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Binding Ties

A new book probes Israel’s murky relationship with apartheid South Africa

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John Vorster, South Africa’s prime minister from 1966 to 1978. (AFP/Getty Images)
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Half a century ago, Albie Sachs sat defiantly on a bench designated “for non-whites only.” Today he sits on South Africa’s highest court.

That Israel traded with apartheid South Africa is well known. But the extent of it, and even more the nature of it, have been shrouded in mystery. Sasha Polakow-Suransky, a senior editor at Foreign Affairs, exposes the details in his new book, The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship With Apartheid South Africa—together with the disinformation, lies, and hypocrisy that kept them hidden for so long.

In doing this he gives rise to questions about the place of morality in a country’s foreign policies.

On May 14, 1948, Israel declared independence. Less than two weeks later, in an unrelated event, South Africa’s whites adopted the policy of apartheid—Afrikaans for “apartness”—to enshrine in law a system that made them dominant and to deepen racial segregation. Israel made its disapproval plain: As David Ben-Gurion, the father of the new nation, said, “A Jew cannot be for discrimination.” Israel regularly voted against South Africa in international forums. With only minimal contact between the two countries, Israel instead became a friend and helper of Africa’s emerging independent states.

As Polakow-Suranksy notes, the 1967 Six Day War was a turning point. Arab states used their oil wealth to pressure Africans to sever relations with Israel; France ceased arms supplies, and Israel looked to its own resources and turned to the United States. At home, the right wing was gaining strength and declaring an ideological affinity with South Africa’s whites, despite the anti-Semitism among the ruling Afrikaners, which during the 1930s and 1940s had manifested itself with support for Nazi Germany. (This anti-Semitism, which reached back into the 19th century, is surprisingly understated by Polakow-Suransky.)

The early 1970s saw dramatic changes in Israel’s strategic thinking: It was now an occupier on the West Bank and Gaza, and world opinion, especially on the left, was turning against it. The Soviet Union was more pro-Arab and anti-Zionist. The old Labor Zionists were dying out and being replaced by sabras—homegrown Israelis—and hardened military men and securocrats: Moshe Dayan, Yitzhak Rabin, and Shimon Peres.

Polakow-Suransky says these leaders “saw Israeli security as paramount and they were willing to make moral compromises in order to ensure it. It was precisely this worldview that would drive the alliance with South Africa.”

The book is a chronicle of this alliance. It’s the outcome of six years’ doctoral research at Oxford University and reflects impressive perseverance in getting access to secret documents and interviewing more than 100 key players.

Polakow-Suransky notes that by late 1972 Israel had decided against criticizing South Africa at the United Nations. The aftermath of the Yom Kippur War the next year took relations further: Whereas 20 more African countries severed links with Israel, South Africa supplied spare parts for damaged Mirage fighter planes. The left-wing Haaretz newspaper editorialized: “No political fastidiousness can justify the difference between one who has been revealed a friend and one who has betrayed friendship … in our hour of fate.”

The war also had calamitous economic effects, costing Israel an entire year’s worth of gross national product; yet, after having come so close to defeat and annihilation, military expenditure was increased the next year by 40 percent. The domestic arms industry became a savior: Exports increased nearly fifteenfold from $70 million in 1973 to nearly $1 billion in 1981.

As Israel’s military-industrial complex expanded, so did its influence, as did that of the army officers who moved from battlefield to boardroom and used every opportunity to lobby for the defense industry.

The fast-developing relationship between Israel and South Africa was kept hidden, with knowledge of it confined to the defense ministries and high levels of government. On April 3, 1975, relations were formalized in a secret agreement signed by Peres, as then-defense minister, and his South African counterpart, P.W. Botha.

Some indication of what was going on came to light a year later when Prime Minister John Vorster made an official visit to Israel. It caused outrage, at least among some: Vorster not only headed an increasingly oppressive regime, but he had been interned during World War II because of his Nazi sympathies.

Polakow-Suransky recounts interviewing me about the visit; I told him I had watched it on television at my home in Johannesburg and had walked out of the room in disgust at the sight of Vorster, an honored guest of the Israeli government, visiting Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial center in Jerusalem.

