Jewish West Bank settlers are as smug as white South Africans in 1980

Middle East
on 63 Comments

As I read through Phil Weiss’s superb reports on Jewish settlers in West Bank Palestine (Part 1 and Part 2), I experienced an eerie sense of familiarity. From 1978 to 1983 I lived in southern Africa, writing articles and then a book about the struggle against apartheid. The people Weiss has just described so vividly reminded me of many of the white South Africans I met back then.
The resemblance is more than an attitude of colonial superiority. Beyond that, I recognized in Weiss’s settlers a similar feeling of self-confidence, the conviction that although the outside world could criticize all it wanted, no one was going to taken any serious actions to disturb their lives.

The great South African black poet Dennis Brutus once told me an anecdote that summed up this smug view. Brutus, who passed on in 2009, was the man who encouraged me to go to southern Africa and see for myself. He had been imprisoned on Robben Island in the 1960s, alongside Nelson Mandela and other national leaders. “One day one of the white warders approached,” Brutus said in his mellifluous voice. “He said, ‘Brutus, you seem like an intelligent man — why do you fight against a system that you will never be able to change?’ He was a decent sort, so I answered, ‘And why do you think you will keep dominating us forever?’ He answered simply, ‘Because America will never stop supporting us.'”

The same self-confident attitude shines through in Weiss’s reports. The settlers are absolutely certain the Israeli government will never uproot them, and behind that is the unspoken conviction that the United States will never put significant pressure on Israel.

South Africa’s negotiated transition to a non-racial democracy in 1994 and Mandela’s election to the presidency were true miracles. Sanctions — the BDS of its day — did put economic pressure on the apartheid regime, as international banks refused to roll over loans and investment started to dry up. But sanctions were vastly more important because they eroded the morale of white South Africans, who realized that the rest of the world was no longer going to stand behind them.

Just as with the debate over BDS today, back then the discussion about anti-apartheid sanctions sometimes got sidetracked, such as about what kind of enterprises to boycott. Dennis Brutus’s white warder acquaintance was not paying attention to such details. Only when he recognized that the rest of the world was truly reducing its support did he let his political leaders negotiate a settlement.

63 Responses

  1. yonah fredman
    January 30, 2016, 2:59 am

    James North- Are there one or two books or magazine articles that one could read to determine what were the primary factors in de Klerk’s thinking?

    When you write, “But sanctions were vastly more important because they eroded the morale of white South Africans, who realized that the rest of the world was no longer going to stand behind them. ” i do not think that this really would work in Israel, where eroding the morale will not work. The civil (Jew versus Jew) unrest that would result from the removal of the settlers from the West Bank is a far greater and more immediate danger to most Jewish Israelis than “realizing that the world was no longer going to stand behind them”. If and when the United States , specifically the Democratic party, listens to its grass roots, and decides to remove all support from Israel unless Israel leaves the West Bank (or removes its settlers from the West Bank) then it will be a question of survival and then the civil unrest of Jew versus Jew will seem worthwhile so as to continue to survive. But merely realization that the world is against them will not work. (The world is always against us no matter what we do, is the retort.)

    • Mooser
      January 30, 2016, 12:05 pm

      “The civil (Jew versus Jew) unrest that would result from the removal of the settlers from the West Bank is a far greater and more immediate danger to most Jewish Israelis”

      “Yonah” (pretend all caps) Do you realize, do you have any idea, what you just admitted!?!? ( Caps off)

      Okay, ‘be nice to Israel, or we will shoot Palestinians’ is one thing, but ‘be nice to Israel, ‘or we will shoot each other’? Now there’s a threat!

      But anyway, thanks for the report on the state of Tribal Unity! She is in bad shape. and to think she used to look just like this

      • Keith
        January 30, 2016, 2:48 pm

        MOOSER- “Okay, ‘be nice to Israel, or we will shoot Palestinians’ is one thing, but ‘be nice to Israel, ‘or we will shoot each other’? Now there’s a threat!”

        That reminded me of the scene in “Blazing Saddles” where Cleavon Little takes himself hostage and threatens to shoot if he doesn’t get his way.

  2. Shmuel
    January 30, 2016, 4:24 am

    i do not think that this really would work in Israel, where eroding the morale will not work. The civil (Jew versus Jew) unrest that would result from the removal of the settlers from the West Bank is a far greater and more immediate danger to most Jewish Israelis than “realizing that the world was no longer going to stand behind them”.

    James will correct me if I’m wrong, but I think South Africa, at the time, was far more isolated and self-sufficient than Israel is. In that sense, the bravado of those Israelis who have been calling for a “counter-boycott” of Europe (Israel’s largest trading partner, scientific and cultural partner, and general frame of reference), or even “punishing” the EU and individual European countries is as ludicrous as it is insane..

    When I was travelling in Europe in the ’80s, I met a white South African who told me that it was absolute hell to visit Europe (before the days of Schengen and open borders) on a South African passport. She described being detained, harassed and harangued at every single border. Do you think something even remotely like that would not have an effect on Israelis, so many of whom consider Europe their stomping ground? Israel can already be a very claustrophobic place. What would happen if it were to become even more so?

    • just
      January 30, 2016, 4:49 am

      Great comment and question, Shmuel.

    • yonah fredman
      January 30, 2016, 5:12 am

      Shmuel- A specific proposal to prohibit Israelis from entering Western Europe is that what you are proposing? Is that something that has been proposed by the EU? Is that something that you see on the horizon?

      James North posited something quite amorphous: “realize that the world is no longer behind them”, rather than your very specific proposal. (I assume you are proposing passport control. what other “remotely like that”, do you have in mind?)

