An investigation conducted by industrious journalists from (the Israeli daily newspaper) Yedioth Ahronot revealed that South African Judge Richard Goldstone served the polluted and racist Apartheid regime (1948 until 1994, although it was essentially annulled in 1990) in his country, and even sent black defendants to the gallows when he enforced the abhorrent racist laws of the white establishment. It must be recalled that Apartheid was grounded in a long list of racist laws that excluded the black population from the political and economic processes, revoked citizenship from many and reminded the enlightened world of Adolf Hitler’s Nuremburg Laws. The association with Nuremburg is not simply rhetorical in this context. Amongst the laws of the apartheid regime, which did not bother people such as Shimon Peres from cultivating particularly close relations with South Africa, included a law prohibiting “mixed marriages,” a “morality law” which prohibited sexual relations between blacks and whites, and laws of citizenship and movement which excluded the black majority and deprived them of a life of dignity.
Back to Goldstone. The important investigation about him, which was accompanied by harsh descriptions of actions taken by the racist regime in South Africa, were received by us with applause. Thousands of talk backers suddenly “remembered” their long-standing opposition to the Apartheid regime, and (Israel’s) Ministry of Foreign Affairs ordered its representatives throughout the world to make liberal use of these discoveries about Goldstone, “who spoke badly about Israel.” Suddenly, the natural inheritors of the apartheid regime in the Israeli establishment were conducting a successful public relations campaign, and everyone was covered in disgusting righteousness. Hypocrisy has been celebrating here for numerous years, and already from the days of Golda (Meir – AIC) righteousness was transformed from science to an art.
I am not searching for reasons to defend Goldstone, despite the fact that his report about Israeli aggression toward Gaza (“Operation Cast Lead”) was actually successful and perhaps even too moderate on the backdrop of the real occurrences in Gaza. The past of the man does not negate the accuracy of his statements in the report. Judge Goldstone was justlike legal figures by us who permitted the deportation of Arabs and Israeli building on the former’s land, in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention to which Israel is obligated; precisely as Chief of Staff Rafael Eitan pardoned Jews who killed Arabs in cold blood; just as Israeli establishment figures are responsible for extra-judicial killings, and are okay with the “collateral damage” of killing children and women who happened to be in the area of the targeted murders. Goldstone’s record as part of the racist regime in South Africa was never a secret, and no one threw these things in his face when he was considered a good Zionist and supporter of Israel. Throughout the years he was a welcomed visitor here, and the (Israeli) establishment viewed him as a friend and completely dismissed the black whom he sent to their deaths. In real time, when the racists were in power, only a few Israelis consistently attacked the South African regime, and even fewer found it necessary to defend the black liberation movements in South Africa. Nelson Mandela was in prison and our media perceived him as a terrorist. As one occupied throughout the years with the holy work of struggling against racism and who received threats from the South African Embassy in the Apartheid days, I am completely aware of Israelis’ abysmal apathy toward the behavior of the racist whites, students of the Nazis, who were then rulers of the boycotted state.
There was also a political background to Israel’s imperviousness. Israel was the closest ally of Pretoria in those bad days and was considered the leading collaborator of the Apartheid state that was boycotted throughout the world. The cooperation was extensive – political, military, intelligence and even nuclear. In 1978 the international media reported that Israel and South Africa together conducted a nuclear explosion in the Atlantic Ocean. According to reliable international sources, it was the late Ezer Weizman, amongst the strongest and most open supporters of the white racist regime, who led the experiment.
When I published this in my column “Small World” in (the now defunct newspaper – AIC) Haolam Haze, it was blackened out by the censor, even though it was a permitted quote from foreign sources. The Histradut: Hebrew Workers’ Union in Eretz Israel also collaborated with these people of injustice, and the Workers’ Company maintained an active office there. Its existence was denied (after I published this information) in an emotional letter by the late Yeruham Mashal, then Chairperson of the Histradut. However, he stopped his denials when in my column I noted the names of representatives of the Workers’ Company who maintained wide-ranging relations with the horrible white regime.
The Histradut was almost kicked out of the International Trade Union Confederation in Geneva, but afterwards still maintained economic relations to the best of its abilities. In 1976 the South African Prime Minister, John Vorster, was invited to visit Israel by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Rabin and Shimon Peres were the active architects of cooperation between the two countries and Menachem Begin, whose party was always pro-South African, simply followed in their path. The primary area of cooperation was in intelligence. The messengers of the dark apparatus of South Africa, called BOSS, trained in Israel, together with murderers from the murderous secret police DINA from Pinochet’s days in Chile and the infamous SAWAK of the Iranian Shah. I dealt with all of these subjects over numerous years as a journalist, and often I encountered apathy bordering on contempt in meeting places of journalists, including in the cafeteria of the Knesset. The “obsession” of people like me with subjects of human rights throughout the world was not more popular than today’s writing about the crimes of the Israeli establishment in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The line in these subjects was consistent: at the height of the killing spree of the military dictatorship in Argentina against left-wing activists (including numerous Jews), Yedioth Ahronot (the same newspaper that is now shocked at the actions of Goldstone in South Africa) sent journalist Mira Avrech to the state that murdered 30,000 prisoners of conscience after horrific torture. A large number of them were murdered after being thrown out of Argentinian military planes. Avrech, a close friend of Shimon Peres, published words praising the generals and vilifying the martyred. The black freedom fighters in South Africa were also defined as terrorists and communists by the Israeli press.
An entire institution supported racist South Africa, mostly in secret, and the journalists who kept silent do not deserve to join the attackers of Goldstone. I certainly agree that the man is contemptible, and it is possible that he is also a hypocrite, but only one who objected to racism in South Africa in the days of Apartheid has a moral right to use this weapon against the former judge. Israel’s elites, former friends of South Africa, business people who made millions, arms dealers who received services there on the way to market their bloody merchandise to gangs throughout Africa, architects of Israel’s nuclear deterrent power who did not shy away from close cooperation with people who were imprisoned during World War II due to their enthusiastic support of the Nazis. They are not ashamed to now talk of the massacre in Soweto in 1976, the year in which the South African Prime Minister polluted the air of our city with his official visit with Rabin. Israel is conducting its “public relations” campaign against Goldstone with very dirty hands indeed.
This article originally appeared in the weekly Jerusalem newspaper Kol Hair and reproduced in Hagada Hasmalit, a left-radical forum in the Hebrew language. Translated to English by the Alternative Information Center (AIC).
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