Arthur Goldreich had a more directly bruising experience: He had escaped from a police cell in South Africa after being arrested as a major player in the underground resistance led by Nelson Mandela. He later settled in Israel and became a distinguished architect and artist. As Polakow-Suransky recounts, Goldreich was plastering telephone poles with posters featuring Vorster’s name alongside swastikas, when an elderly man spat on a poster. “At first he thought the man might be a disgruntled South African immigrant who supported apartheid, then he got a closer look at the vandal. ‘He had an Auschwitz number on his arm,’ Goldreich recalls. The Holocaust survivor lashed out at Goldreich, telling him, ‘We will make agreements with the devil to save Jews from persecution and to secure the future of this state.’

“He was left speechless as the old man walked away. ‘That was the climate of the time,’ Goldreich recalls with dismay.”

Polakow-Suransky comments: “The old man’s diatribe represented the views of the young, security-minded technocrats running the country as much as those of the older generation of fearful Holocaust survivors. There was an acute sense that Israel’s existence was threatened and that most of the world didn’t care—and that those that did had betrayed the Jewish state in its hour of need.”

In May 1977, Menachem Begin was voted in as prime minister and was more than happy to violate the new U.N. embargo against arms sales to South Africa. Thus the pattern was set, and it continued for nearly 20 years. South Africa became Israel’s largest arms buyer, soon accounting for 35 percent of military exports (other customers were similarly unpleasant regimes such as Argentina, Chile, and Zaire). South Africa also paid for combat training and the joint production of weapons. The total military trade over two decades is estimated at $10 billion.

The two countries grew even closer as a result of their cooperation in developing missiles to carry nuclear weapons and the weapons themselves. Polakow-Suransky explores these sub-plots, noting that during the 1980s as many as 75 Israeli experts worked “quietly” in South Africa, and more than 250 South Africans went to Israel.

With so much hidden, an anything-goes atmosphere came into being, opening the way for Israeli opportunists and crooks to plunge into profitable ventures in the apartheid-created tribal Bantustans.

South Africa’s motivation for partnership was obvious: It was an international pariah and grabbed what friends it could. Israel, also shunned by many, was motivated by the same sort of expediency as countries throughout the world that traded with South Africa, whether openly or surreptitiously. South Africa had vast strategic value, magnified during the Cold War, as a treasure chest of minerals that industry in the West needed to survive. Whatever the disapproval of apartheid in the capitals of the United States, Germany, Britain, France, Canada, and the rest, the policy over many years was to support the status quo of white rule so as to keep out the Soviet Union.

African nations, even while providing bases for liberation forces, boycotted or traded when it suited them. Thus sundry capitals, when hosting conferences of the then Organization of African Unity, shipped in luxury cars from South Africa, plus carpets and fine foods and wines (with labels, it is said, changed to disguise the origin).

The Soviet Union was strong on anti-apartheid rhetoric and supported liberation movements with money, training, and arms. But it also worked closely with South Africa’s De Beers company to ensure mutually profitable control of world diamond prices.

Above all, apartheid could not have lasted for any length of time without the oil that came largely from the Middle East. In 1973, Arab states agreed to implement the U.N.’s (unsuccessful) 10-year-old embargo. But apart from a few critical weeks, South Africa never lacked oil. It is known that both Iran and Iraq, during their 1980-1988 war, sold oil and bought arms in return. That apart, South Africa bought oil at a premium on the high seas through middlemen. The argument that these were not state-to-state dealings and therefore do not compare with the Israel-South Africa links does not carry weight: Did Saudi Arabian and other rulers not know where their oil was going?

So, was Israel as cynical and uncaring as everyone else in dealing with South Africa? Whether its arms sales and help in the nuclear sphere were more amoral or immoral and more supportive of apartheid than was the supply of oil is a matter for debate. Whether its survival was truly at stake and it was compelled to sell arms to South Africa (as it did too, incidentally, to the post-revolution Iran of the ayatollahs) is difficult to assess these years later; Peres and his cohorts believed it to be the case in the circumstances and climate of the time. Whether the Israeli public would have responded with disgust and demanded a halt to the trading had the extent of it been known also cannot be said.

There is another dimension. If Israel had held its nose, so to speak, while cooperating with apartheid then the worst that could be said was that it behaved no better and no worse than the rest of the world. Unhappily, there was more to it because Polakow-Suransky presents repeated evidence of the enthusiasm with which Israeli leaders behaved. He says letters between military leaders were “characterized by a remarkable sense of familiarity and friendship.” The sense of a “shared predicament had become so strong that Israeli and South African generals saw fighting the African National Congress and the Palestine Liberation Organization as a shared mission.”