      But even if Europe passes such a law, which is not on the horizon, please explain to me the dynamics that this increased claustrophobia is going to exert on the Israeli voting public? Do you think it will move the votes from Likud to Meretz? Surely not. Then you think that it will move Bibi or Gideon Sa’ar or Naftali Bennet? Surely not Bibi or Bennett. Do you think Saar is going to evacuate the settlers as a result of this EU law that is not even on the horizon?

      I’m not sure how much better Sa’ar will be than Bibi, but the type of deep change that would require either a unilateral withdrawal of settlers or the negotiated withdrawal of Israeli troops will require some very serious consequences for the post Bibi Likud to respond to the increased claustrophobia as you fantasize.

      But I would be interested in hearing how you think this will change either the voters or Likud and if you see such a move on the horizon by the EU?

      You have a keener insight into European politics and maybe there is such a move on the horizon there. There is certainly no passport controls on the horizon in the US.

      • tree
        January 30, 2016, 6:11 am

        Shmuel- A specific proposal to prohibit Israelis from entering Western Europe is that what you are proposing?

        Good lord, yonah, do you ever bother to try to understand what others are saying to you? There was no “specific proposal” from Shmuel , just an anecdote about the troubles of a South African woman going through passport control in various Western European countries during the Apartheid period. His anecdote didn’t even mention the woman being ‘prohibit(ed) … from entering Western Europe.’

        You seemed to miss the point as usual.

      • Shmuel
        January 30, 2016, 6:25 am

        Yonah,

        We are entirely in the realm of the vague and the amorphous, because there are no indications that anything like SA-style sanctions are on the horizon — in Europe or elsewhere. The question is where does the impediment lie? James has suggested that it lies in the will (and dynamics) of western politics, while you have argued that even if that obstacle were somehow overcome, the consequences would not have the desired effect — due to differences between Jewish-Israeli and white-SA societies.

        There are no guarantees, and none of us are prophets, but I think James has a point, and I think that a sense of isolation (well beyond current paranoid fantasies) would have an impact on crucial sectors within Israeli society. The precise electoral dynamics — whether shifting power from party to party or changing the parties themselves — would remain to be seen, as would other forms of internal pressure to effect significant changes in policy.

        I’m not talking about the removal of hundreds of thousands of settlers, but of a decision to stop treating the Palestinians like idiots or beggars.

        As for a real shift in European policy, the Netanyahu government seems to be working very hard on bringing it about.

      • Shmuel
        January 30, 2016, 6:29 am

        His anecdote didn’t even mention the woman being ‘prohibit(ed) … from entering Western Europe.’

        She was not denied entry to any European country, but merely complained about being treated like a pariah. She was particularly upset by her treatment in the UK (where she was also granted entry), presumably because South Africans feel a particular connection to that country, or because the disdain she encountered there was even greater than on the continent.

      • yonah fredman
        January 30, 2016, 6:40 am

        Shmuel- First of all, last time I looked you advocated a single state solution, so this is news, that you are only advocating a change of attitude.

        Recently, you’ll excuse me if I don’t specify with a link, there was a suggestion here on mw, that South Africa gave up apartheid because of rugby and cricket. Just from my knowledge of human nature, I doubt it, but if that is the case, then there is nothing that can be learned from the South African experience to help us undo the current Palestine versus Israel conflict, because nothing less than real pressure is going to change the situation and this fear of being treated like a pariah, “the world is no longer behind us” is not going to change anything.

      • Shmuel
        January 30, 2016, 7:23 am

        First of all, last time I looked you advocated a single state solution, so this is news, that you are only advocating a change of attitude.

        Look again.

        For example: link to mondoweiss.net or link to mondoweiss.net

        Recently, you’ll excuse me if I don’t specify with a link, there was a suggestion here on mw, that South Africa gave up apartheid because of rugby and cricket. Just from my knowledge of human nature, I doubt it, but if that is the case, then there is nothing that can be learned from the South African experience to help us undo the current Palestine versus Israel conflict, because nothing less than real pressure is going to change the situation and this fear of being treated like a pariah, “the world is no longer behind us” is not going to change anything.

        The “rugby-cricket” theory was not invented at MW, and the idea is that the actual impact of sanctions on South Africa (undoubtedly “real pressure”) was not sufficient, in and of itself, to convince white South Africans to give up their privileges. No one suggests that simply being barred from international sporting events, in and of itself, would have been sufficient either, but the psychological impact of international isolation, combined with the feeling that impunity (“Because America will never stop supporting us”) was no longer an option, may very well have been what brought the self-assurance on which Apartheid relied crashing down.

        The theory may or may not be correct (there are indeed those who reject it), or its significance may be exaggerated, but not because it is somehow inconsistent with human nature.

        Transfer rugby-cricket to academia-culture-business-tourism — not necessarily impacting Israeli GDP in any significant way, but making it more difficult for Israeli academics, students, artists, athletes and just ordinary tourists to interact with their western peers and be accepted by them. Large parts of Israeli society are very “international”, and being a part of the “enlightened” west is a central part of Israeli identity.

        Israel and its supporters often complain about Israel being negatively “singled out”, while obsessively engaging in trying to get Israel singled out in a positive sense. Israel doesn’t want to be treated just like any other country. It wants to be loved — and not by Djibouti or Vanatu. How could a withdrawal of moral support (obviously combined with real pressure) from Europe and the Anglosphere not deeply affect Jewish Israelis?

