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Ten reasons why the anti-Apartheid movement is immoral, hinders peace

Alan Dershowitz published an op-ed in Haaretz on Wednesday giving his top 10 reasons why boycotting Israel is immoral. What if he wrote the same article in 1974 about the anti-Apartheid movement? It might look something like this.

By Sol Salbe

The segregated stands of a sports arena in Bloemfontein, South Africa, May 1, 1969. (photo: UN Photo/H Vassal)

The segregated stands of a sports arena in Bloemfontein, South Africa, May 1, 1969. (photo: UN Photo/H Vassal)

Ten reasons why the anti-Apartheid movement is immoral and hinders peace

The anti-South African movement threatens the reconciliation process by promoting extortion rather than negotiation, and discourages blacks from agreeing to any reasonable peace offer.

By Alan M. Dershowitz | Feb. 12, 1974 | 4:00 PM

1. The anti-Apartheid movement immorally imposes the entire blame for the continuing Apartheid and the Bantustan policy on South Africa.

2. The current anti-Apartheid movement especially in Europe and on some American university campuses, emboldens the blacks to reject compromise solutions to the conflict.

3. The anti-Apartheid movement is immoral because its leaders will never be satisfied with the kind of two-state solution that is acceptable to the government of South Africa.

4. The anti-Apartheid movement is immoral because it violates the core principle of human rights: namely, “the worst first.”

5. The anti-Apartheid movement is immoral because it would hurt the wrong people.

6. The anti-Apartheid movement is immoral because it would encourage the Soviet Union and China.

7. The anti-Apartheid movement is immoral because it focuses the world’s attention away from far greater injustices, including genocide.

8. The anti-Apartheid movement is immoral because it promotes false views regarding the Afrikaner people, exaggerates the country’s flaws and thereby promotes a new variation on the prejudice against them dating back from a century earlier.

9. The anti-Apartheid movement is immoral because it reflects and encourages a double standard of judgment and response regarding human rights violations.

10. The anti-Apartheid movement will never achieve its goals.

This article is a parody of Dershowitz’s original article.

Read more:
The boycott isn’t economic warfare, it’s psychological
The academic boycott of Israel: No easy answers

Sol Salbe is an Israeli-Australian journalist and translator based in Melbourne. He has spent the last 13 years as a full-time monitor of the Israeli media looking particularly at the differences between Hebrew and English-language coverage of events. His specializes in translating and disseminating articles, and segments of articles, which have not been made available in English.

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    1. Rehmat

      As an Israeli Hasbara “Author”, Alan Dershowitz has never made some sense to me. For example, in a column at the WSJ on March 29, 2011, that Norwegian hate Israel the most among the European nations. Why? Because, the Dean of the Law Faculty at Bergen University told Dershowitz that he would be honoured to have him present a lecture on the O.J. Simpson case – as long as he was willing to promise not to mention Israel. An administrator at the Trondheim school told Dershowitz that Israel was too ‘controversial’ to talk at Campus.


      Reply to Comment
      • Piotr Berman

        This hatred of Norway is really funny. It used to be that Poland was most hated non-Arab nation, for certain reason topping Germans and some nations whose member actually helped in the Holocaust, providing soldiers for “international Nazi units” which were parts of SS Waffen.

        It was revealed that in a survey 12% of Norwegians have negative opinions about Jews. This could well be one of the lowest percentages among nations that have any opinion. But there is at least one special web site to watch the “anti-Semitism in Norway” and Norway is regularly mentioned as an Enemy. God forbid that an NGO in Israel accepts Norwegian money! Traitors!

        Reply to Comment
    2. Danny

      I saw Dershowitz’s piece in Ha’aretz yesterday, and didn’t even bother to click on it.

      He is perhaps the worst advocate for Israel because his list of past clients includes some of the worst offenders in the last half century, and is naturally not a flattering place for Israel to find its name in.

      Just thinking about it makes me chuckle: Israel and O.J. Simpson – birds of a feather.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Richard Witty

      The ridiculing of opposition to BDS on real grounds, is a cliche at this point.

      The Sol Salbe “parallels” (in addition to being a cliche), do not translate well.

      Israel/Palestine is rarely parallel in substance. For example, in apartheid South Africa, the relationship of elite white corporations to the workers of the Bantustans was CLASSIC imperialism.

      Relative to Israel, the Palestinians are not primarily exploited in that classic imperialistic sense.

      Palestinians are invisible, more like the Jim Crow “Invisible Man”. Neglected, isolated.

      Jews should empathize with that condition, having lived through centuries of it our/themselves.

      But, the name-call, does not change it.

      Another aspect of the cliche parallel, is that the treatment of South Africans during the BDS movement, was abusive. And, that rather than being asked to liberate South African blacks, MANY proponents of anti-apartheid BDS urged people to hate South African whites.

