Tidbits From Israel
By Ron Jager
A South African man who acted as a sign-language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service turned out to be a fraud who simply made childish hand gestures and sign-language gibberish for hours as he stood on stage next to President Obama and other world leaders. Organizations representing the hearing-impaired say the man made no sense in any language. Perhaps he symbolized the way his country is going.
So, with all the recent talk about South Africa, Nelson Mandela the myth, and Nelson Mandela the man, it’s a good opportunity to discuss another myth, one that also makes no sense: that of Israel being an apartheid state, an accusation made by Mandela’s country.
The South African system that Mandela so stridently fought was immoral and unacceptable among modern nations. The idea of second-class status for any group is anathema to Westerners, unless the victims are non-Muslims (Jews and Christians) in Islamic-ruled nations in the Middle East or Africa. Apartheid is rampant in most Islamic nations, yet is largely ignored by the world media and human-rights organizations.
Not surprisingly, rather than anyone pointing this out with the same enthusiasm usually reserved for criticizing the Jews, little Israel has borne the major brunt of false accusations of apartheid towards its own minority population. Human-rights organizations and assorted NGOs throughout the world have justified boycotting Israel exactly because of this, accusing Israel of being an “apartheid state.”
South Africa, the nation that gave apartheid to the world and suffered most because of it, has itself become a world center of finger-pointing, accusing Israel of being an apartheid state and actively promoting the boycott of Israel. After the apartheid regime in South Africa was annulled, the same people who suffered most from racial discrimination are themselves employing similar tactics against Israel, promoting the very same behavior from which they have suffered and fought to abolish.
Those who remain silent on the refugee crises in Darfur; the attacks on refugees from Zimbabwe; the brutal slaughter of innocent men, women, and children in Syria—these same hypocritical left-wing human-rights groups of South Africa are the first to jump on the anti-Israel bandwagon, blabbering about Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian Arabs. South Africans have little right to point an accusing finger at anyone. Today’s South Africa is still a far cry from the non-discriminatory, developing society it claims to be in its post-apartheid period.
Just this past summer, South African police officers shot 34 striking miners in the midst of a labor dispute. Where are the human-rights groups of South Africa? The current South African government claimed there was no other choice but to shoot 34 striking miners in cold blood. Evidently, the post-apartheid regime justifies the use of live fire to settle labor disputes. South Africa’s National Police Commissioner, Riah Phiyega, was quoted following the terrible massacre at the platinum mine as saying, “This is not the time for blaming or finger-pointing.” The government’s official website referred to the incident as a “tragedy.” It is not hard to imagine what the South African government’s website would have said had Israeli forces shot dead 34 workers.
As for South Africa’s white population, who theoretically are a minority with equal rights, their situation is not promising. Discrimination against, and persecution and murder of, South African whites is worsening yearly, and many of the same human-rights organizations that fought for the abolition of apartheid shrug off this systematic elimination of South Africa’s white population as justified retribution due the “oppressors.” In its most recent annual report, Genocide Watch places South Africa at stage 5 (“polarization”) of its “8 Stages of Genocide” (the same assessment it gives “Israel/Palestine”).
(As an aside, some may wish to note that the arrival of whites in South Africa dates back further than that of the ancestors of many of the nation’s majority black population. The first Dutch settlers, who became known as “Boers” or “Afrikaners,” landed on Africa’s shores in 1652, while many blacks migrated to South Africa later as foreign labor looking for employment due to the relative economic prosperity generated by the new white settlers. Since life in racist South Africa was vastly preferable to that in surrounding nations, it had long been attractive to black labor immigrants.)
South Africa is sliding into the abyss. We have witnessed similar deterioration throughout the Middle East, which for years used the Palestinian Arab conflict as a diversion from their brutal and discriminatory policies denying basic human rights for their own citizens. The Arab Spring showed the pent-up rage and primal anger that exploded in the major cities of all the Arab capitals. In the same manner, South Africa will implode, due to its unsustainable disregard for the basic human rights of its own people. So as South Africa slides into self-destruction, the volume of accusations against Israel, accusing her of being the reincarnation of the apartheid state, will receive widespread coverage; but in the end, South Africa will become just another black totalitarian state with not an iota of democracy or human rights. v
Ron Jager is a 25-year veteran of the Israel Defense Forces, where he served as a field mental-health officer and as commander of the central psychiatric military clinic for reserve soldiers at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring from active duty in 2005, he has been providing consultancy services to NGOs, implementing psychological trauma treatment programs in Israel. Ron currently serves as a strategic advisor at the Office of the Chief Foreign Envoy of Judea and Samaria. To contact him, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ronjager.com.