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The road from apartheid: Lessons, warnings and hope from South Africa

Democracy didn’t solve apartheid’s problems – it sparked a process of addressing them that could not start beforehand. South Africa should remind Israeli and Palestinian leaders that the road to transformation is long and imperfect – and it must start now.

Apartheid in the Republic of South Africa. A beach for Whites only near the integrated fishing village of Kalk Bay, not far from Capetown. January 1, 1970. (UN Photo/KM)

Apartheid in the Republic of South Africa. A beach for Whites only near the integrated fishing village of Kalk Bay, not far from Capetown. January 1, 1970. (UN Photo/KM)

With the possibility that four-term Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could one day fall due to corruption investigations, and succession speculation around aging Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, might a new generation of leadership finally boost the ossified peace process?

It’s hard to be optimistic. Israeli leaders have become too comfortable for too long doing nothing, while the Palestinian leadership seems intent on cannibalizing itself, with the help of the occupation. But future leaders may want to take a look at South Africa, as I did on a recent trip, for some comparative insights about why inaction is a terrible idea.

The first obvious comparison between the two regions made famous in 2006 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s book, Peace, not Apartheid, was important at the time. The shock value (for some) helped place Israel’s occupation on a similar level of severity as the infamous regime. However, over a decade later, the debate over whether occupation should be considered apartheid has grown stale. The word has become a team insignia rather than a signifier, and the toxic argument obscures other valuable insights from South Africa about how a conflict can wane, end, and eventually  transform.

In South Africa today, one implicit question seems to run like a river beneath most conversations: is it working? Did ending apartheid bring a better life for the oppressed, while protecting the erstwhile oppressors and their descendants?

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)

Apartheid’s bitter residue still stains the country. Although the policy ended over two decades ago, Peter Sullivan, former chief editor of The Star, South Africa’s premier daily newspaper, stated pointedly to me, “When did it really end?”

Apartheid’s legacy crops up in conversation about nearly all social issues. Young people live with post-conflict experiments designed to equalize educational and professional opportunities. Art exhibits address contemporary struggles of racial identity. The country seems to hover between the vibrancy of a new society building itself – similar to the spirit that drew me to Israel in my 20s – and a descent into grave ills of corruption and crime.

Thus the second main comparison is less about Israel-Palestine, but relates to other post-conflict societies where I have worked: when conflict ends, it can take decades for society to change. Setbacks abound. Democracy didn’t solve apartheid’s problems – it sparked a process of addressing them that could not start beforehand.

By refusing to advance a political agreement now, Israelis and Palestinians postpone the long exorcism of conflict legacy, which can only begin after the structures of conflict fall.

The third main comparison involves the reasons why leaders postpone this process – and the consequences of waiting.

An Israeli soldier tries to prevent a photograph being taken of construction on the separation wall, Bethlehem, January 7, 2006. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

An Israeli soldier tries to prevent a photograph being taken of construction on the separation wall, Bethlehem, January 7, 2006. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

In Israel one often hears that the two parties are too hostile and cannot trust each other. Israelis are terrified that a Palestinian state might become a terrorist theocracy, while a one-state scenario (or a two-state confederation) could mean that that each side floods the other and destroys their respective national character. “It will take time,” is a commonly heard refrain.

South Africa’s leaders too thought the indeterminate future was a good time for progress. In 1966, Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd said: “What about the future? I have…little doubt about the solution of our racial problems, if given the time. If meddlesome people keep their hands off us, we shall… provide all our races with happiness and prosperity.” He was assassinated a short time later. As the end of apartheid neared, its stalwart supporters remained terrified that black South Africans could not govern or coexist with whites. They will destroy us, people had said. “’One person, one vote will happen only once,’” Sullivan recalled critics of democracy saying.

Fears may be legitimate – but they are also eternal. Waiting for them to subside before resolving a conflict probably means never resolving it.

As to the substance of those fears – that an agreement will bring doomsday scenarios – Albie Sachs wrote in his 2016 book We the People: Insights of an Activist Judge: “From a moral point of view, it seems most dubious to refrain from dealing with an actual and manifest evil because of anxiety that its elimination might lead to the appearance of another evil…” Sachs served as a judge on the first Constitutional Court in the newly democratic South Africa; he also lost his right arm and an eye to a bomb for his opposition to apartheid. In the book, he continues: “The best time for fighting for freedom is always now.”

