Israeli soldiers drag, beat and kick Israeli woman 
Posted: 15 May 2010 09:37 AM PDT

This is video of the Israeli occupying army breaking up a demonstration in Nabi Saleh in the West Bank yesterday. Thanks to Joseph Dana, who points out that after the first ugly portion involving an Israeli woman (beaten to the point that her head was bleeding), the video shows soldiers firing on Palestinian villagers who are participants in the “white intifada.” Nabi Saleh? According to planxtysumoud:

The weeky protests in Nabi Saleh have quickly gained a reputation as the most violent of the West Bank demonstrations, yesterdays proved true to the norm where an arrested Israeli woman was repeatedly kicked and savaged on the ground by a Border Police thug and the villagers were subjected to blizzards of tear gas and live fire.
According to the ISM : The hilltop village of An Nabi Saleh has a population of approximately 500 residents and is located 30 kilometers northeast of Ramallah along highway 465. The demonstrations protest the illegal seizure of valuable agricultural land and the uprooting in January 2010 of hundreds of the village residents olive trees by the Halamish (Neve Zuf) settlement located opposite An Nabi Saleh.
Conflict between the settlement and villagers reawakened in January 2010 due to the settlers attempt to re-annex An Nabi Saleh land despite an Israeli court decision in December 2009 that awarded the property rights of the land to the An Nabi Saleh residents. The confiscated land of An Nabi Saleh is located on the Halamish side of Highway 465 and is just one of many expansions of the illegal settlement since its establishment in 1977 Near the village is a natural spring named Ein Al Kus (“the Bow Spring”).
In 2009 settlers from the nearby settlement of Halamish took control over the spring and it’s surroundings while preventing Palestinian access to it. Subsequently, people of Nabi Salih and the nearby village of Dir Nizam began regular friday protests for the spring which they claim as their own, and against the Israeli occupation in general

Even Reform American rabbis are fanatical about Jerusalem 
Posted: 15 May 2010 09:18 AM PDT

Here’s a Reform group, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, attacking the Kairos document, issued by Palestinian Christians last year. One point I need to land on: The rabbis say at the start that they seek “an end to the occupation of Palestinians lands” and then in a footnote state, “We define such ‘Palestinian lands’ as land in Israel’s hands since the Six-Day War of 1967 that was not part of Israel before that time and which has not been annexed by Israel.”
That legalistic statement means that the Reform rabbis regard East Jerusalem as Israel’s, which contradicts international law and global consensus, not to mention Herzl’s explicit promises to the Sultan and the Pope and all partition designs (which extraterritorialized Jerusalem). If you believe in Partition (and I am agnostic), you can’t believe in Jews holding Jerusalem. The Reform rabbis’ statement is a reflection of how far right the American Jewish community has drifted on Jerusalem out of some religious fervor. Who will check this spirit?

‘NYT’ offers neoconnish shelter to Berman, leaving liberal response to ‘American Prospect’ 
Posted: 15 May 2010 08:18 AM PDT

It is important to emphasize how much the New York Times remains a haven for neoconservative thinking about the Islamic world and US policy in the Middle East. The reformation/restoration have not occurred.
Last week the New York Times Book Review allowed Harold Bloom to devote his review of Anthony Julius’s book on English anti-Semitism into a denunciation of people who criticize Israel. Bloom thinks they are anti-Semites by and large. The editors surely agree with him (or they would have stomped on this wretched sentence: “Of the nearly 200 recognized nation-states in the world today, something like at least half are more reprehensible than even the worst aspects of Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians.”).
Well, this week the Book Review turned to Julius himself for a respectful endorsement of Paul Berman’s new 300-page screed against Tariq Ramadan, The Flight of the Intellectuals.
The NYT Book Review is edited by Sam Tanenhaus, who has sought to redeem conservatism from George Bush without blaming the neocons (he says paleo philosophy also got us into Iraq). And the deputy editor is Barry Gewen, an admirer of neoconservatism who is a good friend of Berman’s.
Compare the valentine treatment in the New York Times to a true liberal’s approach: Andrew March’s superb review of the Berman book at the American Prospect, in which he invokes liberal religious principles against Berman’s intolerance, and celebrates Ramadan’s role within Islam. I of course read a lot of March’s respect for Ramadan as an “internal critic” as a model for Jews who are taking on the ideology of permanent war and demonization that Zionism has gifted my religious group with respect to the Arab world.