In November 1974, Shimon Peres went to South Africa for secret meetings. Upon his return home, he wrote to his hosts to thank them for helping to establish a “vitally important link between the two governments.” Peres, who routinely denounced apartheid in public, went on: “This cooperation is based not only on common interests and on the determination to resist equally our enemies, but also on the unshakeable foundations of our common hatred of injustice and refusal to submit to it.”

“Common hatred of injustice”? Could a Jewish leader have sunk any lower than to make that comparison?

In October 1980, General Magnus Malan was appointed South Africa’s Defense Minister and received a congratulatory letter from Israel, from General Yonah Efrat, the former head of the IDF’s Central Command who had helped create the alliance: “May the Mighty God be with you in all you do.”

Public dissimulation concealed the cozy messages: “Disguise and denial became the norm,” says Polakow-Suransky. In 1986, Peres, then prime minister, was again cultivating black Africa and visited Cameroon. He publicly criticized South Africa and told President Paul Biya: “A Jew who accepts apartheid ceases to be a Jew. A Jew and racism do not go together.”

Yet at that time the links with South Africa were as strong as ever, and Polakow-Suransky points out that “some of the biggest contracts and cooperative ventures went into effect on Peres’ watch [as prime minister] from 1984 to 1986. While publicly demonizing apartheid, he simply maintained the alliance that he himself had initiated a decade earlier as defense minister.”

In the same vein, in November 1986, Benyamin Netanyahu, then ambassador to the United Nations and a rising Likud star, gave a powerful anti-apartheid speech at the world body. He denied Israel’s links with South Africa. Was he the innocent dupe of the securocrats in telling a lie?

In the United States, the Anti-Defamation League, and in South Africa, the Jewish Board of Deputies, played toadying and inglorious roles over the years in defending Israel’s ties and in support of the apartheid government.

The tide began to turn in the early 1980s. Israel’s left was energized by massive public protests against the war in Lebanon and the Sabra and Shatila massacres, and there was also a developing rift between the defense establishment and the diplomatic corps. Young diplomats argued for morality in foreign policy and also for getting on board the world’s developing movement for sanctions against South Africa.

In March 1987 the Israeli cabinet voted to “refrain from new undertakings, between Israel and South Africa, in the realm of defense.” In September the cabinet issued a comprehensive sanctions package, including no new investments in South Africa and no promotion of tourism.

But, Polakow-Suransky notes, “in practice it amounted to little more than a cosmetic gesture. Ultimately, the sanctions had hardly any impact on the flourishing trade between the two countries, especially in the defense sector, where multibillion-dollar contracts signed before 1967 remained in effect.”

It all ended after the new South Africa emerged in 1994: Israel found alternative export markets such as China and India, and South Africa turned to Europe for arms.

These days, the African National Congress has forgiven the past and, as the government of South Africa, maintains polite relations with Israel (and is friendly, too, with the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and other previous apartheid traders). It condemns Israeli occupation but generally supports both Palestinian freedom and Israel’s right to existence.

Cooperation could be extended, to everyone’s benefit: Israel could learn from the process of dialogue with the enemy that ended apartheid; Palestinians could learn from the ANC’s nonviolence toward civilians during its struggle. Israel, in turn, has much to offer South Africa, such as agricultural and technical expertise. For Israel, it would be fitting recompense for the past to have South Africa play a significant mediating role between Israelis and Palestinians in securing peace.

Finally, if so many nations were in bed with apartheid, why single out Israel for special attention, as Polakow-Suransky does so effectively? The answer, at least for me, as a Jew and an Israeli, is that he is right to do so because the moral stain remains, and some who were involved still enjoy high office in Israel. Even more, what they did cannot be compartmentalized: Rotten behavior in one sphere carries over into other areas of society. That is evident in Israel’s crude policy and behavior on the West Bank and Gaza, where morality does not apply; in the abusive way in which some Israeli Jews treat Israeli Arabs; and in the spate of corruption scandals emerging from the innermost recesses of the Israeli establishment in business and government.

Other nations can decide for themselves about their past. Israel must deal with itself, especially with a past that hangs so heavily over the present.

Benjamin Pogrund was deputy editor of the Rand Daily Mail in Johannesburg and was later founding director of Yakar’s Center for Social Concern in Jerusalem. He is currently a visiting fellow at the Kaplan Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Cape Town and is writing a book about Israel and apartheid.