      • yonah fredman
        January 30, 2016, 8:52 am

        Shmuel- Your linked articles emphasize a rights based approach rather than a solution based approach, which is interesting but in fact difficult to grasp, but certainly not something that is near. On paper it looks far less tumultuous than carrying Jewish settlers out of Efrat or Shiloh or Tapuach, but in fact would be a rather revolutionary approach. Meanwhile since neither Hamas nor Fatah agrees with your approach, it is mostly useful as a thought experiment rather than something practical.

        I wonder what percentage of Israelis travel constantly to Europe and what their voting patterns are compared to those who travel infrequently or never. Since Orthodox and Mizrachi voters are poorer than the secular Ashkenazi and the Ortho’s and Mizrachis vote right wing, it would indicate that those who travel less are in fact less likely to be moved by the “if only the Europeans loved us” attitude that you feel might play a key role in the change of mindset.

      • just
        January 30, 2016, 8:57 am

        Thank you, tree and Shmuel.

      • talknic
        January 30, 2016, 9:20 am

        @ yonah fredman “Recently, you’ll excuse me if I don’t specify with a link, “

        Of course. We understand it’s quite necessary not to. If you did you’d show you’re either incapable of seeing the obvious, purposefully remaining ignorant, unable to read, simply don’t read replies, all the above or something usually called, really really stupid

        “there was a suggestion here on mw, that South Africa gave up apartheid because of rugby and cricket. Just from my knowledge of human nature, I doubt it, “

        Here again for your poor tired Zioaddled brain

        Football is followed by billions of people, each one with the power not to buy Sth African goods, each one with the power not to invest in or deal with Sth African companies, each one with the power not to invest in or deal with companies who in turn deal with Sth African companies and each one with the power not to vote for or support political parties or politicians who might side with such a vile regime and no law can stop them!

        IOW a sports boycott can shine a spotlight, no, a BIG spotlight , no, a VERY BIG spotlight , no a, GIGANTIC spotlight no, BILLIONS of spotlights on the apartheid policies of the State of Israel in every country in the world and empower billions of people to act and no law can stop them! link to mondoweiss.net

        “but if that is the case”

        It certainly was the case, no ‘if’

        ” then there is nothing that can be learned from the South African experience to help us undo the current Palestine versus Israel conflict, because nothing less than real pressure”

        Billions of sports fans = real pressure. WTF do you think Israel is so desperate to remain in the various sports arenas?

        People who continue to try and justify the unjustifiable only make fools of themselves. That you and your pals keep trying only shows us you’re propagandists and propagandists are by necessity dishonest

      • Mooser
        January 30, 2016, 12:17 pm

        “You seemed to miss the point as usual.”

        In order for Yonah to grasp that point, he would have to understand that Jews have the same social and emotional and societal vulnerabilities as anybody else. That maybe those just might NOT all be a product of antisemitism, to be dismissed out-of-hand.

      • Mooser
        January 30, 2016, 12:38 pm

        “and this fear of being treated like a pariah, “the world is no longer behind us” is not going to change anything.”

        “Yonah”: “Mamila I think I have the flu, I feel awful.”
        “Mamila: “Yonah, there’s some nice chicken soup on the stove”
        “Yonah”: Oy Gevalt chicken soup! Will that help?
        Mamila: “It couldn’t hurt!”

      • Mooser
        January 30, 2016, 12:50 pm

        “Just from my knowledge of human nature…”

        Darn it, “Yonah” don’t do that. I just scared my cats into a decline, howling like a hyena. They won’t come out from under the bed for a week.
        Yuppers, “Yonah” if there is one thing you’ve spent a lifetime acquiring it’s your “knowledge of human nature”. That’s why you communicate so well. And from the widest possible range of subjects and examples, too!

      • inbound39
        February 1, 2016, 4:05 pm

        What do you mean shutting the borders of EU to Israeli’s is not on the Horizon? When labelling settlement products was first discussed early last year a whole list of other options was raised and ALL are under consideration should Israel continue settlement construction. Closing the borders to Israeli’s is on that list and as long as Israel keeps illegally building settlements the reality of a total ban on Israeli’s entering EU will be ALWAYS on the Horizon. Particularly when The Israeli Government makes insulting attacks on EU Leaders.

      • lysias
        February 2, 2016, 5:11 pm

        If Israelis thought BDS was not going to have any effect, they wouldn’t be so upset by it.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      January 30, 2016, 8:09 am

      “Do you think something even remotely like that would not have an effect on Israelis, so many of whom consider Europe their stomping ground?”

      Firstly, I think it’s highly unlikely to happen – the squeals of ‘anti-semitism’ as in ”Jews once more being denied freedom to travel in Europe”, would be deafening, and no European politician wants to go there. Secondly, many Israelis – including a very high proportion of those ‘liberal Israelis’ most likely to see themselves as part of the West – have EU or other Western passports, so it would be impossible to deny them travel.

      If such a thing were to happen, despite the above obstacles, it’s hard to say what effect it would have on Israelis. Some might question if the whole occupation lark was worth it. Some might be driven even further to the extreme right. Impossible to say, and we’re unlikely ever to find out in any case.

      And while there are many parallels between Israel and RSA, one important difference is that, when push came to shove, the latter had few powerful friends in the US or Europe. The Afrikaners’ ethnic kin, the Dutch, mostly despised them and saw them as am embarrasment. This is almost the opposite case with Israel, where ‘diaspora’ Jews – a wealthy and influential minority – are mostly very Zionist and not at all afraid to lobby Western governments on its behalf. Add to that the fact that the Palestinian cause is very much associated with Muslims/Arabs – who are the current ‘bogeyman’ in the West – and we can see that it will be much more difficult to encourage any real official pressure against Israel than it was against RSA.