Between the two regions, the consequences of chronically postponing the end of the conflict are starting to resemble each other. South Africa’s apartheid policy long outlived its legitimacy, inspiring a painful international economic and cultural boycott. Various forms of boycott or global censure that may be used against Israel need not be identical, to hurt.

Colorfully painted houses in the Bo Kaap neighborhood of Capetown, South Africa. April 12, 2017. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

Colorfully painted houses in the Bo Kaap neighborhood of Cape Town, South Africa. April 12, 2017. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

As a last resort (and a last comparison), those who resist resolution in Israel and Palestine will insist that there is simply no answer at present. The two-state solution may no longer be possible, while one state is largely undesired. A two-state confederation is too new to have widespread legitimacy.

But ending apartheid took many forms; the old adage says that peace is a process, not an event. Apartheid laws were repealed in 1991, an interim constitution passed in 1993 and a final one in 1996, the first full-suffrage elections were held in 1994. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission followed, and aggressive affirmative action policies have been implemented to nurture equality. The laborious dismantling of institutions, habits, and behaviors associated with white rule continues today.

The problems cannot be papered over. South Africa is racked by economic inequality; lavish wealth sits atop indigent sprawl, and the gaps are heavily (though not totally) race-bound. Party patronage and hints of tribal politics threaten democratic governance. Crime is so bad that walls and wire barricade private homes; signs threaten thieves with electrocution, armed response, and poison. On August 8, the National Assembly held a vote of no-confidence against President Jacob Zuma, widely seen as corrupt, but failed to win a majority.

And yet, there are clear signs of people taking their destiny into their hands. Civil society makes vigorous efforts to engage citizens and deepen democracy. The no-confidence vote was a secret ballot; Baleka Mbete, Speaker of the National Assembly, announced the rules thoroughly and deliberately, with a hint of pride at this procedural integrity. In Durban, a multi-racial stream of joggers stop at hipster cafés in the morning, indicating growing diversity of the middle (and upper) classes.

When I asked Albie Sachs broadly how South Africa is doing now, he said “First of all, we have a country, and nobody predicted we could get a country. People predicted a racial bloodbath…that’s a huge achievement.”

South Africa should remind the ailing leaders of this region, or their successors, that the road to transformation is long and imperfect – and it must start now. Maybe the bar is low now, but first of all, we can do better.

This article reflects the approach of a comparative conflict research project I lead at Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies.

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    1. Firentis

      I must have visited a different South Africa. The South Africa I visited (in 2015) was definitely not working. Power went out for hours at a time and without warning. Cape Town plunged into darkness while we were in a shopping mall. Suddenly people started screaming and running for the exits while panicked store employees started to close the doors to the stores. Cape Town plunged again into darkness when we were about to fly out. We were driving back and none of the traffic lights worked and none of the parking garages were functioning. People were running across the middle of the road in the darkness. And yes, Long Street is nice to walk around. But if you go a bit out of the center you start noticing a rapid deterioration in, well, everything. You start paying attention to the fact that all the nice houses are surrounded by razor wire and there is private security all over the place. You start noticing to the poor and drugged-people walking around. The potholes and the smell of piss. But again Long Street is fun.

      Johannesburg is even worse. Going into the downtown area is like begging to be robbed or killed. Just walking down a street after dark is a nerve wrecking and thoroughly discouraged behavior. We were in a suburb and we didn’t know anything and so went walking ten minutes to some restaurant. The street lights barely work, all the houses are surrounded by barbed wire and the streets are empty except for shady characters walking around looking like they are high on something. And this is in posh Sandton! We decided to explore Joburg. We went to Maboneng. It was apparently a hip place to hang out and it was that. All three square blocks of it. You walk a block past that and you are back to reality – drunk, smelly and drugged-up people roaming around and running across potholed streets. Driving back you see clearly drugged-up people walking around half-naked under underpasses.

      We left the cities a bit too. We drove from Cape Town to Plettenberg Bay. It is a very scenic area. The most jarring thing one notices in places like Knysna an Plettenberg Bay is that they are thoroughly and completely racially segregated. The only black people are the servants.You go into a restaurant and it will be all white, except for the waitstaff. But it is pretty.