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Ivan Stoler says:

When Nelson Mandela was criticized for the ANC having relations with Libya, E Germany and other enlightened states he answered, “This man (Qaddafi) helped us at a time when we were all alone, when those who say we should not come here (Britain and the US) were helping the enemy”

Stephen Rifkin says:

It may be delusional to assert that SA has ‘polite’ relations with Israel. It is firmly in the axis of Iran and the rhetoric of both countries is sometimes indistinguishable. Current and former ANC leaders foment a nearly daily tirade of anti Israel and antisemitic nonsense. The trade unions are attempting to enact a regular round of boycotts against Israel. ANC and trade union leaders have openly called what, in any other country would be called pogroms. But since it IS SA, they are officially and forever sainted with the ownership of the word ‘apartheid’ and thus can do no wrong.

Lily Brull says:

Let us not forget another fact: Nelson Mandella was hidden and sheltered for many months in the home of a Jew. Once liberated, the first “world leader” he met with was Yasser Arafat. Spare us your hypocrisy.

Doug Greener says:

After admitting that every country — and I do mean every country — had profitable relations with apartheid-era South Africa, the reviewer asks, why then single out Israel? And the amazing answer is because we sounded like we were enjoying it too much! How can anybody believe that this is not just one more salvo in the campaign to delegitimize Israel? Everybody does it — but only Israel is pilloried! Every country fights a war to win, with “disproportionate force” and civilian casualties — but only Israel is condemned! Nelson Mandela hugs that arch-terrorist Yassir Arafat because the PLO “stood with his struggle,” and no one utters a word of disgust. Only Israel is damned because we act in our own national interests.

The book and the review are trash; at least the responses add a modicum of common sense.

Sam Shaler says:

Interesting that Richard Goldstone was recently pilloried in Israel for collaborating as a judge with the apartheid regime….Collective amnesia, maybe?

JOSHUA says:

So Israel had a relationship with SA. So did most Western countries.

This is more insane Jewish self flaggelation.

Has my comment from May. 22, 2010 at 4:04 pm been overlooked, only there have been four comments approved since I submitted the following:

Mark Elf says:
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
May. 21, 2010 at 9:16 pm

Israel Shahak wrote of Jews who support liberal causes whilst supporting zionism and suggested that they use the former as cover for the latter. Benjamin Pongrund is a classic example of the type.

Google “Smuts and Weizmann” and several sites appear demonstrating the strategic and ideological alliance between colonialism in South Africa and zionism in Palestine that go back to the turn of the 20th century.

Pogrund claims that post-67 it was “Arab oil wealth” that led to African states to be bullied into severing relations with Israel. How about the fact that post-67 Israel occupied a large chunk of Africa? The anti-apartheid activist, Pogrund, is stereotyping Arabs as oil rich and negating the idea that anyone might act against Israel on the principle that it is a colonial settler state based on ethnic cleansing and racist laws.

He also tries to make out that in 1973 Israel had come “close to defeat and annihilation”. Israel did suffer a defeat and had to return Sinai to Egypt as a result but annihilation? The anti-apartheid activist, Pogrund, is simply stereotyping Arabs as mindless killers without a cause.

Pogrund has a record of opposition to apartheid in South Africa so he has an undeserved credibility on Palestine but to describe some of his writing on Palestine as disingenuous would be a compliment to the man, certainly an understatement.
Now please moderate it through asap because I don’t see any analytical critique of the article from an anti-zionist perspective.


David Hersch says:

I know Benjy Pogrund and like him, but not necessarily always his views or politics. What he writes is summed up in the penultimate paragraph. He writes:

“The answer, at least for me, as a Jew and an Israeli, is that he is right to do so because the moral stain remains, and some who were involved still enjoy high office in Israel. Even more, what they did cannot be compartmentalized: Rotten behavior in one sphere carries over into other areas of society.”

