Palestine: The View From South Africa

Because there is a strong parallell between the history of the oppressed and the oppressors in South Africa and Israel-Palestine, and because despite the strong collaboration between the oppressors on both sides, some in the South African Jewish community fought to be on the right side of their double allegiance.

BY Alain Gresh, Le Monde Diplomatique

The strength of feeling provoked by a conflict thousands of miles away is not entirely surprising, however. It stems from the peculiar nature of the links between South Africa and Israel. By a quirk of history, just a few weeks separate the creation of Israel in May 1948 and the electoral victory of the National Party in South Africa. That election result took the existing racial segregation to a new level by bringing in the policy of apartheid or “separate development”. The leaders of the National Party were known Nazi sympathisers (John Vorster, its leader and later prime minister, was imprisoned on this account during the second world war), but they were nonetheless able to forge increasingly close relations with Israel...

...Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, who teaches at the University of Haifa, explained the paradox: “One can detest Jews and love Israelis, because Israelis somehow are not Jews. Israelis are colonial fighters and settlers, just like Afrikaners. They are tough and resilient. They know how to dominate. Jews are different. They are, among other qualities, gentle, non-physical, often passive, intellectual. So one can go on disliking Jews while admiring the Israelis”.
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Since March 29th 2006