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« The Egyptian Apartheid Wall | Main | Zapiro's Cartoon Jihad »

March 13, 2008



Dear Rhoda Kadalie,

Congratulations on co-writing a superb article with Julia Bertelsmann. It is particularly courageous when one bears in mind that any opposition to anti-zionist propaganda is so politically incorrect in South Africa. You should be very proud of yourself for having the courage of your convictions. Most people in a similar position to yourself unfortunately think that spewing forth anti-zionism is essential if they are to get a meal ticket and in the RSA.

I have Cc'd people in the hope that they will read what you wrote. Perhaps The Mail and Guardian will print it ?



Thank you for giving this piece the attention it deserves. I hope that the IAS readership will be able to spread the piece further. What I would like to address and get people's opinions on is the SAJBD's insufficient response to anti-zionist and often anti-semitic statements and actions coming from the ANC.

You have often questioned the Board's use of "quiet diplomacy" in dealing with the ANC. These tactics are emblamatic of SA's Jewish leadership since Jews arrived in this country. We have had to bow our heads and not speak up for fear of backlash from whoever it is who is in power at the time. Certainly, a more vocal anti-Apartheid strategy from the Jewish establishment would have caused the community much sufferring, though I do not excuse the pre-'94 community's inaction. But what would happen if the Board and its new Chairman took a more active, harline stance against the ANC's misrepresentation and distorted world-view. Would the Jewish community suffer from increased levels of tension? Would it merely provoke more of the same hate coming from the ANC? Essentially, if Jews cannot express their opinion to the government for fear of reprisal, do we still have a place in this beloved country?

If anyone is interested in this issue, I recommend Shimoni's now famous 'Community and Conscience'.


With regard to “Franchising Apartheid”, the authors should have explicitly mentioned the fact that Na’eem Jeenah, Director of The Freedom of Expression Institute in South Africa is also spokesperson for the Palestine Solidarity Committee. This has not only had major implications in respect of publicizing the “Israeli/ Nazi” analogy but has also helped to define the boundaries within which questions relating to freedom of expression are debated.


Interesting how the "Palestinian / South African" analogy seems to have even become an issue in The Democrat US election:

"Mr Obama, who conducted a number of media interviews on Friday to reject Mr Wright's comments, said he had looked to him for spiritual - not political - guidance.

In a sermon on the Sunday after the attacks of 11 September 2001, Mr Wright told his congregation: "We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards.

"America's chickens are coming home to roost."

In a 2003 sermon, Mr Wright said blacks should condemn the US.

"God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human", he said.


Does anyone know what "spiritual guidance" Wright has given Obama?
Did Wright help Obama to make his way politically in Illinois? Has Wright, in fact, give Obama "political guidance" ?


Sorry to harp on about Ohbummer but I don't think we have really got to his core beliefs. I would imagine that Wright helped Obama get elected...
"Obama was elected to the Illinois Senate in 1996 from the 13th District, which then spanned Chicago South Side neighborhoods from Hyde Park-Kenwood south to South Shore and west to Chicago Lawn. In 2000, he made an unsuccessful Democratic primary run for the U.S. House of Representatives seat held by four-term incumbent candidate Bobby Rush. He was reelected to the Illinois Senate in 1998 and 2002 (when the 13th District was redrawn to span Chicago lakefront neighborhoods from the Gold Coast south to South Chicago)."

Did Wright help Obama in his early political career?
The following article from Rolling Stone explores the Wrght/ Obama relationship:

"The Trinity United Church of Christ, the church that Barack Obama attends in Chicago, is at once vast and unprepossessing, a big structure a couple of blocks from the projects, in the long open sore of a ghetto on the city's far South Side. The church is a leftover vision from the Sixties of what a black nationalist future might look like. There's the testifying fervor of the black church, the Afrocentric Bible readings, even the odd dashiki. And there is the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a sprawling, profane bear of a preacher, a kind of black ministerial institution, with his own radio shows and guest preaching gigs across the country. Wright takes the pulpit here one Sunday and solemnly, sonorously declares that he will recite ten essential facts about the United States. "Fact number one: We've got more black men in prison than there are in college," he intones. "Fact number two: Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run!" There is thumping applause; Wright has a cadence and power that make Obama sound like John Kerry. Now the reverend begins to preach. "We are deeply involved in the importing of drugs, the exporting of guns and the training of professional KILLERS. . . . We believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe it more than we believe in God. . . . We conducted radiation experiments on our own people. . . . We care nothing about human life if the ends justify the means!" The crowd whoops and amens as Wright builds to his climax: "And. And. And! GAWD! Has GOT! To be SICK! OF THIS SHIT!"


