View from South Africa: Israel Is More Like the ANC

[Jerusalem Post] Warren Goldstein - South Africa's apartheid history is often invoked against Israel both internationally and in South Africa. But what if the real apartheid of the Middle East is the one directed against the Jews? And what if Israel is more akin to the African National Congress (ANC)? In South Africa, the ANC was always ready to talk peace. Like the ANC, the Israeli government has always been ready to talk peace but has been forced since the birth of the Jewish state into an armed defensive struggle because the anti-Semitic Arab world has not been prepared to talk peace. Unlike the ANC, Israel has not found genuine negotiating partners. What if Zionism is not colonialism but rather an ancient people's deep connection to their native, historical and covenantal land? What if the real colonialism is Arab expansionism? What if the dispute has never been about Palestinian statehood but really about the destruction of the Jews and the only Jewish state on earth? In 1917, the Balfour Declaration, confirmed later by international law through the League of Nations, declared the British Mandate of Palestine to be a national homeland for the Jewish people, recognizing 4,000 years of Jewish connection to the land, and the injustice of the forced removal of the Jewish people. In 1922 the British took 76% of the land designated for a Jewish state and allocated it instead to the Arabs, creating a new country which came to be known as Jordan, which to this day has a Palestinian majority. If the conflict is about Palestinian statehood, why - for the 19 years that Jordan controlled the West Bank and Egypt the Gaza Strip and the Arab world had the opportunity of establishing another Palestinian state in those territories - did they choose not to? The conflict is really about Arab rejection of the very presence and existence of a Jewish state, and probably any Jews at all, in the heart of the Middle East. And so the charter of Hamas calls for the murder of all Jews world-wide. And rockets from Gaza continue to target Israeli civilians even after Israel's evacuation. And the Arab world is awash with the most rabid and pernicious anti-Semitism. The writer is chief rabbi of South Africa.

2007-06-29 01:00:00

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