Yet Benjy already acknowledges in the article that one cannot judge in hindsight the circumstances then prevalent. And is this simplistic assumption valid? Politics, real necessity and hard and Real Politic make for strange bedfellows and circumstances dictate survival and so-called morality. He acknowledges that the whole of Africa, whom Israel had tried to assist in huge ways at a time when she herself was still a fledgling state, (I knew some of Israel’s “Peace Corps” at the time personally and still do) had completely rejected and abandoned Israel. Israel’s need for arms and to export arms to help finance her own military industry to make her independent as she could not rely on any country. In a way we have a repeat of history right now with the US and Obama. France after 1967, Israel’s major arms supplier until then because the US and Britain refused to help her, instantly ceased to supply Israel and it was as if France cut the vital water mains. The Holocaust survivor referred to by Benjy was correct and these arm-chair lefty liberals with their shallow sense of show-time morality, are conveniently clueless. In addition, he hints briefly at the USSR and what she was up to, but not enough. It was a very different and dangerous world and everything should be viewed in terms of the cold-war and all the strategic moves Russia and the West were making, including that the USSR saw the Middle East as the soft underbelly of Europe and acted accordingly.

To answer this shallow take on history during the Apartheid years and simplistic accusations, the US helped the SA Navy to crack the Morse coded positions of Russian Kresta craft around our coast at the time. Germany, current supplier of South Africa’s latest warships, supplied the Plath antennae and Direction Finding equipment used. Many officers in charge at the time were ex-Royal Navy who previously helped impose the British mandate in Palestine. The Hercules aircraft in the SAAF that flew personnel and equipment from Rooikop Airforce Base, SWA to Cape Town were supplied by the US. The French supplied the Mirage in the South African Air Force. Let’s get real Benjy and Polakow-Surnansky.

Apartheid South Africa was Israel’s only partner in a continent populated by pro-Soviet, pro-Arab, corrupt, dictatorial and sometimes downright crazy and evil regimes. The pro-Soviet ANC was denouncing Israel’s very right to exist sharing overseas offices with Arafat’s PLO, both clients of the USSR. So Israel had a pragmatic relationship with Pretoria. So what? It didn’t stop Israel from criticising South Africa’s Apartheid policies and voting against this country in the UN.

Progrund continues:

“That is evident in Israel’s crude policy and behavior on the West Bank and Gaza, where morality does not apply; in the abusive way in which some Israeli Jews treat Israeli Arabs; and in the spate of corruption scandals emerging from the innermost recesses of the Israeli establishment in business and government.”

Well, here we have a broad statement, which I completely reject, and is made without proof or specific example and is more opinion than necessarily fact. If you know Benjy’s politics and activities at the Yakar Centre, you will get a more insightful picture of where this last bit comes from. He talks about “the abusive way in which Israeli Jews treat Arabs”. Really?! The principle of one Swallow not making Summer applies here. Much, much more proof and example is required and this reeks of personally agendised sweeping statement and as such must be completely rejected. I know Benjy is a Zionist, but his lefty slip is showing and I have personal experience of Benjy saying one thing to a Jewish audience and another immediately thereafter, within half an hour, to a public or ANC audience where his agenda is to ingratiate himself to that audience. It was almost as if two different people were talking and Benjy criticises Peres and others? Bloody chutzpah! I could question the two-faced expediency and say it is akin to what he does.

Shallow is as shallow does. Yes, certain Afrikaners did support the Nazis. The government during WWII was lead by an Afrikaner, Jan Smuts, and a vast majority of them fought in the South African Forces during the war. One of the debates about this at the time was the still lingering hatred for the British amongst the Afrikaners because of the Boer War, which only ended thirty seven years before and lead to great Afrikaner suffering, death and poverty. Many of them may have been children in the Concentration Camps the British established in this country and many who had fought were still alive and, as a result, sided with the Nazis as they were against the British. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Do I have to remind you of Perfidious Albion in its similar treatment of the Jews during the Mandate and the biased support the British showed the Arabs? Yet in 1948, DF Malan, an Afrikaner Nationalist Prime Minister was the first head of government in the world to visit Israel. In 1973, The Yom Kippur War, South Africa, without hesitation, emptied her arms and ammunition supplies to assist Israel in a most critical time when the survival of Israel was touch and go. A far more nuanced, balanced and in-depth study would be in order. There was much the Israelis and Afrikaners found in common, including standing alone in a virulently aggressive and rejectionist world. One cannot discount their mutual belief in the Bible either.

Increasingly Israel is being judged in hindsight and to talk of a “moral stain” is to buy into the propaganda of Israel’s enemies whilst the truly evil countries, regimes and her enemies are let off scott-free. I wonder if people like Benjy ponder some of the words they use and write? We now know that sticks and stones may break our bones and more than anything, names and words do enormous harm. Use them more carefully Benjy. Words are precious and are also weapons.

