?

    Not only Goldstone, but all of us, are morally responsible for our actions and inactions, for when we choose to speak out for justice and for when we keep our silence and help perpetuate what is unjust. South Africa’s past became a part of its future through the truth and reconciliation process; but here in Israel not only is there no reconciliation process, there is no desire by the government nor among most of the public to confront inconvenient truths. Rather, the focus is on truth-dodging, which only serves to further steer us away from reconciliation or justice.

    The growing distance between where the moral compass points and where we as a society are headed is no one’s problem more than our own. We can stick pins in the Goldstone voodoo doll as much as we want to but, when we wake up tomorrow morning, the very same reality will still be right here, exactly as we left it. Morally speaking, it’s high time for our wake-up call, for a sincere look at our own image as reflected in our mirror, for truth-seeking instead of desperately, cynically, self-servingly trying to hide it – and hide from it.

  10. Elliot
    May 14, 2010, 11:17 pm


    Goldstone report was flawed because it was flawed.

    Great. Let’s talk about the Gaza War rather than Richard Goldstone. The reason I believe the Goldstone Report is that his report corroborates many of the accusations that Israeli soldiers who participated in the war had made in early 2009. Goldstone made a splash internationally, but all this stuff was widely reported in the Israeli media months earlier.

    Now, what has Israel’s war crimes got to do with the mandatory death penalty in Apartheid South Africa?

  11. tampsa
    May 15, 2010, 3:24 pm

    I was in Prague from 1948-1959. Not only did I witness the Slansky show trials, I translated the trial transcript from Czech and Slovak to English. I was unable to take either the book or my translation manuscript with me when I left. One of the phrases of choice in the trial was “Cosmopolitan Zionist conspiracy.” There was definitely a witch hunt against Jews. One of Gottwald’s physicians, Dr. Haas, a Jewish psychoanalyst and a personal friend of mine was imprisoned until the Khruschev revelations. A Jewish friend of mine in Prague told me the following bit of Jewish black humor at the time:

    Q. What’s an anti-Semite?
    Ans. Somebody who hates us a bit more than absolutely necessary.

    I have been anti-Zionist since 1936 (age 15). Anti-Zionism cannot be confused with anti-Semitism but equating the two is a weapon of choice to discredit defenders of the Palestinian people–as we well know.

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