NBC features Peres’s support for apartheid as Mandela ‘languished in damp prison’

Israel/Palestine
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Peres and Mandela

Peres and Mandela

A lot of folks are noticing Israeli president Shimon Peres’s bald hypocrisy in celebrating Nelson Mandela when he once helped to prop up the apartheid regime in South Africa. We did so over the weekend. So did Chris McGreal of the Guardian, who quotes Mandela to the effect: “never forget how the free world’s leaders learned to change their tune,” and reports that “among those eulogising Mandela are people who once damned him as a terrorist and supported apartheid.”

McGreal once quizzed Peres about the relationship and Peres said Let bygones be bygones.

As defence minister in the 1970s, Peres signed secret military pacts with Pretoria that, among other things, helped developed weapons used against black Africans…

A few years back, I asked Shimon Peres about his close dealings with the old South African regime, including two periods as prime minister during the 1980s when Israel drew closest to the apartheid government. His response was to brush away history. “I never think back. Since I cannot change the past, why should I deal with it?” he said. Peres is clearly not alone in that view.

The story is also getting legs on NBC. “In the 1970s, while Mandela was languishing in a damp prison cell on Robben Island, Peres was making deals with South Africa’s apartheid regime,” reports Robert Windrem:

But in the 1970s, while Mandela was languishing in a damp prison cell on Robben Island, Peres was making deals with South Africa’s apartheid regime, according to interviews and documents gathered by NBC News, a recent documentary and a book based on Israeli and South African government documents….
At the center of the relationship was a “Joint Secretariate for Political and Psychological Warfare” set up in 1975 to handle various matters, not the least of which was “propaganda and psychological warfare.” It was an outgrowth of a $100 million South African propaganda campaign to fix the country’s tarnished image. Leading the effort was the late Eschel Rhoodie, a brash apparatchik who had convinced the regime’s leaders they needed to sell apartheid to the western media.

Shades of Israel’s desperate efforts to fix its international image. The report ties into the story about Hollywood producer, and Israeli spy, Arnon Milchan lately reported on Israeli TV. NBC again:

In a February 1993 interview, Rhoodie told NBC News he was the chief representative on the South African side. “Arnon Milchan was the chief representative on the Israeli side,” said Rhoodie. “We paid him about 30,000 rand [$40,000] a year.” Milchan is now a Hollywood billionaire who has produced more than 120 movies, including “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” and “L.A. Confidential.” When he was in his 20s, however, Peres recruited him for the Science Liaison Bureau. Peres designated Milchan to represent  Israel in South Africa.

The story also describes the cooperation in nuclear technology between the two countries. The U.S. was aware of the dubious trade. But of course that nuclear issue didn’t dominate our political debate.

H/t Max Blumenthal.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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8 Responses

  1. amigo
    December 9, 2013, 12:35 pm

    Even in Death Mandela delivers the truth.

    Let,s hope more of Israel,s real history makes the headlines.

  2. hophmi
    December 9, 2013, 12:48 pm

    “A lot of folks are noticing Israeli president Shimon Peres’s bald hypocrisy in celebrating Nelson Mandela when he once helped to prop up the apartheid regime in South Africa.”

    Other folks are noticing the hypocrisy of criticizing Peres for Israel’s alliance with South Africa but not mentioning that Mandela had alliances with Qaddafi, Arafat, Castro, Khomenei, and the Soviet Union.

    Let’s not throw stones in the glass house, OK? The universal truth is that nations and liberation movements alike make alliances of convenience. The United States has done it. The PLO has done it. The ANC did it. And so did Israel.

    • Woody Tanaka
      December 9, 2013, 1:03 pm

      “Other folks are noticing the hypocrisy of criticizing Peres for Israel’s alliance with South Africa but not mentioning that Mandela had alliances with Qaddafi, Arafat, Castro, Khomenei, and the Soviet Union.”

      You’re living under a rock if you haven’t seen discussion regarding these alliances that Mandela had. Seriously. THIS is the only defense to the zio’s alliance with Apartheid? That Mandela spoke highly of people who supported him while he was in prison?? You need better hasbara, zio.

      “Let’s not throw stones in the glass house, OK?”

      LMAO. As if saying kind words about people who hoppy doesn’t like, which is all Mandela did, is even in the same universe as running one of the most evil political systems of the second half of the 20th and first half of the 21st century, as Peres did.

      “The universal truth is that nations and liberation movements alike make alliances of convenience. The United States has done it. The PLO has done it. The ANC did it. And so did Israel.”

      Missed a step, zio. You have to demonstrate that these were alliance of convenience. Frankly, zionist israel and Apartheid South Africa are natural allies, as their governing ideologies are nearly identical, as they, themselves, both conceded (back when it wasn’t fashionable for the zios to pretend that they value things like human rights.)

    • Justpassingby
      December 9, 2013, 1:33 pm

      hophmi

      Uh Yes? While Israel supported apartheid, Qadaffi, Arafat, Castro, Khomeini, Soviet, like majority of the of the world, did not.

    • Shingo
      December 9, 2013, 3:55 pm

      Mandela had alliances with Qaddafi, Arafat, Castro, Khomenei, and the Soviet Union.

      What is hypocritical about Mandela having alliances with these?

      Do you miss the fool old days of apartheid Hop?

  3. pabelmont
    December 9, 2013, 1:03 pm

    Peres: ““I never think back. Since I cannot change the past, why should I deal with it?” he said. Peres is clearly not alone in that view.”

    Is this the official and practical response by Peres and other Israeli leaders to those other pieces of the “past”, [1] the holocaust and [2] the ancient Jewish presence in (parts of)Palestine? No, of course not. THEY ARE SELECTIVE, remembering what serves them and forgetting what is inconvenient.

    They are also forgetting much that is or will be inconvenient in the FUTURE. (So are most world leaders). The overwhelming power of overwhelming money on politics. Global warming/climate change. I/P’s moral horrors for Israel and for diaspora Jews.

  4. Hostage
    December 9, 2013, 1:59 pm

    McGreal once quizzed Peres about the relationship and Peres said Let bygones be bygones.

    There’s a lot of that going around.

    June 12, 1990 – Nelson Mandela said Monday that, whether the CIA caused his imprisonment 28 years ago, it is time to forget about it. ”Let bygones be bygones. Let’s forget about it,” he told journalists who asked for his comment on a Cox Newspapers report that the CIA provided South African security officials with precise details that allowed police to seize him at a roadblock. — http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1990-06-12/news/9006120765_1_nelson-mandela-bygones-be-bygones-time-to-forget

    On June 10, 1990, the Chicago Tribune had reported: The former official, now retired, said that within hours after Mandela`s arrest Paul Eckel, then a senior CIA operative, walked into his office and said approximately these words: “We have turned Mandela over to the South African security branch. We gave them every detail, what he would be wearing, the time of day, just where he would be. They have picked him up. It is one of our greatest coups.“

    With Mandela out of prison, the retired official decided there is no longer a valid reason for secrecy. He called the American role in the affair “one of the most shameful, utterly horrid“ byproducts of the Cold War struggle between Moscow and Washington for influence in the Third World. — Ex-official: Cia Helped Jail Mandela http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1990-06-10/news/9002170271_1_anti-apartheid-activities-gerard-ludi-cia-spokesman-mark-mansfield

  5. MRW
    December 9, 2013, 3:03 pm

    His response was to brush away history. “I never think back. Since I cannot change the past, why should I deal with it?” he said. Peres is clearly not alone in that view.

    But we’re to accept the 3,000-year ‘God gave us a real estate deed on Palestinian land’ story?

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