Ramadan’s entire corpus consists of a steady and unyielding assault on Muslim insularity, self-righteousness, and self-pity. He has been unceasing in his pleas for Muslims to abandon their fearful mistrust of all things infidel and stop clinging to the life raft of the symbols of Islamic religiosity. … Ramadan doesn’t need to reject Islamic criminal law line-by-line and critique Islamist figures by name because he is playing a bigger, longer-term game of moving Muslims beyond Law entirely.
This is not lost on conservative Muslims, for whom Ramadan is very touchy subject. If not for his genealogy, they would have hung Ramadan out to dry long ago.
Ramadan, it is true, is neither a Hirsi Ali nor a Salman Rushdie, who are both self-declared apostates. They have left the community and call to those trapped within. In contrast, Ramadan is an internal critic, to use Michael Walzer’s term. Internal critics push their community to change, but they do so from within it, out of love. To follow
Berman is to say that Muslims in their mainstream intellectual and religious traditions do not deserve internal critics. They deserve only apostates. As communism in another era had its Arthur Koestlers and Leszek Kolakowskis, so Islamic orthodoxy must have its Rushdies and Hirsi Alis. Islamism is so tainted by shari‘a, the Brotherhood, and violence that we must view it as nothing more than another Stalinism or fascism and draw lines in the sand. According to Berman, we must tell Muslims, “Either you are pro-Enlightenment or you are soft on stoning.”
But that is both blatant nonsense and pernicious groupthink. We also need to recognize the task of internal critics….Internal criticism is not only about facing up to harsh realities; it is also about creative and fruitful forgetting. It is about inventing new stories about your tradition that open up a different future.
Are all good and decent people destined to converge on the same secular, Enlightenment principles? Is every encounter with strangers about sizing them up as friends or enemies once and for all? How should outsiders seek to influence the moral struggles of other communities, especially religious ones? These are not easy questions, and Berman is hardly the first to blink in the face of them and choose comforting pieties over curiosity, complexity, and humility.

March is an assistant professor of Political Science at Yale and author of Islam and Liberal Citizenship: The Search for an Overlapping Consensus.

This sure beats Niger yellow cake 
Posted: 15 May 2010 06:40 AM PDT

Wowie, zowie. This’ll get your hair on fire. I gather this is the Apollo affair. From FAS secrecy blog:

In 1965, over 200 pounds of weapons-grade highly enriched uranium went missing from the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC) plant in Apollo, Pennsylvania.  Circumstantial evidence and popular lore suggested that the material had been clandestinely diverted to Israel for use in its nuclear weapons program, either with or without the acquiescence of the U.S. Government.
A secret 1978 review of the episode (pdf) that was performed for Congress by the General Accounting Office (as it was then known) has recently been declassified and released.  But instead of resolving the mystery of the missing uranium, it only highlights it.
The Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission cooperated fully with the GAO, but the CIA and the FBI did not.  “GAO was continually denied necessary reports and documentation on the alleged incident by the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation…. The lack of access to CIA and FBI documents made it impossible for GAO to corroborate or check all information it obtained,” the GAO report said.
“…. Agents from the FBI involved in the current investigation told GAO that while there exists circumstantial information which could lead an individual to conclude that a diversion occurred, there is no substantive proof of a diversion…,” the GAO said.
The GAO report was obtained by the Institute for Research: Middle East Policy, a group critical of pro-Israel advocacy in the U.S.  See “Nuclear Diversion in the U.S.?  13 Years of Contradiction and Confusion,” U.S. General Accounting Office report EMD-79-8, December 18, 1978.

OK. Now let’s go to our friends at IRMEP:

In 1977 chair of the House of Representatives subcommittee on Energy and Power John D. Dingell requested an investigation to determine whether weapons grade uranium had been illegally diverted from the US into a clandestine Israeli nuclear weapons program.
In the early 1960s, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) began documenting suspicious lapses in security at the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC) in Pennsylvania. In 1965 an Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) audit found that NUMEC could no longer account for 220 pounds of highly enriched uranium.
The amount of missing uranium could “make at least four or five nuclear weapons” according to the report. In 1966 the FBI opened an investigation code-named DIVERT and began monitoring NUMEC’s management and large numbers of Israeli visitors. On Sept. 10, 1968, four Israelis visited NUMEC’s president to “discuss thermoelectric devices with [NUMEC boss Zalman] Shapiro,” according to correspondence from NUMEC’s security manager seeking official AEC consent for an Israeli visit. Among the approved visitors was [former Israeli army bigwig] Rafael Eitan. After Eitan’s visit, 587 pounds of highly enriched uranium was classified as missing.
The GAO investigation was chartered to discover whether:
1. “The material was illegally diverted to Israel by NUMEC management for use in nuclear weapons.”
2. “The material was diverted to Israel by NUMEC management with the assistance of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).”
3. “The material was diverted to Israel with the acquiescence of the United States Government.”