This is as openly radical a background as any significant American political figure has ever emerged from, as much Malcolm X as Martin Luther King Jr. Wright is not an incidental figure in Obama's life, or his politics. The senator "affirmed" his Christian faith in this church; he uses Wright as a "sounding board" to "make sure I'm not losing myself in the hype and hoopla." Both the title of Obama's second book, The Audacity of Hope, and the theme for his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 2004 come from Wright's sermons. "If you want to understand where Barack gets his feeling and rhetoric from," says the Rev. Jim Wallis, a leader of the religious left, "just look at Jeremiah Wright."

Obama wasn't born into Wright's world. His parents were atheists, an African bureaucrat and a white grad student, Jerry Falwell's nightmare vision of secular liberals come to life. Obama could have picked any church — the spare, spiritual places in Hyde Park, the awesome pomp and procession of the cathedrals downtown. He could have picked a mosque, for that matter, or even a synagogue. Obama chose Trinity United. He picked Jeremiah Wright. Obama writes in his autobiography that on the day he chose this church, he felt the spirit of black memory and history moving through Wright, and "felt for the first time how that spirit carried within it, nascent, incomplete, the possibility of moving beyond our narrow dreams."


What is clear from the above is that Obama's credo is inherently "anti-establishment."
Of course, Obama is now rejecting Wright's "mishugas", because it would be political suicide for him to campaign with Gadaffi. However, it is an expedient move and should not be taken as an indication of where his real political allegiances lie.


Obama responds to critics .
The pastor of my church, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who recently preached his last sermon and is in the process of retiring, has touched off a firestorm over the last few days. He's drawn attention as the result of some inflammatory and appalling remarks he made about our country, our politics, and my political opponents.

Let me say at the outset that I vehemently disagree and strongly condemn the statements that have been the subject of this controversy. I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies. I also believe that words that degrade individuals have no place in our public dialogue, whether it's on the campaign stump or in the pulpit. In sum, I reject outright the statements by Rev. Wright that are at issue.


Because these particular statements by Rev. Wright are so contrary to my own life and beliefs, a number of people have legitimately raised questions about the nature of my relationship with Rev. Wright and my membership in the church. Let me therefore provide some context.

As I have written about in my books, I first joined Trinity United Church of Christ nearly twenty years ago. I knew Rev. Wright as someone who served this nation with honor as a United States Marine, as a respected biblical scholar, and as someone who taught or lectured at seminaries across the country, from Union Theological Seminary to the University of Chicago. He also led a diverse congregation that was and still is a pillar of the South Side and the entire city of Chicago. It's a congregation that does not merely preach social justice but acts it out each day, through ministries ranging from housing the homeless to reaching out to those with HIV/AIDS.

Most importantly, Rev. Wright preached the gospel of Jesus, a gospel on which I base my life. In other words, he has never been my political advisor; he's been my pastor. And the sermons I heard him preach always related to our obligation to love God and one another, to work on behalf of the poor, and to seek justice at every turn.

The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation. When these statements first came to my attention, it was at the beginning of my presidential campaign. I made it clear at the time that I strongly condemned his comments. But because Rev. Wright was on the verge of retirement, and because of my strong links to the Trinity faith community, where I married my wife and where my daughters were baptized, I did not think it appropriate to leave the church.

Let me repeat what I've said earlier. All of the statements that have been the subject of controversy are ones that I vehemently condemn. They in no way reflect my attitudes and directly contradict my profound love for this country.

With Rev. Wright's retirement and the ascension of my new pastor, Rev. Otis Moss, III, Michelle and I look forward to continuing a relationship with a church that has done so much good. And while Rev. Wright's statements have pained and angered me, I believe that Americans will judge me not on the basis of what someone else said, but on the basis of who I am and what I believe in; on my values, judgment and experience to be President of the United States.


As the crowd of 3,000 people listened intently, Mr. Obama continued.