Whilst applying Benjy and Polakow-Surnansky’s faulty, convenient and problematic 20/20 hindsight, none of us knows for sure whether Israel has atomic weapons or not. If it does have them, and these turn out to be either a deterent or necessarily have to be used as a defence of last resort and are used, and this saves Israel and the Jewish people, where would Benjy and Polakow-Surnansky stand then? Unlike Polakow-Surnansky, Benjy lives in Jerusalem and would be directly saved by such circumstances. It is alleged that Israel may have the bomb thanks to South Africa and its co-operation with it at that time. So nu Benjy, what would you and Polakow-Surnansky write then?

I am afraid that I increasingly feel that Benjy is long past his sell-by date and how ever much he is rolled out with his “Struggle” credentials in front of the ruling ANC, it no longer holds water for them and means absolutely nothing. I will always admire his bravery during the Apartheid years and admire his Zionism and love for Israel, but that certainly doesn’t mean he can flash his laurels forever and that he is automatically right, oops, wrong word, lets settle for correct and wise.

Cape Town

Blacklisted Dictator says:

Benjamin Pogrund should note that his review has received, pride of place, on Zackie Acmat’s anti-zionist blog “Writing Rights”. I will leave readers of “Tablet” to draw their own conclusions.

Blacklisted Dictator says:

Pogrund’s naivety is, perhaps best indetified, in the following quote:
“For Israel, it would be fitting recompense for the past to have South Africa play a significant mediating role between Israelis and Palestinians in securing peace.”

Perhaps the anti-semitic Fatima Hajaig could mediate? Or another one of South Africa’s appalling, anti-zionist, Deputy Foreign Ministers.

It is about time that Pogrund got off his naive moral high-horse, and joined us in the real world.

David Hoffman says:

Already by 1950,Israel and South Africa had attained a strategic understanding which underlay all the government to government cooperation over the years. This was a time just after Jan Smuts South Africa was a respected co-founder of the United Nations and at the beginning of the Cold War. Were Afrikaners wrong to fear Soviet inspired insurgencies all over Africa aimed at them? Stalin had only murdered tens of millions and was in serious competition to exercise world domination. Was Israel wrong to fear their destruction at the hands of the Arabs? Do any critics of this strategic partnership acknowledge the cogency of these two societies’ fears which brought them together? Of course not! It is easy to whitewash the global left and its murdering dictators now that China has put on a nicer mask and communism is considered such a failure. But old “self-righteousness” dies hard, and adherence to the left was truly a badge of being right for all of its proponents who still desire vindication. The impetus behind the current anti-Israel mudslinging is precisely the desire for that vindication. When the virtue of all human societies is a mixed bag and not particularly impressive and the racism of its citizens, despite the imperative for political correctness left by a century of leftist propaganda and indoctrination, is palpable, books like Polanow-Suransky’s are in fact exercises in selective demonization.

Christian Zionist says:

This is more insane Jewish self flaggelation.

Indeed – and the unwarranted anti-Israeli conclusions being drawn on the basis of Sasha Polakow-Suransky’s “research” have been ably debunked here:

There are several things hopelessly wrong with this sentence near the end of this article, which will simply provide even more fodder for the Israel-bashers and anti-Semites.:

“Finally, if so many nations were in bed with apartheid, why single out Israel for special attention, as Polakow-Suransky does so effectively?”

Not only is Israel singled out for special attention, it is vilified in a way that no other nation is even though almost all of South Africa’s weaponry and ALL OF ITS NUCLEAR KNOW HOW came from nations such as France, the US, and Communist China. Moreover, on Shimon Peres is singled out for having met with the South Africans, and only Israel is singled out for having hosted Vorster, when, in fact, every Western European country and numerous African countries hosted South Africa Prime Ministers dozens of time in the period from 1953 – 1988, during which time there were exactly two visit by a SA PM to Israel.

Polakow-Suranksy’s book and the Guardian article which gave it its publicity, which will continue to provide fodder for those who hate israel, and the gullible like Pogrund, have been utterly debunked at CiF Watch in a seried of forensic articles which reveal the out-of-context use of documents presented by Polakow-Suranksy:

Psychedelic Mushroom Clouds at the Guardian

Misquotes and Lies Guardian Style Part I

Misquotes and Lies Guardian Style Part II

It is a pity Mr. Pogrund did not read these articles before jumping on this bandwagon and adding his name to those that will be gleefully bandied about by those who hate Jews and israel.