4. GAO inquired whether “there has been a cover-up of the NUMEC incident by the United States Government.” The GAO officially concluded that the federal efforts to resolve the matter were “less than adequate.” GAO charged the FBI “which had the responsibility and authority to investigate the alleged incident, did not focus on the question of a possible nuclear diversion until May 1976—nearly 11 years later.”…

Kafka on truth and success 
Posted: 15 May 2010 05:21 AM PDT

“truth produces no success; truth only shatters what is shattered”
–Kafka to Max Brod, June 26, 1922

Rahm Emanuel assures Haim Saban he’s a hawk for Israel 
Posted: 14 May 2010 10:20 PM PDT

Haim Saban spoke with an Israeli TV interviewer (Channel 10) about the Obama administration. From Coteret. Note the Arabic he uses, on Nakba memorial week:

Saban: The situation is a disaster [the word used was the Arabic Harta, which has a coarser connotation], if you want me to put it in simple words.
[Correspondent Gil] Tamari: He compares the relations with Obama to the difficult years Israel had with George  Bush Sr.
Saban: We had the days with Bush Sr., with Shamir. We got over it and moved on and we had 16 great years with Clinton and then with Bush, and this too shall pass. Look, I don’t think Obama is anti-Israeli, like people think he is. His goal is to achieve peace, just like our goal is to achieve peace. The way he wants to do it may not be the way some people in Israel would like it, and especially the members of the right.
Tamari: Saban, who donated millions to the Clintons as well, is not at all happy with what he sees. Did you have a chance to talk about this with Hillary?
Saban: I had the chance to talk to Hillary about a lot of things including this and I also talked to Rahm Emanuel and Rahm Emanuel for instance told me ‘I am more hawkish than 50 percent of the people in Israel.’ I don’t know where he got that survey but that is what he said. They are not anti-Israelis. Look, they are from the left. The left, left of which there is not much space to the wall, I agree, and this is their ideology.

An Israeli on Nakba Day: ‘Our humanity is bound up with your right to return’ 
Posted: 14 May 2010 02:30 PM PDT

Man see school nakba
A Palestinian man overlooks a school in a refugee camp, 1948. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