      • Shmuel
        January 30, 2016, 8:57 am

        MDM,

        James North’s article is written in the negative — identifying the smugness of those secure in the knowledge that “no one was going to taken any serious actions to disturb their lives”. The question Yonah raised was whether the withdrawal of western backing from Israel would have a similar impact to the withdrawal of western backing from SA. I don’t think James, Yonah or anyone here thinks such a scenario is likely any time in the foreseeable future.

        The anti-Semitism card is useful only up to a point. You may curse “those anti-Semitic frogs/limeys/etc.” when you find out Israelis are not eligible for that grant, fellowship, tender, etc., but you would still very much like to have gotten it. You know that Prime Minister Bennett’s declarations of Jewish pride and Foreign Minister Hotovely’s “list of countries that hate us” have not exactly made things any easier (nor have Defence Minister Lieberman’s annexation and expulsion programmes), and you remember when the world was Israel’s oyster, after Oslo. You remember how you used to be invited to conferences and how friendly all your European colleagues used to be. You get the message, no matter what excuse you may latch onto to console yourself.

        Most Israelis don’t have western passports, and even those who do would be identified with the institutions, companies, projects, etc. they represent — officially and unofficially. Their counterparts would still relate to them as Israelis.

        But I’m afraid I’ve gotten a little carried away with hypothetical situations today. Does BDS stand a chance of making a difference? I think so.

      • echinococcus
        January 30, 2016, 9:34 am

        MDM,
        Your bleak analysis looks very realistic. Of course Shmuel knows the situation intimately but he is sinning by excess of optimism, not only for the reasons you exposed (let’s not exaggerate the effect of travel restrictions either) but also something that you didn’t want to speculate about: the effect of any restrictions or sanctions on the Zionist entity Herrenvolk. We can guess by extrapolating from the many cases available in history (also the older ones reflected in myth…)

        As the Zionists see it themselves, there is no common ground with the Boers who were trying to maintain their White Man’s Burden. If I am to rely on the few I know and their writings and statements over many years it looks very much, though, as if the Zionists in their majority (both Yahoos + religious fanatics and the “Labor” type nationalists) were mentally and emotionally deficient to the point of confusing the “Jewish people’s survival” with their own personal, physical survival and that of their kids. This is the same insanity that gave the world the Nazi aggression and, for failed aggressors, the Jonestown suicide. The Zionists have repeatedly threatened with both, and it doesn’t sound like they were bluffing.

        Of course there will be a solution because the world keeps restructuring itself –provided a reasonable number of Palestinians survive. The solution cannot be peaceful, though. No point in deceiving ourselves.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        January 30, 2016, 9:41 am

        “I don’t think James, Yonah or anyone here thinks such a scenario is likely any time in the foreseeable future.”

        But then what’s the point of the article?

        “The anti-Semitism card is useful only up to a point. You may curse “those anti-Semitic frogs/limeys/etc.” when you find out Israelis are not eligible for that grant, fellowship, tender, etc., but you would still very much like to have gotten it.”

        But my point is that fear of the ‘anti-semitism’ slur will prevent European politicians from taking any decisive steps against Israel in the first place. There’s no way that any European leader would try to ban Israeli passport holders from travelling to the EU – remember that it took them years to agree on the wording for the labelling, not even the boycott, of ‘settlement’ produce.

        “Most Israelis don’t have western passports, ”

        I heard that about half of Israelis have (or are eligible for) at least one other passport (not neccessarily Western) though I don’t know if this is actually true.

      • Shmuel
        January 30, 2016, 11:23 am

        I heard that about half of Israelis have (or are eligible for) at least one other passport (not neccessarily Western) though I don’t know if this is actually true.

        Half of Israeli Jews, I presume. It sounds to me like a lazy estimate based on the assumption that all Israeli Ashkenazim have or are entitled to European citizenship of some sort. Of course there is a huge difference between having and being entitled to (without considering legal, financial and other obstacles), but even in terms of eligibility the assertion sounds fishy. There are over six million Jews in Israel, and even the most sensationalist reports (and brokers who hope to make some money out of such requests) talk about “hundreds of thousands”, not millions — even including the relatively recent Spanish option.

      • RoHa
        January 30, 2016, 11:36 am

        Mossad can provide plenty of stolen or forged Australian and British passports.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        January 30, 2016, 11:48 am

        ” It sounds to me like a lazy estimate based on the assumption that all Israeli Ashkenazim have or are entitled to European citizenship of some sort.”

        I don’t know about ‘all’, but I’d expect a good many are. Many European countries adopt the ‘grandparents’ rule, whereby if you can prove a grandparent was born in the relevant country, you can claim citizenship. That would entitle a very large percentage of Israeli Jews to citizenship in an EU country, or one of the post-USSR states.

        “Of course there is a huge difference between having and being entitled to (without considering legal, financial and other obstacles), but even in terms of eligibility the assertion sounds fishy.”

        The figure may well be exaggerated, I agree, but I don’t think “there is a huge difference between having and being entitled to” in the context we are discussing. Which is that if the EU imposed travel bans on Israeli civilians (exceedingly unlikely) then obviously if those Israelis could obtain EU citizenship, then those bans would be null and void.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        January 30, 2016, 11:49 am

        “Mossad can provide plenty of stolen or forged Australian and British passports.”

        Or New Zealand. Wasn’t there a scandal several years ago when Israel stole the passports of mentally handicapped New Zealand citizens?