Well, sinc this site does not “do” html, here are the links to those articles, which anyone commenting on the topic of Polakow-Suransky’s book and South Africa’s presumed nuclear ties to israel woudl do well to read:

To illustrate how biased the comments are about Vorster visiting Israel are, here is a list of the visits by South African leaders to foreign countries. Were all the leaders they met there nazi sympathizers and selling South Africa nuclear weapons:

“Isolated states: a comparative analysis” By Deon Geldenhuys, Pgs 230-231

D.F. Malan Prime Minister Britain (Commonwealth
& Coronation) 1953
D.F. Malan Prime Minister Israel 1953
D.F. Malan Prime Minister Belgium 1953
D.F. Malan Prime Minister Italy 1953
D.F. Malan Prime Minister Netherlands 1953
J.G. Strijdom Prime Minister Britain (Commonwealth) 1956
H.F. Verwoerd Prime Minister Britain (Commonwealth) 1961
B.J. Vorster Prime Minister Rhodesia 1970
B.J. Vorster Prime Minister Malawi 1970
B.J. Vorster Prime Minister Portugal 1970
B.J. Vorster Prime Minister Spain 1970
B.J. Vorster Prime Minister France 1970
B.J. Vorster Prime Minister Switzerland 1970
J. J. Fouché State President Iran 1971
J. J. Fouché State President Austria 1971
J. J. Fouché State President Malawi 1972
B.J. Vorster Prime Minister Ivory Coast 1974
B.J. Vorster Prime Minister Liberia 1975
B.J. Vorster Prime Minister Paraguay 1975
B.J. Vorster Prime Minister Uruguay 1975
B.J. Vorster Prime Minister West Germany 1976
B.J. Vorster Prime Minister Israel 1976
P.W. Botha Prime Minister Taiwan 1981
P.W. Botha Prime Minister Britain 1984
P.W. Botha Prime Minister Portugal 1984
P.W. Botha Prime Minister West Germany 1984
P,W. Botha Prime Minister Belgium 1984
P.W. Botha Prime Minister Austria 1984
P.W. Botha Prime Minister Italy 1984
P.W. Botha Prime Minister Vatican 1984
P.W. Botha Prime Minister. Switzerland 1984
P.W. Botha Prime Minister France 1984
P.W. Botha State President France 1986
P.W. Botha State President Portugal (Madeira) 1986
P.W. Botha State President Swaziland 1986
P.W. Botha State President Mozambique 1988
P.W. Botha State President Malawi 1988
P.W. Botha State President West Germany 1988
P.W. Botha State President Switzerland 1988
P.W. Botha State President Portugal 1988
P.W. Botha State President Ivory Coast 1988
P.W. Botha State President Zaire 1998

Visits abroad by South African Prime Ministers

margie says:

Was Israel wrong to have a relationship with South Africa?
Yes it was
Was it more wrong than the UK and the USA?
Was it more wrong than the African states that traded with SA at third hand?
Was it more wrong than all the countries that bought its rare metals at third hand knowing very well where they came from?
If you answer yes then you are holding Israel to an unreal unfair standard.

Israel exists on the unique basis that it is for people who do not come from there and not for people who do come from there. It’s a bit like the old South Africa except whereas the old South Africa oppressed and exploited the natives, Israel has expelled most of the natives and oppresses those who remain. Objecting to this is not holding Israel to an unfair standard.

Israel’s dealings with South Africa were far worse than the UK’s and USA’s in that both UK and USA observed the arms embargo on South Africa whereas Israel helped South Africa develop all sorts of weaponry including nuclear weapons.

I don’t know any state other than Israel where the supporters lie about its history, its aims and objectives, the arguments of its critics and the status of its victims. The imposition of Israel on the crossroads of Africa and Asia has been a deliberate humanitarian disaster for the native Palestinian people but there has been a cultural disaster inflicted on the Jews. This doesn’t make for the same pain but the domination of Jewish communities by zionists has been one of the cultural tragedies of our time.

“Israel exists on the unique basis that it is for people who do not come from there and not for people who do come from there.”

Rubbish. Jews have lived there for about 3500 years, even after most were forcibly removed. At a rough guess, even allowing for the influx from Russia and Ethiopia, 80% or more Israeli jews were born in Israel, and have been since the initial resettlement in the late 1800’s.