My sisters and brothers the refugees of Palestinian, today is the 15th of May, the Nakba Day, and I have one request from you; a heartfelt request from the son of occupiers, as an occupier, to those who paid the price for this occupation.
No, I do not ask for forgiveness for the occupation, or the destruction and expulsion that occurred in the Nakba of 1948. I can’t really expect forgiveness for these horrors, not in the true sense of forgiveness, the religious or spiritual sense. And since this forgiveness cannot truly take place, so can Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation occur only as a political and cultural settlement that will allow us to stop the killing and the mutual fear (and this mutuality does not mean symmetry, because it absolutely does not exist between the sides). Religious forgiveness belongs, therefore, to a different dimension, an unrealistic dimension utopian to a radical degree. This perhaps is a Platonic idea or guiding principle that guides us in the right direction that we must strive towards even if we’ll never get there.
Therefore, my request is more modest, and I hope that you could relate to it because without it I will not be able to continue to hope and to believe that it is possible to live in this land. And by “living” I mean really living, in the true sense of the word—to speak its language, to know its history, not just to conquer it, to turn it into a myth, to be afraid in and to want to be someplace else, which is not this land, when a good opportunity happens to come up, to run away to foreign lands (always in a Western direction) in every opportunity…
My request is, therefore, that you persist and will not give up your right to return.
It might sound a little strange because who am I to ask of you to insist on your own rights, the basic right of people who were uprooted from their land and their homes. But despite this, despite how awkward or absurd this request may be, despite it sounds as minefield, I insist. Please, you and your children, don’t ever give up your right to return.
Not (only) for yourselves but for me also. Do you understand? If you give up this right all chance for a just life in this land will be lost and I will be sentenced to the shameful life of an eternal occupier, armed from the soles of my feet to the depths of my soul and always afraid, like all colonizers. From my point of view dangerous things might happen to us, the Israelis, if it happened that you, the Palestinian refugees, give up your right to return. If that day arrives, the day where you give up your right of return, the great haters of the Jews will be able to celebrate their ultimate victory. When the Jewish Israelis’ position as conquerors and bringers of woe will be made permanent, their haters will prove that they were right when they blamed them for having a badly damaged humanity .
Our humanity is bound up with your right to return. The day we expelled you from your land you carried a part of it with you. Only when you can return we will be able to restore our humanity. It is hard for us to continue in this way, with damaged humanities. It doesn’t mean that all our humanity has left us, but, as you know, we were left mainly with vulgarity, condescension, militarism and fear. Yes, we have some beautiful things but about real humanity occupiers cannot even dream of. Actually to dream of it may be possible. About a life in cooperation with you here in our shared land. It is a beautiful and moving dream.
In my dream I see a life in cooperation with my friends, Palestinian refugees, who have exponentially grown in numbers ever since I started to learn and teach about the Nakba. From then, many places here have ceased being (only) training grounds for the army, JNF forests, national parks, ancient Jewish towns, ancient ruins, Crusader fortresses, liberated towns, picturesque villages, empty wilderness…
Miska, Qula, Bir’im, Saffuriyya, al-Ghabisiyya, ‘Ayn Ghazal, Yaffa, Haifa, Tabaria, Ijzim, Dair Yassin, Safsaf, Ijlil, Qaqun, ‘Innaba, al-Lajjun, al-Ghubayyat, and more – Israel destroyed an entire life, an entire page of civilization, in destroying these places. For me these places have a real face, one that I met personally, and there are many refugees that are demanding their right to return to them.
When you return these empty towns and villages will be filled with people, they will be bursting with life and will stop being only a testimony for death and sad memories as they have been for 62 years. Filling up these spaces will also fill up the empty space in my own humanity.
Your right to return is my opportunity and that of all Israelis to begin restoring our humanity.
Eitan Bronstein is the Executive Director of the the Israeli NGO Zochrot. Zochrot’s aim is to promote awareness of the Palestinian Nakba and their slogan is “To commemorate, witness, acknowledge, and repair.”

Excerpt from: ‘The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa’ 
Posted: 14 May 2010 02:20 PM PDT