      • Mooser
        January 30, 2016, 12:25 pm

        “Of course there is a huge difference between having and being entitled to (without considering legal, financial and other obstacles)”

        And gee, isn’t there a huge difference between arriving as a penniless refugee, knowing no-one, as opposed to having a net work of sponsors, benefactors and organizations to ease them past the legal, financial and other difficulties and put them up while they wait, transfer assets or even hide them?

        If Israelis were leaving Israel, what would you do, “Shmuel”*? Would you work to force them back to Israel, or work to get them into residence or even citizenship in other places?

        I think the Jewish folks in Israel have someplace to go when we make it too hot to hold us..

        *Since so many “nyms” aren’t proper names, (ex: “tree”) I put quotes around them, so they are set off as a name, that’s all that is. And whats good for the tree is good for the gander.

      • RoHa
        January 30, 2016, 2:47 pm

        “Or New Zealand.”

        If they are really, really, desperate.

      • Mooser
        January 31, 2016, 12:49 pm

        “Or New Zealand.”

        I was, I hasten to point out not the commenter who suggested New Zealand as a destination for ex-Israelis. Even I have limits.

  3. Ossinev
    January 30, 2016, 10:19 am

    Latest from Norman Finklestein`s blog:
    link to normanfinkelstein.com

    Don`t you just love these cuddly compassionate Light unto the Nations Land of Creation IDF low life thugs.

    The world is seeing what is going on in this little fascist cult colony in a way that was simply not possible up until even a decade ago and and in due course just as with South Africa isolation,sanctions and travel bans will follow as surely as night follows day.

    BOYCOTT UGLY APARTHEID ISRAEL
    SUPPORT BDS
    TELL YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS ABOUT BDS

  4. Misterioso
    January 30, 2016, 10:28 am

    As I watched this video, I wanted to scream.

    link to normanfinkelstein.com

    Fascism is alive and well!!

    • irishmoses
      January 30, 2016, 5:00 pm

      I agree, scream-inducing.

      Wonderful irony at the very end: The radio is playing Amazing Grace and the soldier says, “That’s one of those Negro prayer songs, isn’t it?” The irony escapes him.

      • echinococcus
        January 30, 2016, 6:20 pm

        What fully justifies the title is not so much the atrocious treatment inflicted on the Palestinian population, owners of the whole territory, by foreign invader recruits.

        It is the fact that the uniformed murderers see absolutely no reason to modify their behavior or try to be less offensive while watched by the camera. In fact, there is an element of extra aggressivity because of it (as witnessed by some shouting.)’

        What does this suggest, with regard to the instructions from above? Looking at history, in Italy then in Germany, this kind of in-your-face shameless offensiveness marked a turning point in the 30s.

    • Jeff Klein
      February 1, 2016, 3:44 pm

      I don’t often post in the comments, but this video made me weep.

  5. Boo
    January 30, 2016, 10:59 am

    “Meanwhile since neither Hamas nor Fatah agrees with your approach, it is mostly useful as a thought experiment rather than something practical. ”

    It’s not obvious to me which specific “approach” is at issue here, but actually that’s good because my comment is a general one: Believing that actions contemplated by other governments, or by individuals anywhere on the globe, are somehow contingent on “agreement by Hamas and/or Fatah” is to miss the point entirely.

    Individuals, and to some degree governments, are able to recognize injustice and oppression and take unilateral action against them irrespective of other third parties’ desires or approvals. In the instant example, many of us are fully aware of Hamas’ and Fatah’s shortcomings and imperfections. We neither expect nor require any green lights from them. Our concern is for the Palestinian people as a whole, not their governmental entities per se.

    We’ve initiated, and will continue, (eg) BDS activities regardless of their approval, or that of our own governments — indeed, even with the overt disapproval of our own governments, as for example the numerous anti-BDS bills now wending their way through US state legislatures — because it’s the right thing to do.

    Of course, we will continue trying to convince our respective governments of the righteousness of our cause. But many of us consider ourselves world citizens first and foremost. And we will work together with others of our kind to bring about justice for individuals and peoples wherever it’s required, without much regard for the opinions of whatever governmental entities are involved.

    • rosross
      January 30, 2016, 10:31 pm

      @Boo,

      Well said. And Apartheid in South Africa was ended without pre-conditions as to what the other ‘side’ could or would do.

      The issue is justice. Tough luck for Israelis as it was for white South Africans, that because of bigotry they opted for an apartheid system where those they sought to subjugate outnumbered them and always would. No doubt this is the foundation of apartheid on both counts but it does not make it right and never will.

      • Sibiriak
        January 31, 2016, 1:28 am

        rosross: And Apartheid in South Africa was ended without pre-conditions…
        ————————–

        Of course there were pre-conditions! The most general being that white economic power and continuing gross inequality were to be systemically entrenched via the imposition of a binding neoliberal regime.

        ANC leader Ronnie Kasrils calls it a “devils pact”:

        “To break apartheid rule through negotiation, rather than a bloody civil war, seemed then an option too good to be ignored.”

        […”]However, at the time, most of us never quite knew what was happening with the top-level economic discussions. As Sampie Terreblanche has revealed in his critique, “Lost in Transformation”, by late 1993 big business strategies – hatched in 1991 at the mining mogul Harry Oppenheimer’s Johannesburg residence – were crystallising in secret late-night discussions at the Development Bank of South Africa. Present were South Africa’s mineral and energy leaders, the bosses of US and British companies with a presence in South Africa – and young ANC economists schooled in western economics.”