      We flew north to go to Kruger. We rented a car and drove out. Google Maps lied to us about the fastest route and led us along an unpaved road through a bunch of god forsaken villages. We finally got to a highway and started driving normally. Then we get flagged down by the police. I can see one of the policewomen writing down something on her hand. The policeman looks at us and says “My friend about 2 km back saw you speeding. He called it in and we wrote down the license plate number.” The policewoman raises her hand pointing to something written there. He proceeds to claim that this is a very big fine and that we need to go to the station but he really doesn’t want to do that. We claimed innocence and then realized what this was and negotiated his bribe down to 400 rand by insisting that we need some of the money for gas and lodging. In any case we made it to Kruger and other than some irrational fear of contracting malaria from some of my traveling companions it was a great place to be with lots of interesting animals.

      And all this was accompanied by listening on the radio while prominent politicians (like Zuma himself) were blaming apartheid for the electricity shortages despite apartheid having fallen 20 years earlier. And in other news people died after riots against immigrants broke out in Joburg with photos appearing in newspapers of the police participating in the looting. The people we talked to (mostly white) were less than optimistic about the future of South Africa. Fatalism was the prevailing notion.

      That country is not working. South Africa is no beacon for progress. If South Africa as it is right now is the role model you are looking at for our country then I am not interested and I can’t imagine any sane person that would be.

      Reply to Comment
      • Bruce Gould

        @Firentis: What’s really weird about your comments is that they echo exactly what the article says, while ignoring the crucial elements. The piece clearly says that South Africa is a mess (“South Africa is racked by economic inequality; lavish wealth sits atop indigent sprawl, and the gaps are heavily (though not totally) race-bound. Party patronage and hints of tribal politics threaten democratic governance. Crime is so bad that walls and wire barricade private homes; signs threaten thieves with electrocution, armed response, and poison..”) but the point is that things would be even worse if apartheid had been allowed to continue. You are welcome to disagree with the piece, but I don’t think you’ve read it.

        Reply to Comment
        • Firentis

          The article is written as if South Africa has something to teach us. It doesn’t. The article is written as if South Africa is a better outcome than the status quo. It isn’t. Whatever the transformation was that took place there the end result is bad and all signs point to it getting worse in the future. If the author wants to tell me that the road to transformation is long and imperfect but necessary then at least use an example where the road leads to something better. The South African road is leading to a corrupt single party state with a crumbling and collapsing infrastructure and a weak and politically compromised economy where the wealthy live off the riches of the past while sending their children abroad to have a chance at a decent life.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            What’s absurd here is that you sabotaged every effort at a two state solution because of your surrender to land-worship and idolatry and fanaticism, and then you bemoan how tough the one state solution is going to be. South Africa had no viable two state solution available to it. You did, and you blew it.

            Now you tell us how much better the status quo is for you. “The article is written as if South Africa is a better outcome than the status quo.” What this misses is that the South African status quo had become something simply untenable–it could not last–and it is simply absurd to say it was “better.” The problems of South Africa are different than the problems of Israel-Palestine. Scheindlin’s point was not to make South Africa your role model. But at the same time, South Africa then and Israel now share (in addition the their well known apartheid commonalities) the fact that the status quo at some point becomes the status impossibile.

            Reply to Comment
          • Avi

            That’s cute. You mean when Arabs have been handed offers what ranged from fair to way more than fair since the very early 20th century and have spit in the face of Jews every time? Yeah, was totally us sabotaging the two-state solution.

            The only time Arabs ever agreed was when they decided to snag what’s now Jordan and pretend it wasn’t part of the British Mandate.

            Reply to Comment
          • duh

            Firentis, don’t ever go to the US. You will long for the days of the Old South.

            Reply to Comment
      • JeffB

        @Firentis

        Excellent comment because here the BDS movement and the left more generally looks upon South Africa as a tremendous success. Compare what happened in the USA’s with desegregation and the tremendous success that gradual moderate change carefully implemented achieved to the South African model of immediate political equality. Economic and social integration will make the political problems much easier to solve.

        Israel is a tremendous success. You are quite right that Israelis have no intention of throwing away their country and the future for their children on irresponsible political programs. I do wish Israel were doing more for economic and social integration, but at least the Mizrahi / Ashkenazi distinctions are being wiped out.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          Nice try. The occupation is not “segregation.” That’s a devious analogy. It’s brutal subjugation and land theft. There’s a difference. Union troops did not occupy and brutally subjugate Georgia and Alabama and Mississippi for fifty years and running with the intent of pushing Southerners off their land and moving in “settlers” from Pennsylvania and Vermont.