Lately we have been following Sasha Polakow-Suransky‘s attempts to rebut Israel’s supporters’ latest smear campaign to derail the Goldstone Report – namely Judge Goldstone’s relationship to the apartheid government in South Africa. Polakow-Suransky has succinctly pointed out that if anyone is to be ashamed of their support for apartheid it should be Israel, who served as one of South Africa’s primary arms suppliers during that period.
Polakow-Suransky is in a position to know. Later this month his book The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa will be coming out, and we’re lucky to be able to give you a sneak peek. Below is the book’s prologue which gives a good overview of all the book covers.
On April 9, 1976, South African prime minister Balthazar Johannes Vorster arrived at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem with full diplomatic entourage in tow. After passing solemnly through the corridors commemorating those gassed in Auschwitz and Dachau, he entered the dimly lit Hall of Remembrance, where a memorial flame burned alongside a crypt filled with the ashes of Holocaust victims.
Vorster bowed his head as a South African minister read a psalm in Afrikaans, the haunting melody of the Jewish prayer for the dead filling the room. He then kneeled and laid a wreath, containing the colors of the South African flag, in memory of Hitler’s victims. Cameras snapped, dignitaries applauded, and Israeli officials quickly ferried the prime minister away to his next destination. Back in Johannesburg, the opposition journalist Benjamin Pogrund was sickened as he watched the spectacle on television. Thousands of South African Jews shared Pogrund’s disgust; they knew all too well that Vorster had another, darker past.
In addition to being the architect of South Africa’s brutal crackdown on the black democratic opposition and the hand behind many a tortured activist and imprisoned leader, Vorster and his intelligence chief, Hendrik van den Bergh, had served as generals in the Ossewa Brandwag, a militant Afrikaner nationalist organization that had openly supported the Nazis during World War II.
The group’s leader, Hans van Rensburg, was an enthusiastic admirer of Adolf Hitler. In conversations with Nazi leaders in 1940, van Rensburg formally offered to provide the Third Reich with hundreds of thousands of men in order to stage a coup and bring an Axis- friendly government to power at the strategically vital southern tip of Africa. Lacking adequate arms supplies, van Rensburg’s men eventually abandoned their plans for regime change and settled for industrial sabotage, bombings, and bank robberies. South Africa’s British-aligned government con sidered the organization so dangerous that it imprisoned many of its members.
But Vorster was unapologetic and proudly compared his nation to Nazi Germany: “We stand for Christian Nationalism which is an ally of National Socialism . . . you can call such an anti- democratic system a dictatorship if you like,” he declared in 1942. “In Italy it is called Fascism, in Germany National Socialism and in South Africa Christian Nationalism.” As a result of their pro-Nazi activities, Vorster and van den Bergh were declared enemies of the state and detained in a government camp.
Three decades later, as Vorster toured Yad Vashem, the Israeli government was still scouring the globe for former Nazis— extraditing or even kidnapping them in order to try them in Israeli courts. Yet Vorster, a man who was once a self- proclaimed Nazi supporter and who remained wedded to a policy of racial superiority, found himself in Jerusalem receiving full red-carpet treatment at the invitation of Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Prior to 1967, Israel was a celebrated cause of the left. The nascent Jewish state, since its creation amid the ashes of Auschwitz, was widely recognized as a triumph for justice and human rights. Leftists across the world, with the notable exception of those in Muslim nations, identified with the socialist pioneering spirit of the new nation. Africans welcomed Israeli development aid and voted in Israel’s favor at the United Nations. Europeans for the most part supported the Jewish state, often out of socialist idealism or sheer guilt.
Even Britain, which fought Jewish guerrilla organizations until the eve of Israel’s independence in 1948, recognized the state of Israel in January 1949. Although the South African Jewish community became the largest per capita financial contributor to Israel after 1948, relations between the two countries’ governments were cordial but chilly for much of the 1950s.
In the 1960s, Israeli leaders’ ideological hostility toward apartheid kept the two nations apart. During these years, Israel took a strong and unequivocal stance against South Africa. In 1963, Foreign Minister Golda Meir told the United Nations General Assembly that Israelis “naturally oppose policies of apartheid, colonialism and racial or religious discrimination wherever they exist” due to Jews’ historical experience as victims of oppression. Israel even offered asylum to South Africa’s most wanted man.
In addition to condemning apartheid, Meir forged close ties with the newly independent states of Africa, offering them everything from agricultural assistance to military training. Many African leaders accepted invitations to Israel and some, impressed with the Israeli army, decided to hire Israeli bodyguards. African states returned the favor by voting with Israel at the U.N. in an era when the Jewish state had few diplomatic allies. At the time, black American leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. were also outspoken in their support of Israel, likening criticism of Zionism to anti-Semitism.
Things began to change with Israel’s stunning victory over its Arab neighbors in the Six-Day War of 1967, which tripled the size of the Jewish state in less than a week. The post-1967 military occupation of Egyptian, Jordanian, and Syrian territory and the settlement project that soon followed planted hundreds of thousands of Jews on hilltops and in urban centers throughout the newly conquered West Bank and Gaza Strip, saddling Israel with the stigma of occupation and forever tarring it with the colonialist brush.
Israelis did not take kindly to the colonial label. After all, Zionism had in many ways been an anti-imperial movement. The World Zionist Organization may have mimicked European colonial settlement tactics in the early 1900s, but by the 1940s Zionism’s more extreme proponents were fighting to oust the British Mandate government in Palestine. Consequently, many Israelis saw their independence as a postcolonial triumph akin to the successful liberation struggles of newly independent African and Asian countries and they bristled at any attempt to equate Zionism with European colonialism.
Conquest and expansion had not been part of the IDF’s (the Israel Defense Forces) strategic planning for a war that it perceived as a defensive struggle for survival. Even Israel’s leaders were shocked by the extent of their territorial gains in the Six- Day War. Indeed, before the shooting stopped, the first internal military memos proposed withdrawing almost completely from the newly acquired territories in exchange for peace with the Arab states. Yet, as Arab negotiating positions hardened and religious Zionists and socialist idealists alike sought to redeem and settle the land, the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and the Sinai Peninsula slowly transformed Israel into an unwitting outpost of colonialism.