      And, that some of the methods that solidarity proponents used to get others to conform to the party line were as abusive and employed similar methods that they object to among ZOA and other groups to the right of AIPAC.

      Relative to Dershowitz, the only response given is character assassination, no consideration of the reasoning for his sentiment. (He is sick of being abused by self-appointed vanguard.)

      Reply to Comment
    4. mcohen

      No matter how hard you push the apartheid propaganda it is the arabs who have the history of apartheid practices starting with african slave trading,classing non moslems as 2 nd class citizens having seperate areas for non moslems.
      But 2 wrongs do not make a right
      instead arabs and jews should live side by side both in israel and the palestinian state to be
      there are arabs living in israel and there will be jews living in palestine
      all will have equal rights
      much like in present day south africa

      Reply to Comment
    5. Fred Green

      I fail to see any rationality at all in calling the BDS “immoral”. No doubt the Raj thought the same of Gandhi’s boycotts. I’m sure Dershowitz and his (libertarian?) ilk “get” the free-market notion that from whom I buy goods and services (or not) is my affair. And so are my reasons, actually.

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        >I fail to see any rationality at all in calling the BDS “immoral”.

        It’s easy.

        BDS is not only immoral, because it seeks to exterminate a state, but also illegal, due to the fact that UN in multiple resolutions had approved that Israel is a sovereign state, and attempt to dismantle it without consent of its citizens contradict the international law.

        Norman Finkelstein talking on the matter: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASIBGSSw4lI

        Reply to Comment
    6. Menil

      This is brilliant. Just like South Africans did not accept any “two state solution” or any bantustan solution, neither should the Palestinians. The only way to peace is by dismantling the Israeli regime and all racist principles upon which it is based, and the establishment of a state for all its citizens instead of it.

      (I’m Israeli and I served in the Israeli army for 3 years in unit 8200 as a translator from Arabic, so spare me the claims that I don’t know about Israel or “the Arabs)

      Reply to Comment
    7. Richard Witty

      The false attribution for effect, is an abuse of the world.

      Not a typo, a deliberate misattribution.

      How did that get approved by the 972 editors?

      Reply to Comment
    8. Craig Vale

      Alan has been a lifelong apologist for even the most egregious of immoralities perpetrated against Palestinians who suffer under the occupation so his thoughts on this issue should come as no surprise. I find it a bit odd that Alan speaks of ” morality” as his successful defense of Claus Von Bulow was totally bereft of that morality that he wants to embrace in the cause instant.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Craig Vale

      The old adage of ” money talks and BS walks” is most apropos here in that nothing in the past several decades scares the pants off the right wingers in the Knesset than the threat of an economic boycott of not only West Bank goods but the fear that the whole of Israel could be included in the boycott as well. This ” threat” is perhaps the only thing that will get the Likud to soften their stance vis-a-vis the occupation.
      As for Alan’s claim the boycott is immoral, It makes me laugh as he has been bereft of having any such morality in his own personal makeup. You need look no further than his successful defense of Claus von Bulow in his attempted murder trial of his wife Sonny. Funny how the money trumped morality for Alan back then but now when an economic boycott threatens the West Bank and possibly the whole of Israel, Alan feigns moral indignity at the very thought that a” financial boycott” can be used as a means to an end. Alan knows little to nothing about morality, he’s always been about the buck ! I suspect he’s invested heavily in the West Bank.

      Reply to Comment
    10. andrew r

      It turns out parody is redundant. I had to double check the url and search on Google to make sure these weren’t hoaxes.

      South Africa Shouldn’t Be Singled Out

      Why is South Africa so harshly condemned while completely different standards apply to black Africa? Despite human rights violations in Zaire, President Bush applauds Mr. Muboto for his contribution in the Angola talks, while mentioning the atrocities in South Africa.

      Is it that one form of repression is more acceptable than another, or is it that black/white oppression hits home? Or is it maybe that better conduct is expected of a white-ruled country than from black-ruled Africa?


      South African problems defy simplistic solutions put forward by supporters of disinvestment and boycott. Ethnically, the country is diverse. It is not solely an issue of blacks versus whites. There are at least 17 different black ethnics. Several of whom, such as the Zulu and the Xhosa, have a centuries-old history of hostility. Black rule is no guarantee that the mass of South African blacks will be freer and have a higher standard of living. It could mean less, as the history of other African nations suggests.

      Reply to Comment
      • Paul

        Extraordinary articles on South Africa….hard to imagine that they were written in respectable news journals…worth reading

        Reply to Comment
    11. bob wisby

      The Arab is not the same kettle of fish as the Black. The Arab is a cunning foe, wily and capable of deceit in a way his African cousin isn’t. For this reason, the comparison between SA apartheid and Israel’s struggle for peace, is not valid. The former was more related to animal husbandry, the latter is a bitter, all out war of attrition between two finely matched enemies.

      Reply to Comment