          Reply to Comment
          • JeffB

            @Ben

            I wrote a long response to this that I guess got eaten. But yet again you wrong on the facts. First off the analogy was about segregation. But since you brought up the Civil War. After the Civil War the North did create an occupation where they shipped Northerners down to the South to take direct control of the resources and economy, these were the “carpetbaggers”. That was met with a terrorist war that ended up with the Redeemer governments coming to power in the South and reassuming control.

            Reply to Comment
    2. Lewis from Afula

      Yes, the road to transformation should include a truth and reconciliation commission. In this forum, Jordanian war criminals will come between a panel of Judges who will pass death sentences on thousands of Islamic stabbers, rapists, murderers and butchers. After being “Eichmanned off”, the Jordanians will pay compensations to their Israeli victims for all the sufferings they have caused.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Baruch Gordon

      Not all conflicts are solvable. Sometimes, history etches out a path of resolution in a slow, developmental process.
      I put it to you that currently, with 1) the Arab birth rate trending down and many Arab millennials heading to Europe and 2) the Jewish birthrate trending up (West Bank Jewish population trending much faster than the rest of Israel see WestBankJewishPopulationStats.com ), the indigenous Jewish population of the West Bank is resisting int’l pressures to destroy their homes and uproot their farms through building families and planting vineyards.
      So what you call doing nothing, is quite the opposite. Time is on the side of Israel, and every month that goes by, advances the two-solution closer to its eternal grave.
      Under the smokescreen of bad press coverage for the West Bank Jewish population, they are in fact quietly focusing their energies on building strong families, housing, agriculture and businesses. It’s basically over – there’s no turning back.
      In my humble opinion, anyone who tours the area and sees the realities will reach the same conclusion and begin a new conversation: What will coexistence look like? And on this question, I think many will be surprised that many of the West Bank Jews promote equality and freedom for their Arab neighbors. They’re not afraid.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        A few things.

        1. Many of us have long agreed that “it’s basically over – there’s no turning back” from one state river to sea — but your Israeli Jewish brethren on the other side of the green line either get into fits of hysteria and vapors about this or they get into fits of homicidal ethnic cleansing — see “Lewis from Afula” above.

        2. If you’re so ready for “equality and freedom for my Arab neighbors” then why are you obsessed with their birth rates?

        3. For obvious reasons one is a wee tad suspicious about your concept of “equality and freedom for my Arab neighbors.” What’s it look like? What are its social, governmental, legal and constitutional underpinnings? What are its safeguards? What are its checks and balances? What are its borders? Be specific.*

        *If, for example, you tell us that by “equality and freedom for my Arab neighbors” you don’t mean full annexation, one state river to sea, and one man one vote, minimum, but some kind of much more complicated or ambiguous arrangement than that then I know not to buy a used car from you either. But maybe you do mean full annexation, one state river to sea, and one man one vote, minimum. I don’t want to prejudge you.

        Reply to Comment
        • JeffB

          @Ben

          Of course when I did propose a workable process that gets to one-man one-vote with full civil equality in a democratic Israel you suddenly wanted all sorts of group rights and not one-man one-vote. Suddenly democracy wasn’t the objective but full throated binationalism.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Oh? I don’t recall espousing “full-throated binationalism” whatever that means. Point me to where I said this and let us see the context. What “workable process” would that be that you proposed? Let’s examine that one. Be specific.

            Reply to Comment
      • duh

        “1) the Arab birth rate trending down and many Arab millennials heading to Europe”

        Manifestos like this confirm my belief that Zionism is willfully in conflict with the non-Jewish persons in the hypothetical “Jewish” state. Certainly, you’re assessing unarmed people as a potential threat based on the fact they’re not Jewish.

        Reply to Comment
      • Bruce Gould

        @Baruch: “many of the West Bank Jews promote equality and freedom for their Arab neighbors.” Great. Are there any petitions circulating around the West Bank Jews asking the Israeli government to give freedom and equality to their Arab neighbors?

        “Israeli forces demolish West Bank school hours before children’s first day”
        http://mondoweiss.net/2017/08/israeli-destroy-childrens/

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          And while you’re at it, Baruch, are there any petitions circulating among Israeli Jews asking the their government to give freedom and equality to the Arab citizens of Israel?