        […]”The ANC accepted responsibility for a vast apartheid-era debt, which should have been cancelled. A wealth tax on the super-rich to fund developmental projects was set aside, and domestic and international corporations, enriched by apartheid, were excused from any financial reparations. Extremely tight budgetary obligations were instituted that would tie the hands of any future governments; obligations to implement a free-trade policy and abolish all forms of tariff protection in keeping with neo-liberal free trade fundamentals were accepted. Big corporations were allowed to shift their main listings abroad. In Terreblanche’s opinion, these ANC concessions constituted “treacherous decisions that [will] haunt South Africa for generations to come”.

        An ANC-Communist party leadership eager to assume political office (myself no less than others) readily accepted this devil’s pact, only to be damned in the process. It has bequeathed an economy so tied in to the neoliberal global formula and market fundamentalism that there is very little room to alleviate the plight of most of our people”. [emphasis added]

        link to theguardian.com
        —————————-

        Patrick Bond:

        “Here are the dozen biggest devils that hobbled Mandela’s economic legacy:

        *The repayment of the US$25 billion apartheid-era foreign debt. This denied Mandela money to pay for basic needs of apartheid’s victims.

        * Giving the South African Reserve Bank formal independence. This resulted in the insulation of the central bank’s officials from democratic accountability. It led to high interest rates and the deregulation of exchange controls.

        * Borrowing $850 million from the International Monetary Fund in December 1993, with tough conditions persisting for years. These included rapid scrapping of import surcharges that had protected local industries, state spending cuts, lower public sector salaries and a decrease in wages across the board.

        *Reappointing apartheid’s finance minister Derek Keys and Reserve Bank governor Chris Stals, who retained neoliberal policies.

        * Joining the World Trade Organisation on adverse terms, as a “transitional”, not developing economy. This led to the destruction of many clothing, textiles, appliances and other labour-intensive firms.

        *Lowering primary corporate taxes from 48% to 29% and maintaining countless white people’s and corporate privileges.

        * Privatising parts of the state, such as Telkom, the state-owned telecommunications company.

        *Relaxing exchange controls. This led to sustained outflows to rich people’s overseas accounts and a persistent current account deficit even during periods of trade surplus, and raising interest rates to unprecedented levels.

        * Adopting the neoliberal macroeconomic policy Gear. This policy not only failed on its own terms, it also caused developmental austerity.

        *Giving property rights dominance in the constitution, thereby limiting its usefulness for redress.

        * Approving the “demutualisation” of the two mega-insurers Old Mutual and Sanlam. It was the privatisation of historic mutual wealth for current share owners.

        * Permitting most of South Africa’s ten biggest companies to move their headquarters and primary listings abroad in the late 1990s. The results are permanent balance of payments deficits and corporate disloyalty to the society.”

        link to zcomm.org
        ———————–

        Yes, black South Africans gained political rights. But you can hardly call the results “justice.”

    • Froggy
      February 1, 2016, 5:21 pm

      Well said, Boo. I agree with everything you wrote.

  6. James North
    January 30, 2016, 12:39 pm

    I am traveling but I look forward to responding to an excellent discussion.

  7. rosross
    January 30, 2016, 6:33 pm

    Systems drive behaviour. An apartheid system will drive the same behaviour.

    Racism will drive the same behaviour whether it is racially based as it was for South Africa or religious racism as it is for Israelis.

    When you have a dominant group which believes itself, for whatever reason, to be superior to those it dominates then you set in place a system which will steadily debase the dominant group and empower those who are disenfranchised and subjugated.

    I suspect it is the fear behind such racial and religious bigotry which prevents normally intelligent people from realising what they are doing and the fact that their unjust system must be and will be ultimately doomed.

    Racist systems require high levels of denial and delusion to both be established and maintained and that merely intensifies the stupidity and insanity which must be and are intrinsic elements in such injustice.

    And having lived in South Africa, and a country I have known well with regular visits over two decades, and having spent time in Israel and worked with and for Israelis, the similarities are glaringly obvious, as both Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu agreed.

  8. Yehudi Ben Israel
    January 31, 2016, 2:01 am

    We will never leave the West Bank, our ancestral land promised to us by God and which the Arabs lost through military combat they initiated. The Arabs will just end up leaving once they realize they’ve lost, don’t you worry. The world doesn’t really care about Palestinians.

    • John O
      January 31, 2016, 3:46 am

      Hi, Bibi!

    • RoHa
      January 31, 2016, 5:24 am

      It looks as though some Italian academics care.

      link to aljazeera.com

    • talknic
      January 31, 2016, 5:35 am

      @ Yehudi Ben Israel “We will never leave the West Bank, our ancestral land promised to us by God and which the Arabs lost through military combat they initiated”

      Stale Hasbara … cute … As attractive as the bile in a power drunken Rabbi’s whiskers link to imemc.org

      A) International Law doesn’t recognize promises made by any God
      B) The Zionist Federation initiated the Colonization of Palestine in 1897 link to jewishencyclopedia.com
      C) Israel’s borders were proclaimed by the Israeli Government and Israel was recognized as it asked to be recognized link to trumanlibrary.org
      D) The acquisition of territory by war has been illegal since at least 1933 link to cfr.org

      “The Arabs will just end up leaving once they realize they’ve lost, don’t you worry”

      We know what vile idiotic Zionist thieves wish for, however 119 years on there’s non-Jews still there

      “The world doesn’t really care about Palestinians”

      Is that why the majority of the world’s countries recognize Palestine as a state?

    • Kay24
      January 31, 2016, 6:42 am

      Such drivel. With BDS movements going strong, EU nations beginning to recognize Palestine, and many EU nations wanting goods from illegal settlements labeled, it seems the world is beginning to care about the Palestinians. It is Israel that is one of the MOST disliked nations in the world. Get real.