Aided by a healthy dose of Arab and Soviet propaganda, Israel’s image as a state of Holocaust survivors in need of protection gradually deteriorated into that of an imperialist stooge of the West. As criticism of Israel mounted and Arab states dangled dollars and oil in the faces of poor African nations in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Third World countries increasingly switched allegiance. After the 1973 Yom Kippur War, all but a few African countries severed diplomatic ties with the Jewish state, and the Israeli government abandoned the last vestiges of moral foreign policy in favor of hard-nosed realpolitik.
It wasn’t long before Israel initiated defense cooperation with some of the world’s most notoriously brutal regimes, including Argentina’s military dictatorship, Pinochet’s Chile, and apartheid South Africa.
At its core, the Israeli–South African relationship was a marriage of interests and ideologies. Israel profited handsomely from arms exports and South Africa gained access to cutting-edge weaponry at a time when the rest of the world was turning against the apartheid state. For the next twenty years, a Janus- faced Israel denied its ties with South Africa, claiming that it opposed apartheid on moral and religious grounds even as it secretly strengthened the arsenal of a white supremacist government.
Israel and South Africa joined forces at a precarious and auspicious time. The alliance began in earnest after the October 1973 Yom Kippur War, and shared military and economic interests drove the relationship for the next three years. Though both countries were receiving varying degrees of support from the United States, neither enjoyed a defense pact with Washington and both were wary of relying too heavily on the Americans for their survival— especially in the early 1970s, when unconditional U.S. support for Israel was by no means assured. This alliance exposed Israel to great risks in the realm of public relations, especially when the Jewish state’s legitimacy was already under attack at the U.N. from pro-Palestinian groups and aligning itself with the hated apartheid regime threatened to tarnish its reputation further.
Rabin’s Labor Party government, which ruled the country from 1974 to 1977, did not share the ethnic nationalist ideology of South Africa’s rulers, but Israel’s war-battered industries desperately needed export markets and the possibility of lucrative trade with South Africa was hard for Defense Minister Shimon Peres to resist. As Rabin, Peres, and a new generation of leaders inherited the party from David Ben-Gurion and Golda Meir, the conviction that compromising certain values was necessary for survival gained sway and socialist idealism gave way to realpolitik. During the Rabin years, South African arms purchases breathed life into the Israeli economy and Israeli weapons helped to reinforce the beleaguered and isolated apartheid regime in Pretoria.
The impact of their tryst was felt across the globe. As the Cold War spread south in the 1970s, Africa became an ideological battleground, pitting Angolan government troops and their Cuban allies against South Africa’s formidable military machine, which owed its prowess in no small measure to Israel.
The U.S. government feared that South Africa’s white minority regime, driven by a siege mentality and militant anticommunism, might resort to the nuclear option when faced with Soviet proxies on its borders. The U.S. government had by 1970 accepted that Israel was a member of the nuclear club, but Washington worked tirelessly in the late 1970s to prevent South Africa from joining it. As hard as officials in Jimmy Carter’s administration tried, their nonproliferation policy failed to prevent South Africa from acquiring the bomb soon after Carter left office, and subsequent U.S. administrations couldn’t stop Israel from helping the apartheid state develop more advanced components of its nuclear arsenal.
These two isolated states formed an alliance that allowed South Africa to develop advanced nuclear missile technology and provided Israel with the raw material and testing space it needed to expand its existing arsenal of missiles and nuclear weapons. All of this occurred in the face of intense international criticism, surveillance by U.S. and Soviet intelligence agencies, and constant condemnation by the United Nations General Assembly.
This mutually beneficial relationship was forged outside the jurisdiction of international conventions such as the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the cornerstones of Western efforts to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction. The two countries developed and improved their respective weapons systems under such secrecy that not even American intelligence agencies knew the full extent of their cooperation.
The Israeli–South African relationship was not only about profit and battlefield bravado, however. After Menachem Begin’s Likud Party came to power in 1977, these economic interests converged with ideological affinities to make the alliance even stronger. Many members of the Likud Party shared with South Africa’s leaders an ideology of minority survivalism that presented the two countries as threatened outposts of European civilization defending their existence against barbarians at the gates.
Indeed, much of Israel’s top brass and Likud Party leadership felt an affinity with South Africa’s white government, and unlike Peres and Rabin they did not feel a need to publicly denounce apartheid while secretly supporting Pretoria. Powerful military figures, such as Ariel Sharon and Rafael (Raful) Eitan, drew inspiration from the political tradition of Revisionist Zionism—a school of thought that favored the use of military force to defend Jewish sovereignty and encouraged settlement of the biblical lands of Greater Israel, including the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Sharon, Eitan, and many of their contemporaries were convinced that both nations faced a fundamentally similar predicament as embattled minorities under siege, fighting for their survival against what they saw as a common terrorist enemy epitomized by Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC) and Yasser Arafat’s Palestine
Liberation Organization (PLO). The ANC may have never employed indiscriminate violence to the extent that the PLO did, but in the eyes of the generals in Tel Aviv and Pretoria, Mandela and Arafat were one and the same: terrorist leaders who wished to push them into the sea. And for the top brass in both countries, the only possible solution was tight control and overwhelming force.
Foreign Ministry officials in Israel did not always approve of close ties with South Africa, but it was the defense establishments— not the diplomatic corps— that managed the alliance. The military’s dominance was so complete that the Israeli embassy in Pretoria was divided by a wall through which no member of the diplomatic corps was allowed to pass. Only when opponents of apartheid within the Israeli government sought to bring down that wall in the late 1980s did the alliance begin to crumble.
The research for this book took place in a world where information and disinformation are equally important. Even decades after the fact, Israel remains extremely sensitive about keeping secret the details of its collaboration with a regime that is now universally condemned as immoral. Journalists and scholars who wrote on the Israeli–South African relationship during the 1980s suffered from a lack of access to key participants and official documents.
