South African Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils is well-known for his anti-Zionist views, which he regularly promotes in the pages of South African newspapers and beyond. Kasrils’ latest diatribe appears in the South African Mail & Guardian. Referring to the recent Lebanon conflict, Kasrils uses a clever sleight of hand to sum up his own feelings by quoting Norwegian writer Jostein Gaarder:
“We no longer recognize the state of Israel. We could not recognize the apartheid regime. We call child murderers ‘child murderers’. We do not recognize the principle of a thousand Arab eyes for one Israeli eye.”
Kasrils allows himself the license to project his own distorted view of Israel without taking responsibility, while failing to mention that Gaarder actually sought to distance himself from his original article that aroused high-level condemnation in Norway, where it was published.
In keeping with Kasrils’ non-recognition of Israel’s right to exist, he questions Jewish rights to their homeland while ignoring the fact that Jews had lived uninterrupted for hundreds of years before the first waves of mass immigration at the end of the 19th century. Kasrils falsely claims that “from the onset, Zionism aimed at the dispossession of the indigenous population so that Israel could become a wholly Jewish state.” This, despite all the evidence to the contrary, including Israel’s 1 million Arab citizens currently living in the state with equal rights under the law to Israel’s Jewish population.
Referring back to the 1947 UN Partition Plan, Kasrils claims that “Israel acquired the power, aid and resources to expand to 78% of the former territory”, conveniently forgetting that this territory was actually acquired in wars of self-defense as a direct result of Arab attacks from those very territories.
Bizarrely, Kasrils also claims that “Lebanon, too, has been a part of Zionist annexation plans. Israel long regarded the Litani river to its north as its natural border…” and that Israel “still holds on to strategic farmland” despite the fact that the UN verified that Israel no longer occupied Lebanese territory following her withdrawal in 2000. Indeed, the Sunday Telegraph, referring to the Shebaa Farms, states that “Syria – which has long insisted that the disputed land is mostly Lebanese – refuses to demarcate the border between the two countries, as demanded by UN Security Resolution 1559, making it more difficult for a settlement to be reached. Some diplomats suspect that Damascus does not want to deprive Hezbollah of its original justification for its struggle with Israel.”
After accusing Israel of “ethnic cleansing”, Kasrils then employs a despicable moral equivalence:
“We feel sorrow for those who died under rocket fire in Israel. But we do not blame Hizbullah or Palestinian resistance any more than we blamed South Africa liberation forces when civilians died. We blamed the racist policies of a corrupt government that cynically placed its own people in the line of danger.”
Contending that Israel’s leadership purposely placed its own citizens in danger to serve its own agenda, Kasrils claims that:
“To them the terror of their own citizens, fleeing south or hiding in their bomb shelters, is an acceptable part of their cynical calculations.”
Finally, employing the Nazi analogy as well as advocating for Israel to be treated in the same way as apartheid South Africa, Kasrils concludes:
“Like Gaarder, we must call baby killers “baby killers” and declare that those using methods reminiscent of the Nazis be told that they are behaving like Nazis. May Israelis wake up and see reason, as happened in South Africa, and negotiate peace. And finally, yes, let us learn from what helped open white South African eyes: the combination of a just struggle reinforced by international solidarity utilising the weapons of boycott and sanctions.”
See here for more on why Israel is not an “apartheid state”.
Ronnie Kasrils’ extreme views could be dismissed were it not for his position as a member of the South African government with the ability to disseminate his one-sided and distorted hatred for Israel through the mainstream media, including outside his home state. Unfortunately, the Mail & Guardian is his latest platform.
Letters to the Mail & Guardian – firstname.lastname@example.org
STORM IN A TEACUP?
On 31 August, a Palestinian infiltrated the British Embassy in Tel Aviv, threatening to kill himself if he was not granted political asylum in the UK. According to the Jerusalem Post:
“A tense six-hour standoff ended safely Thursday as police subdued the Palestinian. Police SWAT teams charged the man as he momentarily put down his pistol to eat food that had been brought to him. The pistol, police then discovered, was a toy….
British officials made an immediate decision to invite Israeli police to enter the embassy compound, which is considered sovereign British territory….”
So, Israeli forces were invited into the compound, spent six hours trying to negotiate and then subdued the “gunman” with no shots fired or any injuries to police or the Palestinian. Yet, the Associated Press and the BBC published the story under the following headlines:
AP: Israeli Police Storm British Embassy
BBC: Commandos storm Tel Aviv embassy
A misleading headline can create a totally different perception, and in this case, presents another ex
ample of how Israel is portrayed as the active party or ‘aggressor’ irrespective of her role in the story. HonestReporting urges subscribers to be aware of this subtle yet insidious form of media bias.
UPDATE – Following complaints from HonestReporting subscribers, the BBC updated its headline, which now reads: “Raid ends Tel Aviv embassy siege”.