          Israeli Court Orders Bedouin to Reimburse State for Cost of Demolishing Their Homes
          Israel has bulldozed Negev village of Al-Araqib over 100 times since 2010; six residents must now pay for eight of those rounds
          read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.808427

          Reply to Comment
          • JeffB

            @Ben

            Jewish Israelis who build not to code face penalties as well. I don’t know any who deliberately violate code, stay in violation and reside prior to residency permits being issued. Americans who invest in Israeli businesses or REITs (many of whom are Jewish) have found dealing with Israeli construction codes extremely expensive and time consuming. What you are pointing to is Bedouins being treated equally, and you are objecting that they aren’t being treated unequally.

            Real estate development standards are a place where Israel could definitely learn from the Europeans and Americans. One of the good things about Netanyahu is he realizes this and is working to address some of the blocks. Not everything is about the Israeli Arab dispute.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            This is based on a flatly dishonest premise: that Arabs are accorded permits in the same way Jews are, that there is not massive discrimination, both structural and unofficial, abetted by all sorts of bureaucratic obfuscation and trickery, in the land use and building permit processes. You cannot deny the patently obvious. Well, you can, but no one will take you seriously. We really should not have to cover old ground and basic facts like this, unless, of course, one is trying to peddle “fake news” and assorted distractions on these matters.

            Reply to Comment
          • Lewis from Afula

            Ben:
            Ben always like to have the last word in these conversations. When he loses the argument, he just changes the topic or enters a starts a strawman.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Oh don’t worry yourself, LFA, you sensitive flower. That wasn’t the last word and this one won’t be either, I’m pretty sure. Let’s help you out. To put it plainly, if you can’t ever get the permit to use the land or to build a structure on it and the process is made hopelessly opaque to you, then how are you going to build to code? Before you consummate a relationship you have to go on on a date, at least, or I would hope. But if you keep getting stood up that is not going to happen. You and I know that Israel is using the code as an excuse to both mask and to achieve its primary aim. Now you won’t admit that. But that’s ok. Point made.

            Here, let me help you out further:

            ​Sarah Kaminker, a city planner in Jerusalem for more than thirty years, describes a decades-long regime of the rankest discrimination in land use, planning, development, draconian bureaucratic measures, and what amounts to a whole bag of dirty tricks:
            “…There are literally a hundred other discriminatory practices that ruthlessly prevent Palestinians from building homes in Jerusalem. There are unjustiably huge charges for building licenses that are imposed only on Arabs… 
…The Israeli government claims that it has no choice but to punish the “scofflaws” in East Jerusalem who build illegally. If only they would ask for a license, the municipality would issue one. The government says it gets about 150 requests from Arabs each year and dutifully supplies them with building licenses. What the municipality does not tell us is that over one thousand Arabs each year ask a special team of Arab civil servants in the city engineer’s office for information about the planning regulations that apply to their land. About 150 of them have land where housing construction is permitted. These lucky few apply for and gain building licenses. The others, having been told informally that their land is not zoned for housing, never get into the data bank, allowing the municipality to continue to claim that it issues licenses to all applicants….”
            http://faculty.history.umd.edu/BCooperman/NewCity/Arabsonly.html

            Reply to Comment
          • JeffB

            @Ben

            Then complain about the permitting system not that permits are enforced. You need to start being consistent. If you are going to argue for equality under the law whenever Israel applies the law equally that should be applauded. When Palestinians violate the law that should be condemned. If you want to argue that Palestinians should live under entirely different laws, then stop condemning apartheid.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            But you are still missing the point, are engaging in an extended non-sequitur, an extended distraction. Read the link. The state has doggedly refused to recognize the Bedouin’s residence on the land and they have never been allowed to even apply for a permit or any permit they have sought has been rejected. By Kafka’s Castle aka the Israeli state, while Jews moving in to the same land are given every state assistance possible. The demolition of their houses is illegal. And cruel. Done because the Jews moving in, in their purity, can’t bear to live next to Arabs least of all lowly Bedouin. You are unable to admit the obvious about this. The state’s entire treatment of these people is the epitome of the unequal application of the laws based on ethnicity. It is a case study in the unequal application of the laws. It takes a special kind of chutzpah and a special kind of lawyerly, bureaucratic narrow mindedness to go on about how Israel should be applauded for “equality under the law whenever Israel applies the law equally” when from start to finish it has not, except to hide behind narrowly applied sections of the law its true purposes. And it takes a special kind of chuztpah to tell me I “need to start being consistent” when you are glaringly inconsistent here.