“I don’t know any state other than Israel where the supporters lie about its history, its aims and objectives”

You are hilarious. Let’s start with Britain’s treatment of the Irish, Welsh and Scots, America’s treatment of the Indians, Canada’s treatment of the Indians and Eskimos (belatedly recognized as the “original nations”), Australia’s treatment of the Aborigine’s, NZ’s of the Maoris, Spain and Portugal’s of the native peoples of South America, Turkey’s Armenian genocide …

AKUS – you haven’t negated a word I said except to claim that it is rubbish. The fact is that Israel is a state for the world’s Jews and not a state for people that actually come from there. Most Jews do not come from Israel and yet all Jews are invited to come and live there whilst the majority of non-Jews that come from there have been ethnically cleansed from there. The fact that now it might, just might, be the case that most Israeli Jews have been born in Israel has no relevance for who it is the state actually exists for. All other states exist on the basis that the people within their boundaries are the nation. The State of Israel’s official position is that the Jews are the nation for which Israel is the state. Israel is the only to state to emerge since WWII whose ethnic majority owes its position to the ethnic cleansing of a former ethnic majority. I know there are many states that did that kind of thing hundreds of years ago but Israel did it far more recently and is still putting pressure on the native non-Jewish population to leave.

Regarding the lying about the history, aims and objectives, arguments of opponents and the status of victims, I should have been clearer that ALL of Israel’s supporters lie about these things ROUTINELY. So let’s be clear. I still don’t know any state other than Israel where all of its supporters so routinely lie about its history, its aims and objectives, the arguments of its critics and opponents and the status of its victims. You have not named any supporters of the UK, the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Spain, Portugal, South American regimes and Turkey who routinely lie about these things.

I only know of supporters of Turkey routinely denying its history of genocide against the Armenians. But the basic position is that Turkey exists for the people within the boundaries of Turkey. The Turkish people are the nation for which Turkey is the state. Not a nice state, but which state is nice? The issue with Israel is that its on-going existence is predicated on its on-going human rights abuses. If Turkey came clean about the Armenian genocide and stopped all of its human rights abuses it would still be Turkey. If Israel ceased its on-going human rights abuses it may well cease to be Israel because the natives outnumber the settler population. Turkey, on the other hand, is not a colonial settler state.

Regarding the other states you name, none of them invite people from all around the world to come and live there whilst denying that right to people that actually come from there. Most of what we know of the genocidal campaigns of the past in these places is because historians from these countries have exposed the crimes and in many cases the leading politicians have apologised for them. Israel is in the process of forbidding what’s left of its native population from commemorating the disaster of ethnic cleansing that befell their compatriots in order that the State of Israel could be a state with a Jewish majority.

I have to say, AKUS, that when it comes to the routine dishonesty of zionists, you have really exemplified my point.

David Hersch says:

Mark Elf, you abuse this talkback facility to spew your misguided opinion and go completely off the subject of the article.

Now back to the real subject:

An open letter to Benjamin Pogrund re allegations Israel supplied nuclear weapons to apartheid SA – By Maurice Ostroff.

I do not spew, I write, same as you do. I addressed Mr Pogrund’s anti-Arab racism in my first comment and then I addressed the old “singling Israel out” chestnut which someone had brought up in the thread.

You falsely accuse me of abusing the talkback in the hope that my factual comment and truth based opinion will be censored by the moderator – and, who knows? maybe it will be.

Overall my points have been that zionism and Israel’s relationship with the old apartheid South Africa was both strategic and ideological and predates the existence of the formalised apartheid system and the State of Israel. Further, I said that there were sound African reasons for the African states to oppose Israel following Israel’s 1967 seizure of the Sinai which is part of Africa. I also said that it was racist to assert that Arabs are only motivated against Israel by irrational murderousness which was essentially what Benjamin Pogrund was saying.

I further alluded to the sheer dishonesty of supporters of zionism and the State of Israel because it was relevant to both the article which was largely disingenuous and to the comments opposing the article which were even more dishonest.

It makes me laugh (not to the point that I would spew though) that zionists are always demanding “context” (for which they mean excuses for Israel) and then cry when context is supplied.

Israel is a colonial settler state to which people from abroad have more right than the native non-Jewish population. That such a state enjoyed beneficial relations with South Africa under apartheid which ran deeper and for longer than other western states is only to be expected and the proof is abundant.

Im no expert, but I presume you just created an exceptionally great point point. You obviously know what youre talking about, and I can certainly get behind that. Thanks for getting so upfront and so truthful.

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