Photo credit: Reuters
Every time the right-wing regime of Israel led by warmonger Benjamin Netanyahu makes a move to consolidate its apartheid policies, one inevitably is reminded of its former partner in crime, apartheid South Africa.
The former National Party, whose claim to infamy was racism, discrimination, injustice, a brutal security apparatus – all rolled into an ideology known as apartheid, kept trying to market itself as a “democracy”. It insisted that in defending western capitalism and Christian values, it was a bulwark against communism. Of course it succeeded for a long while in persuading its imperial allies to overlook crimes against the indigenous black majority. Ultimately it crashed despite believing that its power was indestructible.
Exactly what Netanyahu is doing. Marketing Israel as an indispensable ally of the West in its “war on terror”; the “only democracy” in the Middle East; defender of western values; bulwark against Iran and Islam and all the while behaving with impunity and in defiance of all known international conventions in the knowledge that the lifeline it enjoys from America in particular, renders it indestructible.
Israeli folly is evident for all to see, especially those who lived through the terror which characterised the disastrous consequences of South African apartheid. Massacres, torture and utterly sensless targeting of anyone perceived to be a threat to Afrikanerdom, ruled out any notion of justice and equality, let alone democracy. Yet it enjoyed the benefits of a “sovereign” state such as membership of the United Nations, diplomatic relations with the West, extensive trade and economic ties. Arms and weapons alongside being a formidable nuclear power, gave the former apartheid regime of South Africa a false certainty of permanence.
Exactly the same way Israel is behaving since its artificial creation seven decades ago. Having reached a peak by outstripping all of the injustices unleashed by the old South Africa, Israel adamantly pursues discredited unjust draconian measures in the vain hope that raw power will triumph until eternity.
Well it didn’t back home. And those amongst the extreme rightwingers within Afrikanerdom holding sway over brutal racist policies who ardently believed that injustice is an essential tool for sustaining apartheid, finally landed in quicksand.
Not only were there signs pointing out that romance with policies of inequality which depended on brutal suppression of fundamental human rights, will be shortlived, such warnings also emanated from brave journalists and courageous Afrikaners.
History of the failure of human engineering by architects of apartheid is available for Zionist engineers of policies far exceeding South African notoriety. And this is not necessarily for academic purposes. The reality is that both apartheid regimes arose at around the same period during 1948 and were joined at the hip in developing a roaring trade in arms, weapons, military hardware and nukes.
Suppression of the indigenous black majority and of the indigenous Palestinians became the mainstay of both regimes in collaboration with each other. An unlikely marriage between settler colonial regimes sounded far-fetched at the time, but as bizarre as it was, it happened: the conjoining of Apartheid and Zionism.
“Success” – an odd word to define strides made by either of the two, hinged on repressive jackboot authoritarianism. In the case of South Africa it finally ended in 1994 ushering in democracy which saw the return of exiles, unbanning of liberation movements and the restoration of human dignity. Though challenges persist today, its a far cry from the notoriety of apartheid.
Yet it continues in Israel, where “success” is measured by killing, jailing and denying rights to the indigenous Palestinians. No one is spared. Neither young children as symbolised by 16 year old Ahad Tamimi jailed for standing up in defence of the inalienable rights of her people, nor the brave young and old protesters demanding freedom under the banner of #GreatMarchOfReturn.
Israel is where South Africa was during tumultuous periods of intense oppression. Its racist rightwing who parade on the international stage as “respected” Israeli leaders are as immoral as the perpetrators of injustice who wore Christian labels in South Africa.
Ultimately, as is the nature of unsustainable projects, apartheid was forced to make way for a democratic dispensation.
Israel is doomed to failure as it pursues draconian measures to survive. The writing is on the wall. Former allies within the American Zionist community are openly turning their backs, disgusted and ashamed to be associated with horrendous atrocities committed in Gaza in their name.
Writers, commentators and artists have become more pronounced in their denunciation of senseless violence against Palestinians. Cultural boycotts are beginning to bite as more and more international stars take heed of the call to isolate Israel.
Western European academic institutions have understood the need to undertake protest campaigns against Israel’s inhumane policies by actively adopting BDS – Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. So too have churches and influential social justice activists across the world.
The only lifeline allowing the Netanyahu regime to retaliate without any moral or legal considerations is the triangle of collaboration between the Trump administration, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Unfortunately for Israel, it remains a fragile alliance given the uncertainty of a bullish Trump intent on bypassing binding UN Security Council Resolutions to impose a non-starter new deal. The Saudis who had banked on crushing Yemen to expand its domain and establish a maritime footprint in the Persian Gulf, face the same dismal failure as its bankrolling of armed rebellion in Syria.
Israel foolishly relies on a flimsy alliance of despots, dictators and unelected leaders to fulfil aspirations of legitimacy which has evaded it for seven decades.
In contrast, the Palestinians have not resigned to accepting their fate as losers. Instead they remain resolute and determined to offer supreme sacrifices as they continue striving for full emancipation.
As they continue their freedom struggle, the responsibility of South Africa – both people and government – to intensify commitment to a free Palestine has never been greater.
Iqbal Jassat is an Executive Member of the Media Review Network