            Reply to Comment
          • JeffB

            @Ben

            You are now simply fabricating. The Bedouins have had tens of thousands of permits, whole town in fact. Arara, Hura, Kseife, Lakiya, Rahat, Segev Shalom, and Tel Sheva. The State of Israel is creating residential zones and informing the residents where they can receive permits. They have no obligation, nor should they, approve permits for residential housing in areas not zoned for residence.

            Your claim originally was that Israelis weren’t subject to construction codes. That’s false
            Your second claim is that Bedouins don’t ever receive permits. That’s false.

            Stop lying about Israel. If your case can not hold up when you tell the truth and the whole truth, you don’t have a case.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Fabrications it is that you want to talk about, Jeff B? Yes?

            I never said that Israelis weren’t subject to construction codes. That’s a fabrication. Where did I say it?

            I never said that Bedouins in general anywhere don’t ever receive permits. That’s a fabrication. Where did I say it? I was referring, as the context above, out of which you deceitfully rip my words, makes clear. The whole point is that permits in *this* inferior place are allowed but permits in *that* superior place (reserved for Jews) are not allowed. This is the whole game. Which you evade by lawyerly deceit.

            It is deeply dishonest to pretend that Israeli Jews and Arabs, including these Bedouin, receive remotely the same consideration and treatment regarding land use, permitting, and building. How dare you tell me I am fabricating and lying when you are in fact fabricating a selective, sugar-coated fairy tale by pedantically ignoring whole forests for highly selected trees.

            “Areas not zoned for residence”? Who do you think you’re kidding, JeffB? What you actually mean is “areas not zoned for residence for Arabs but only for Jews.” Why did these Bedouin have to be moved, when they fought for years to stay on their lands, when the same land is then being given to Jews who never lived there and the process is being expedited?

            I’m fabricating nothing. You are not so artfully misrepresenting the truth about al-Araqib.
            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Araqeeb
            And you are not so artfully ignoring blatant racial discrimination. Using the weirdly officious, lawyerly rhetoric and the pettifoggery with which we are by now well acquainted, JeffB.

            Reply to Comment
    4. i_like_ike52

      The reason the “progressives” and groups like JVP might view South Africa as a ‘big success’ is because all they care about is eradicating Zionism. They don’t care what comes after because they view their struggle is NOT about concern for “Palestinian rights”, but simply fighting against Israel and Zionism. In SA and Rhodesia white rule was ended which also ended the concern of these “progressives” for what would follow.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        ​@Ike: I really don’t know what you’re talking about. What you write has a canned feel to it. “Progressives”…”simply fighting against Israel and Zionism.” What does it mean? What does “against Israel” mean? What does “Zionism” mean? As you know, it can mean many things, but Israel by now has corrupted it into a fascist ideology and practice. Who said progressives view South Africa as ‘a big success’? Do non-progressives view apartheid South Africa as a big success? Do you? South African apartheid was, whatever else it was, unsustainable. Israeli apartheid is also unsustainable. It is within your power to make the aftermath productive and ‘a big success.’ Or not. You can certainly mess it up royally if you work at it. There’s nothing easier than making something not work. Which you seem to be doing. +972 Magazine very obviously is devoted to human rights including the right of Palestinian humans and Israeli Jewish humans and African human refugees and others. +972 is so clearly, consistently, impeccably for human rights for all and a just solution to the conflict for all involved and not “anti-Israel” that your diatribe is unconvincing. There is a record and your account does not square with it. Anyone who has read +972 regularly knows that your charge is at odds with documented reality over years and is therefore unsupportable. It feels to me like you want to make +972, JVP, etc. into founts of intolerance, into cartoon versions of leftist extremism so that it matches the Israeli right’s extremism, so that you can get back to the ground you feel comfortable on–something like “my extremism is better than their extremism, let the better extremism win, because that’s all there is.” But +972 is not cooperating.

        Reply to Comment
      • JeffB

        @I_like_ike52

        Agree. Russia played an incredibly destructive role in Rhodesia. While that government was dreadful what came after was far worse. It could have been avoided with moderate gradual change.

        South Africa the jury is still out. Things started well since 2012 there is a lot of deterioration. There is still hope for South Africa but the danger signs are becoming all to real. Though I do have to say the Afrikaner government was rather incompetent.

        Reply to Comment
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