As a result, the story they told, though partially accurate, was incomplete.8 For the past six years, I have struggled to fill in the gaps by prying open bureaucratic doors, accessing highly restricted archives, and interviewing more than one hundred key players in both countries.
In Israel, dozens of people initially refused to speak with me. I traced former ambassadors to desert kibbutzim and elderly South African Jewish émigrés to designer apartments in the posh northern suburbs of Tel Aviv. From the offices of defense contractors to assisted living communities, I was treated to battlefield tales and old photo albums offering glimpses of a relationship that until now few government officials have dared to talk about.
In South Africa, retired military intelligence officials asked for my U.S. passport number and ran background checks before inviting me to their homes for interviews. Tracking down the key protagonists led me to sprawling rural farms and gated retirement communities. I met former defense ministers and generals for coffee in strip malls and over shots of brandy in Pretoria’s bars.
A Soviet spy who had sent some of South Africa’s and Israel’s most sensitive military secrets to Moscow invited me to his home on the windswept coast of the Cape Peninsula, where he now lives comfortably among the retired naval officers he once betrayed. Former employees of the arms industry giant Armscor and the nuclear scientists involved in building South Africa’s atomic weapons were the most reluctant of all, but several eventually opened up.
My family’s roots in South Africa helped ease the suspicions of several octogenarian generals, who instantly became candid in the presence of someone they regarded as a fellow white South African in the hope that I would share their nostalgia for the old days. Some saw the interviews as an opportunity to secure their place in history and were self-aggrandizing to the extreme; others guarded their secrets closely. I have therefore not relied exclusively on oral history.
Accessing government and military archives was even more difficult. The South African authorities repeatedly rebuffed and then delayed my requests. But after sixteen months of waiting for documents, I managed to get my hands on over seven thousand pages of records from the South African Defense Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, and the defense contractor Armscor, including the Israeli side of the correspondence— but not before Israel’s government did its utmost to prevent me from getting them.
In April 2006, the Israeli Defense Ministry intervened to block South Africa’s release of a 1975 agreement outlining the planned military cooperation between the two countries, which is signed by Defense Ministers Shimon Peres and P. W. Botha. The Directorate of Security of the Defense Establishment (known by its Hebrew acronym Malmab) insisted that declassification of the 1975 document or any others would endanger Israel’s national security interests.
Fortunately, the South African Defense Ministry disregarded these protests. This is due in no small measure to the fact that the people whose records I sought are no longer in power in Pretoria. While the ANC government has not fully thrown open the doors to the apartheid government’s archives, it is far less concerned with keeping old secrets than with protecting its own accumulated dirty laundry after sixteen years in power.
Israel, of course, is a different story. There, intense secrecy surrounding this relationship remains in force. The actions of Israeli administrations from the 1970s and 1980s are still regarded as state secrets, and many of the architects of the Israeli–South African alliance—including Israel’s president as of this writing, Shimon Peres— remain in powerful positions. Even so, South African records pieced together with the oral testimony of retired high-level officials in both countries provide a startlingly clear, if incomplete, picture of the relationship.
This book does not equate Zionism with South African racism, as a 1975 United Nations resolution infamously did. Rather, I contend that material interests gave birth to an alliance that greatly benefited the Israeli economy and enhanced the security of South Africa’s white minority regime. Yet ideology was a factor, too: while the relationship was driven by concrete economic interests, it would have begun far earlier and ended much sooner had it not been for the influence of ideology.
As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict festers and the prospects for peace appear gloomier each day, it has become increasingly popular to compare the situation in Israel to the dying days of the apartheid regime in South Africa. This is not a new argument, but it is gaining traction in some circles as hopes fade for a two- state solution. During the 1980s, both the Israeli and South African governments were the targets of vicious criticism and international condemnation. In the end, apartheid South Africa collapsed while Israel survived, albeit as a fortress state mired in war.
This was not surprising. As two leading South African academics wrote in 1979: “Israel solicits empathy because she stands for the minority right to live after experiencing the most systematic genocide in history. Israel can offer the Western world the continuous exorcism from fascism.” Apartheid South Africa, by contrast, had no such moral standing. The government’s overt racism offended Western political sensibilities far more than Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land, and American and European policymakers did not believe white South Africans deserved protection in the same way Jews did after the Holocaust.
Yet today, left-wing activists are attempting to paint Israel as a latterday South Africa, erode its claim to a unique moral position, and question its legitimacy. By calling for boycotts and divestment from Israel, these activists are following the script that proved so effective for the anti-apartheid movement during the 1980s. And to their own detriment, Israel’s leaders are playing their parts by building Israeli- only access roads, erecting countless military checkpoints, and expanding settlements in the West Bank.
Of course, Israel’s leaders have a responsibility to protect their citizens, but the Israel they have created is a far cry from the “light unto the nations” that was once revered by the African liberation heroes and American civil rights leaders.
Countless authors have chronicled, with varying degrees of fairness, how the Jewish state betrayed its founding ideals, abandoned socialist Zionist principles, and saw its democratic soul corrupted by occupation after 1967. But Israel’s domestic policies are only part of the story; its foreign policy, especially its ties with some of the world’s most reviled regimes, also contributed to its moral decay and the rise of anti-Israel sentiment abroad.
Israel’s intimate alliance with apartheid South Africa was the most extensive, the most lucrative, and the most toxic of these pacts. Just as expanding settlements in the West Bank and Gaza eroded Israel’s democratic values at home, arms sales to South Africa in the early 1970s marked the beginning of an era in which expediency trumped morality in Israeli foreign policy and sympathy for the conquered gave way to cooperation with the conqueror.
Excerpted from The Unspoken Alliance by Sasha Polakow-Suransky Copyright © 2010 by Sasha Polakow-Suransky. Excerpted by permission of Pantheon, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

