Op-Ed: S. Africa Should Take a Long, Hard Look in the Mirror
Ron JagerThe writer, a 25-year veteran of the I.D.F., served as a field mental health officer. Prior to retiring in 2005, served as the Commander of the Central Psychiatric Military Clinic for Reserve Soldiers at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring from active duty, he provides consultancy services to NGO’s implementing Psycho trauma and Psycho education programs to communities in the North and South of Israel. He is currently a strategic advisor at the Office of the Chief Foreign Envoy of Judea and Samaria. To contact: email@example.com
Helen Keller is probably turning in her grave in response to the sign-language interpreter fiasco at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service. A South African man who acted as a sign-language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service was a “fraud” who simply made “childish hand gestures” and sing language “gibberish” for hours as he stood on stage next to President Obama and other world leaders. Organizations representing the hearing-impaired say the man made no sense in any language to those relying on him around the world. Perhaps he symbolized the way his country is going.
So, with all the recent talk about South Africa and Nelson Mandela the myth and about Mandela the man, it's a good opportunity to discuss another myth, one that also makes no sense: that of Israel being accused of being an apartheid state by Mandela's country.
The South African system Mandela so stridently fought was immoral, and completely unacceptable among modern nations. The idea of second-class status for any group is anathema to Westerners, unless the victims are non-Muslims (Jews and Christians) in Islamic-ruled nations in the Middle East or Africa. Apartheid is rampant in most Islamic nations yet largely ignored by the world media and human rights organizations.
Not surprisingly, rather than point this out with the same enthusiasm usually reserved for criticizing the Jews, little Israel has become the major brunt of false accusations of apartheid towards its own minority population. Human rights organizations and assorted NGO’s throughout the world have justified boycotting Israel exactly because of this, accusing Israel of being an “Apartheid State.”
South Africa, the nation that gave apartheid to the world and suffered most because of it, has itself become a world center of apartheid finger-pointing accusing Israel of being an apartheid state, and actively promoting the boycott of Israel. After the apartheid regime in South Africa was annulled, the same people who suffered most from racial discrimination because of Apartheid are themselves employing similar tactics against Israel, promoting the very same behavior from which they have suffered and fought to abolish.
South Africans have little right to point an accusing finger at anyone. Today’s South Africa is still a far cry from the non-discriminatory,developing society it claims to be in its post-apartheid period.
South Africa is believed to have more people with HIV/AIDS than any other country in the world. A recent UNAIDS report estimated that 5,700,000 South Africans had HIV/AIDS, or just under 12% of South Africa's population, and in the adult population, excluding children, the rate is 18.1%.
As for South Africa’s white population, who theoretically are a minority with equal rights, their situation is not promising. Discrimination against and persecution and murder of South African whites is worsening yearly and despite a Genocide Watch warning that they are imperiled by impending genocide, many of the same human rights organizations that fought for the abolishment of apartheid shrug off this systematic elimination of South Africa’s white population as justified retribution due the "oppressors."
Blacks have it not much better. Just this past summer South African police officers shot 34 striking miners in the midst of a labor dispute. Where are the human rights groups of South Africa?
Those who remain silent on the refugee crises in Darfur, the xenophobia of those who attack refugees from Zimbabwe, the brutal slaughter of innocent men, women and children in Syria - these same hypocritical left wing human rights groups of South Africa are the first to jump on the anti-Israel bandwagon, shooting their mouths over Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians Arabs.
The current South African government, the one that accuses Israel of apartheid against the Palestinian Arabs, claimed there was no other choice but to shoot 34 striking miners in cold blood. Evidently, the post-apartheid regime justifies the use of live fire to settle labor disputes. South Africa's National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega was quoted following the terrible massacre at the platinum mine. “This is not the time for blaming or finger pointing," The government's official website referred to the incident as a "tragedy."
It is not hard to imagine what the South African government's website would have said had Israeli forces shot dead 34 Palestinian Arab workers.
Most people would never guess it, but the arrival of whites in South Africa dates back further than that of the ancestors of many of the nation's majority black population. The first Dutch settlers (who became known as "Boers" or "Afrikaners") landed on Africa's shores in 1652, while many blacks migrated to South Africa later as foreign labor looking for employment due to the relative economic prosperity generated by the new white settlers. After all, since life in racist South Africa was vastly preferable to that in surrounding nations, it had long been attractive to black labor immigrants.
South Africa is sliding down the abyss of disaster. We have witnessed similar deterioration throughout the Middle East, which for years used the Palestinian Arab conflict as a diversion tactic from their brutal and discriminatory policies denying basic human rights for their own citizens. The Arab spring showed the pent up rage and primal anger that exploded in the major cities of all the Arab capitals.
In the same manner, South Africa will implode, due to its unsustainable disregard for basic human rights of its own people. So as South Africa slides down towards, self-destruction, the volume of accusations against Israel, accusing her of being the reincarnation of the apartheid state, will receive widespread coverage, but in the end, South Africa will become just another black totalitarian state with not one iota of democracy or human rights.