      It seems your second comment on Mondoweiss, is getting a similar response from your first one.
      Commenters here know the hasbara talking points very well, and can spot it a mile away.

      • Mooser
        January 31, 2016, 11:54 am

        “It seems your second comment on Mondoweiss, is getting a similar response from your first one.”

        Kay24! How dare you! You are supposed to take “Yehudi” seriously. You’re supposed to be impressed by his implacability and frightened by his brutal tone.
        And if that don’t work, he’ll whip us with a CAT5 cable!
        I don’t want to have to say it, but there’s a name for people who don’t take Zionists at their own valuation, or treat them (as they well deserve) as a bad joke.

      • Kay24
        February 1, 2016, 7:18 am

        Mooser, I am neither impressed by hasbara garbage, nor frightened by their brutal tone. He/she is simply wasting time here, not changing a single mind, nor making sense. Maybe it works in the illegal settlements. They make inane comments, and do not have the spine to reply to the responses.

      • Mooser
        February 1, 2016, 1:39 pm

        “Mooser, I am neither…”

        Yes, exactly. I was indulging in persiflage.
        And I agree with you, I have no idea what they think they are accomplishing with their comments.

    • Qualtrough
      January 31, 2016, 8:56 am

      @Yehudi Ben Israel – What kind of incontrovertible proof do you have that this land was promised to you by God? Do you have some kind of title deed signed by him/her? How could you possibly know that it was promised to you? A book you read? Can this God be contacted for clarification?

      As far as your second point, what examples can you provide of an occupied people just realizing they lost and leaving? No biblical stories please.

      And for your third point, you, along with many others, definitely care about Palestinians. If not, why in the world would you visit this site??

    • eljay
      January 31, 2016, 9:02 am

      || Yehudi Ben Israel: We will never leave the West Bank, our ancestral land promised to us by God … ||

      1. Don’t delude yourself with visions of a “Thousand Year ‘Jewish State'”. Never is a very long time.
      2. It’s not your “ancestral land” – it’s land you’ve stolen, occupied and colonized.

      || … 3. The world doesn’t really care about Palestinians. ||

      You appear to have forgotten the #1 rule (well, Top 5, anyway) of Zio-supremacism: The anti-Semitic, Jew-hating world hates Jews forever and always. Your arrogance is, therefore, misplaced.

    • Mooser
      January 31, 2016, 11:49 am

      Okay, “Yehudi” (My, but there is some nasty work pulled at the pepto-bismal font), I guess you’ve decided to compete. So here’s the standings: You will have to beat out the current parody-Zionist champs, “MaxNarr” and “Mayhem”.

      Stick to short brutal comments, if you go the logorrhea route, you’ll get banned quicker.

      Now, “Yehudi” as a fellow Jew (and an all-around good fellow) I wish you luck, and you go ahead and show ’em what we are made of! I think you will be convincing.

    • Mooser
      January 31, 2016, 2:16 pm

      ” promised to us by God”

      Uh, “Yehudi”, Bro’bele, ixnay on the omisespray of Odgay, okay? Olocausthay and ewishjay istoryhay, get what I’m saying?

      All the righteous, observant Jews through the ages didn’t deserve the benefits of God’s promises, not even victims of the Holocaust, but the Zionists do? Ho-kay!

  9. Mooser
    January 31, 2016, 11:59 am

    ” our ancestral land promised to us by God “

    Ah, so this is what all that same-room sex on Birthright trips does to a person.

    • Kay24
      February 1, 2016, 7:20 am

      Israel must be the only nation that claims rights to lands because “God” promised them illegal settlements. Heh.

  10. Jasonius Maximus
    January 31, 2016, 12:17 pm

    Never doubt the power of isolation, boycotts or sanctions to bring around significant change in Israel. Staunch defenders of Israel love to claim that any one of these actions will have little to no effect on Israeli politics or policy, but they couldn’t be more wrong. The reason these tactics worked so well in South Africa was because it was two fold. It hurt the flow of money and investment at the highest levels of business, in turn political funding. As well as the morale and pride of the everyday white citizen too. You just need to find and target that Achillies Heal.

    For the average white South African it was their unshakable pride in their prowess in the sporting arena. It was a bitter pill for them to swallow every single week, watching their peers around the world compete in the international arena knowing full well just how capable and good their own respective teams and sportsmen and women were. An entire generation of sporting fans and heroes watched entire careers stagnate and never make an impact at the global level. Just look at the conniption Israeli athletes and the public recently had over Indonesia denying a visa to a single badminton player! Now imagine if that was every single Israeli athlete for the upcoming Olympics in Rio. Which isn’t that hard to imagine considering Israel’s recent spat with Brazil over the radical settler they’re trying to bully the Brazilian government into accepting as Israel’s Ambassador to Brazil.

    I, however, digress. Sporting isolation will no doubt hurt Israeli morale, but that’s not the sweet spot for Israel. Can anyone say Start Up Nation? Israelis are utterly gaga over their recent technological prowess and fame at the highest level on the global stage. Intel, for one, has invested big in their Israeli Research and Development arm over the last decade. Employing over 9,000 Israelis across the country, they are also one of the highest private sector employers in Israel. So you can bet your last dollar that if they were to suddenly disaccociate themselves from this relationship, it wouldn’t just cause waves but a veritable tsunami in Israel! Following right behind them would be the likes of Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter, HP, Samsung etc. Some of these are the biggest investors and purchasers of Israeli technology, innovation and business in the world. Not only would such a boycott devastate the industry, force a mass exodus and brain drain in this sector, but the public morale and pride in their darling industry would be utterly crushed! The backlash would be almost biblical.

