The moment has come for the soft left to develop a backbone and make a stand against reactionary, expansionist Zionism.
by Phil Hall and Naeem Ali Jundyeh
LET’S be clear. It was the United States and British governments who were the powerful supporters of apartheid between 1948 and 1990. Those governments and the corporations based in the US and Britain with investments in South Africa kept apartheid alive.
The US and Britain, above all, ensured, through the IMF, that when there was a change, there would no redistributive tax or programme of nationalisations, despite the Freedom Charter, and that the aspirations of South Africans for economic and social justice would not be met.
Many Jews turned against Zionism at that point and they were not “self-hating”; they were acting as human beings who had conserved their moral compass.
Apartheid’s other important ally at the time was Israel. It was through Israel that South Africa acquired nuclear weapons.This amounted to a powerful vote of confidence from the reactionary Zionist state for its sister Apartheid state.
Apartheid began in May 1948 and the state of zionist Israel was proclaimed by David Ben Gurion in the same month in 1948. Both governments were recognised immediately by the US and Britain.
Apartheid was not only a racialist philosophy, but the Dutch Reformed Church (now repentant) believed in the divine right of the colonialists (who arrived from the Netherlands in 1652) to African land.
anti-semitism has been a building block of European Christian culture from the time of the Romans
The so-called Afrikaaners believed that their right to possess the land was consecrated by God after the Battle of Blood River, which the Voortrekkers won with superior weapons even though they were outnumbered.
According to the Dutch Reformed Church, the black inhabitants of South Africa were the children of Ham, Noah’s accursed son in the Bible, and, according to that church, black South Africans were destined to be servants of the newly arrived Europeans because they were regarded as “hewers of wood and drawers of water.”
The Dutch colonial narrative of the Biblical right to colonise Africa is just one example of the use of religion to justify colonialism all over the world.
In the end the Zionist narrative — impossibly tragic and grand as it is, despite the millennial dream of heimat and the millennial nightmare of European persecution — can also be reduced to a lie; a lie used as an excuse to take the land away from an “inferior” people and colonise it.
I met a young US zionist and asked her: “How is it possible to justify the legitimacy of a country like Israel when it is created simply by taking it away from its inhabitants through force? Murder and theft is not a proper basis for the formation of a new country, is it?”
She looked at me wryly for a moment. “Isn’t it?”
And at that moment I realised she was right. Genocides and theft were the foundation stones of the USA, Canada , Australia and quite a few other countries.
In contrast, despite the immeasurable injustices perpetrated on the majority of South African people, the Apartheid government never resorted to genocide. Genocide of the Palestinians by the reactionary Zionists will never be permitted by the international community.
Fifty million people were killed in the second world war — most of them Russians, communists or socialists. But the case of the six million Jews who were killed using the industrial methods of the slaughterhouse generated deep sympathy and a sense of contrition throughout Europe.
The emperor has no clothes. Reactionary Zionism is apartheid.
There was the dawning realisation that anti-semitism had always been endemic in Europe — that anti-semitism has been a building block of European Christian culture from the time of the Romans. We all know the ridiculous story that suggests that Pontius Pilate, who sent Jesus, the rebellious Jew, to be crucified, was innocent and that the horrible death of Jesus the Jew was caused by the Jews themselves.
This European bad conscience allowed the migration of Jewish settlers to Palestine. Many of the first Jewish settlers were idealistic. Many of them came in a spirit of social optimism.
The British allowed the European Jews to arrive and settle. At that time after the war Europe was still the world colonial power. Palestine was a British protectorate. Neither the Palestinians nor any of the people of other colonised countries had any say over whether Jewish settlements in Palestine should be allowed.
Genocide of the Palestinians by the reactionary Zionists will never be permitted by the international community.
But, over the decades, the enormous goodwill towards the Jews who had been the victims of a uniquely horrifying crime of mass extermination was slowly squandered by the reactionary Zionist colonialists.
Many of those Jews who had been inspired by the example of relatively peaceful and idealistic settlements that did not steal land from Palestinians and aimed at peaceful coexistence were revolted when the ultra-right zionist Irgun blew up the King David Hotel in 1946, killing 96 people and injuring 46.
Then, in what the Palestinians call the Nakba (the great tragedy) 1.5 million Palestinians were driven out of their country. People in villages like Kafir Qasim were made to leave. Forty nine were killed when they refused. This policy of pogroms against the Palestinians continued in villages like Quibya in 1954.
Many Jews turned against reactionary Zionism at that point and they were not “self-hating”; they were acting as human beings who had conserved their moral compass.
The case against apartheid South Africa was clear cut. The government was unacceptably racist, the result of a rump European colonialism. Nevertheless, for strategic, economic and ideological reasons NATO, the US, Britain, Germany, France and Japan continued to support it to the hilt from 1948 up until the late ’80s.
Glossy brochures of the mangled corpses of the victims at Auschwitz and other camps are handed out at every peace summit to justify the persecution of Palestinians
But Israel, thanks to the guilty conscience of the anti-semitic European ruling class, and the strategic oil interests of the US — where Israel behaves as the US’s proxy in the region — continues to receive qualified support from the large Western states. Israel gets this support despite the fact that Israel has clearly created its own horrific apartheid state, with Palestinians given the choice of emigration and refugee status (4.5 million) or living in the enormous ghettos that Israel has created for them in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
If you challenge an apologist for reactionary Zionist Israel on the situation of the Palestinians they will first invoke the Holocaust. Glossy brochures of the mangled corpses of the victims at Auschwitz and other camps are handed out at every peace summit to justify the persecution of Palestinians.
Then they will say that reactionary Zionism is not racism because Jews are of many nationalities, including Arab Jews from Yemen and African Jews. And then they will claim that Israel is a democracy, unlike — and the finger points at the autocratic Arab nations that are Israel’s neighbours.
The crimes committed against the Palestinian people are much worse than those committed against South Africans.
If these arguments were ever a real defense of European colonialism of an Arab nation, who knows? But the continual shooting and bombing, the assassination of legitimate national leaders – including, in many people’s view, Yasser Arafat, the constant persecution and oppression of Palestinians — including the killing, torture and imprisonment of Palestinian children — has worn any ideological justification for a reactionary Zionist state of Israel down to nothing. The emperor has no clothes. reactionary Zionism is apartheid.
And then, just to remind us of this fact, two years ago reactionary Zionists presented the world with a new Sharpeville. We watched as a new Sharpeville unfolded; Palestinians on Return to the Land Day were shot in the back as they ran away from armed soldiers and our own historical memory suddenly resurfaced.
In South Africa on March 21 1960 the South African police killed 69 protesters and wounded 110. Most of the people at Sharpeville were shot in the back. Black South Africans were protesting at the fact that they were not allowed into their own cities without a “pass.”
In Palestine in the Return to the Land protests, according to the Guardian, 190 Palestinians were killed and 23,000 injured, many with live ammunition. Most of them were shot in the back. They were protesting at the fact that they are not allowed to go back to their own homes, taken from them.
The crimes committed against the Palestinian people are much worse than those committed against South Africans. At a time when Israel is annexing Palestinian territories and trampling into Jerusalem, the moment has come for the soft left to develop a backbone, to make a stand against reactionary expansionist Zionism. But what do we see? Everywhere they run from accusations of antisemitism as if opposing Israel and opposing Jews were the same thing.
- Reprinted with minor alterations, from an article in the Morning Star