“Although I knew him – and know him – as somebody in my church who talked to me about Jesus and family and friendships, but clearly if all I knew was those statements I saw on television, I’d be shocked,” he said. “And it reminds me that we’ve got a tragic history when it comes to race in this country. We’ve got a lot of pent up anger and bitterness and misunderstanding.”

Then, Mr. Obama reprised a few lines from his speech to the 2004 Democratic convention, saying “there’s no black America, white America, or Asian America or Latino America. There’s the United States of America.”

The crowd rose to its feet in applause.

“I will not allow us to lose this moment where we can not forget about our past and not ignore the very real forces of racial inequality and gender inequality and the other things that divide us,” he said. “When people say things like what my former pastor said, you have to speak our forcefully against them, but what you have to also do is to remember what Bobby Kennedy said that it is within our power to join together to truly make a United States of America.”


Seems that Obama has also learnt his oratorical skills from listening to charismatic Afro-American preachers. His "message" is replete with emotion/morality but has little real content.
At at time when the USA is heading for recession, Obama might well have the rhetorical edge on Clinton and Mcain. American voters will be looking for a politician to get them out of economic insecurity and Obama's charismatic mumb-jumbo might lead them to think that he is The Man.


On Human Rights day weekend, here’s a reminder from Wikipedia of what real apartheid would look like.

The 1979 U.S. State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices notes that:
• "According to a 1978 study, a tendency existed to impose heavier prison terms to Black citizens than to White citizens. Human rights advocates claimed that Black citizens were more likely to be convicted of murder and to have been denied bail."
• "The Commission of Inquiry's report […] stated that the 'Government handling of the Black sector has been primarily neglectful and discriminatory,' that the Government 'did not show sufficient sensitivity to the needs of the Black population, and did not take enough action to allocate state resources in an equal manner.' As a result, 'serious distress prevailed in the Black sector in various areas. Evidence of distress included poverty, unemployment, a shortage of land, serious problems in the education system, and substantially defective infrastructure.'"

The Follow-Up Committee for Black Education noted that the South African government spent an average of $192 per year on each Black student compared to $1,100 per White student. The drop-out rate for Black citizens of South Africa was twice as high as that of their White counterparts. The same group also noted that there was a 5,000-classroom shortage in the Black sector.

In 1976, a major human rights organisation issued a report that stated: "Government-run Black schools are a world apart from government-run White schools. In virtually every respect, Black children get an education inferior to that of White children, and their relatively poor performance in school reflects this." The report found striking differences in virtually every aspect of the education system.

According to the 1979 U.S. State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for South Africa, "South African Blacks were underrepresented in the student bodies and faculties of most universities and in higher professional and business ranks. The Bureau of Statistics noted that the median number of school years for the White population is 3 years more than for the Black population. Well-educated Blacks often were unable to find jobs commensurate with their level of education. Black citizens held approximately 60 to 70 of the country's 5,000 university faculty positions."

A poll based on questions asked to 500 selective White residents of South Africa representing all levels of White society showed unexpectedly negative attitudes towards Blacks. According to the official results:
• 75% would not agree to live in a building with Black residents.
• More than 60% wouldn't accept any Black visitors at their homes.
When asked "What do you feel when you hear people speaking Black languages?" 31% said they feel hate and 50% said they feel fear, with only 19% stating positive or neutral feelings.

Oooops! My mistake! When I went to Wikipedia to gather data on apartheid, I accidentally copy-pasted from the article on “Arab citizens of Israel” instead! I also accidentally made the following substitutions using Find-and-Replace:

For “Arab” I substituted “Black”
For “Jewish” and “Jew” I substituted “White”
For “Israel” I substituted “South Africa”

Then I went through and subtracted 25 years from all dates given.
What a butterfingers I am. My apologies. To make my position clear: there are no possible parallels between present-day Israel and apartheid South Africa.


SouthernEye all thos things wether true or not ( wikipedia is far from a reliable source) are societal problems that need to be solved in Israel.

Not one of those things is due to discriminatory laws.

Apartheid was a massive legal infastructure that south to disenfranchise and subjugate non-White South Africans.

Please show me the Israeli analogue.

P.S. judging by your final line 'To make my position clear: there are no possible parallels between present-day Israel and apartheid South Africa.' you are either deeply confused or a tool. Either way I agree there are no parallels between Israel and apartheid South Africa.

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