How do you occupy the internet? 
Posted: 14 May 2010 01:34 PM PDT

The neocons are flailing. JINSA, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, has sent out another email saying that the Obama plan to “train and equip” local proxies in the war on terror is failing because these local forces are part and parcel of the problem. Of course JINSA cites the Palestinian Authority as an example:

The PA is building an army that will first kill Hamas on the West Bank (with Israeli assistance) but it has no illusion of taking the fight to Hamas in Gaza. Is its goal the destruction of Israel?

JINSA’s only answer is: western occupation. It worries that the west is too hung up on the killing of civilians and offers this recipe for permanent war:

American and allied troops are told that NOT killing civilians is a primary goal-even at the cost of higher American casualties-in order not to “create more terrorists.” But if terrorists are created by American military activity, wouldn’t it make sense to go home? In the meantime, Reuters reports that U.S. and allied troops killed 76 percent more civilians in Pakistan in the first quarter of 2010 than the first quarter of 2009.
In 2001, President Bush said the West was at war with terrorists and the states that harbor and support them. Now we appear to have let the states off the hook-aligning ourselves with governments that may still harbor and support terrorists, but which we hope will turn and kill them given enough American money, arms, training and troop support.
We believe terrorists are in fact created NOT by American military operations, but through the longstanding and very deep network of Islamic schools, mosques and personal intervention funded by oil states including Iran and Saudi Arabia and aided by the internet and other media.


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