    Then there’s the Israeli weapons industry. Let’s just say that should an international ban be placed on the sale and distribution of Israeli weapons and technology to other countries, coupled with the blow to the tech sector, the Israeli economy would be all but dead in the water.

    So make no mistake, even the slightest pressure in just one of these three areas would see a profound change in attitude in Israel. Remember, despite popular belief by Israeli apologists, isolation or sanctions don’t have to impact an entire nation to have a big impact on the politics of said country. Likud only just squeaked through last year’s election and held onto power with 23% of the vote and only then with a highly volatile and radical coalition. So think that, facing isolation or sanctions wouldn’t guarantee a landslide victory to ANY political party that makes the resolution of the conflict and end of the occupation their number one priority, is not only naive but delusional.

    Fear not. When Israelis can no longer buy Nike shoes, or D&G sunglasses, or Louis Vitton handbags, or Addidas sweaters, or Apple iPhones. When Israel’s basketball players can’t play in the NBA, or their swimmers can’t swim in the Olympics or at the FINA Swimming World Cup, or their national soccer team can play in EUFA Euro 2016 or qualify for the FIFA World Cup, or when their artists and entertainers can’t perform in Paris, London or New York, or when their winemakers can no longer export their wines, or when they can no longer share their selfies, pictures and memes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or when their politicians (or spouses) can no longer freely travel to Europe or the U.S., or when Aroma Espresso Bar has to close its NYC franchises, or when the JNF loses its tax exempt status in the U.S. and is prohibited from moving money internationally, or when Israelis can’t update their Windows operating systems to the latest and most secure version and when AIPAC has to register as a foreign agent. Then the safe money is on seeing a new political reality followed by highly productive and successful negotiations with the Palestinains faster than you can say, Am Yisrael Chai!

    • John O
      February 1, 2016, 3:43 am

      Some of that hi-tech military stuff doesn’t look so hot:

      link to theguardian.com

      “A joint UK-US intelligence programme has been spying on electronic feeds – including video – from Israel’s military drones and jet fighters going back to 1998.

      In a potentially embarrassing disclosure for Israel, which prides itself on its technical capabilities, a new release from material held by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has revealed that UK and US intelligence officials have been regularly accessing Israeli cockpit cameras even in the midst of operations in Gaza and Lebanon.”

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        February 1, 2016, 10:53 am

        Yeah, I read that too. It actually makes me think even less of the UK and US – they had first-hand evidence that Israel was killing civilians, but chose to do nothing about it. On the other hand, it’s got to be an ‘ouch’ moment for ‘start-up nation’. Israel quite literally sells itself on its ‘high-tech’ expertise, but these reveations call that into question big time.

        Seriously, are there any Israeli ‘selling points’ that are not at best overrated, at worst outright lies?

  11. Another Dave
    February 1, 2016, 4:13 pm

    I have just finished a new ‘most terrible’ book. Not terrible because it was bad, it was terrible because of the subject matter.

    The name was “The American Slave Coast” I highly recommend reading it if you’re interested in history.

    The reason I mention it is because another group of people acted in a similar manner to the South Africans and the Israelis, a few generations ago. The planter society of what became the USA.

    Certainly, the Israelis don’t own slaves, but they do have the attitudes of the people who once did. And are nearly as ornery as those people were when their society was criticized.

    Humans, eh?

  12. inbound39
    February 1, 2016, 4:26 pm

    Just to clarify a point,New Zealand passports were in fact stolen and forged by Mossad Agents and they were caught red handed in New Zealand. Mentally handicapped peoples identities were used as were the identities of of babies and children who had died. The Israel Diplomatic Entourage was expelled from NZ and their Embassy closed. Agents caught were jailed. Israel never apologised. Move on to the election of National Party John Keyes as Prime Minister who incidently is Jewish. Within his first month in office the Israeli Embassy in New Zealand was silently reopened with no Public statement nor mention of it in the Media. The Ambassador was on TV when Protective Edge was in the News. He came across as arrogant and racist and looked slovenly and unwashed like a settler. He has made no other appearance on NZ TV.

  13. RoHa
    February 2, 2016, 3:47 am

    NZ took much firmer action than Australia did. That nice Mr Rudd expelled a diplomat who was the local head of Mossad, but Julia Gillard, his deputy PM, was strongly pro-Israel, and would have been a restraining hand behind the scenes. Opposition leader Tony Abbott said it was an overreaction, and Julie Bishop (our current Foreign Minister, with the mad,, staring, eyes) justified Israel by saying that ASIO and ASIS did the same sort of thing. (Pssst! Julie, you are not supposed to reveal what ASIO and ASIS do. )

    And, when you mention that Keyes is Jewish, I hope you are not hinting at any sort of dual loyalty. You know what sort of trope that would be.

    • inbound39
      February 2, 2016, 6:28 pm

      When it comes to NZ…..Like Australia……America says jump and Australia and NZ ask how high. Kiwi’s watered down and then withdrew their Resolution on Palestine and the Occupation. What you see and hear is how anyone deduces what is going on….you need to look at the faces around the person acting out and talking too. Awareness.

  14. James North
    February 2, 2016, 4:27 pm

    I’ve been traveling (to the Iowa caucuses), and I’m in the air again soon, so I won’t have time to give the comments on my post the attention they deserve. I do promise that in due course I will do another post after pondering what other Mondoweiss visitors have said on this subject.

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