When Israel Was Apartheid's Open Ally
alone in the world, allowed Bophuthatswana, South Africa's puppet
'black homeland,' to open an embassy."
Jimmy Carter's book, Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, has opened up much
American public to serious discussion of Israel's realities. He's no expert on Zionist history, but the Anti-Defamation League and
propagandists must now work 25 hours a day, 366 days a year, trying to
discredit equating Israel and apartheid South Africa. Curiously, Carter only mentions South African apartheid three times. He relates
how, on his 1973 visit to Israel,
"General Rabin described the close relationship that Israel had with South
Africa in the diamond trade (he had returned from there a day or two early to
greet us) but commented that the South African system of apartheid could not
He also tells us that
"Israeli leaders have embarked on a series of unilateral decisions,
both Washington and the Palestinians. Their presumption is that an encircling
barrier will finally resolve the Palestinian problem. Utilizing their
political and military dominance, they are imposing a system of partial
withdrawal, encapsulation, and apartheid on the Muslim and Christian citizens of the
occupied territories. The driving purpose for the forced separation of the two
peoples is unlike that in South Africa - not racism, but the acquisition of
There has been a determined and remarkably effective effort to isolate
settlers from Palestinians, so that a Jewish family can commute from Jerusalem
to their highly subsidized home deep in the West Bank on roads from which others
excluded, without ever coming in contact with any facet of Arab life."
And Carter presents the three unattractive options in front of Israel's public.
"A system of apartheid, with two peoples occupying the same land but
completely separated from each other, with Israelis totally dominant and
suppressing violence by depriving Palestinians of their basic human rights. This is the
policy now being followed, although many citizens of Israel deride the racist
connotation of prescribing permanent second-class status for the Palestinians.
As one prominent Israeli stated, 'I am afraid that we are moving toward a
government like that of South Africa, with dual society of Jewish rulers and
subjects with few rights of citizenship. The West Bank is not worth it.'"
Beyond that, Carter's only citation regarding post-apartheid South Africa is listing
Nelson Mandela as supporting the "Geneva Initiative" Israel/Palestine
that Carter was involved in drawing up. In reality, Israeli and American Zionist ties to racist Pretoria were so
close that there can be no doubt that Zionism's leaders were accomplices in
apartheid's crimes, including murderous invasions of Angola and Namibia.
Israel denounced apartheid until the 1973 Yom Kippur war as it sought to
diplomatically outflank the Arabs in the UN by courting Black Africa. But most
Black states broke ties after the war, in solidarity with Egypt, trying to
non-African Israel out of the Sinai, part of Africa. Jerusalem then turned
towards South Africa.
"Israeli and American Zionist ties to racist Pretoria
close that there can be no doubt that Zionism's leaders were accomplices in apartheid's crimes."
During WW ll, Britain had John Vorster interned as a Nazi sympathizer. But in
1976 Israel invited South Africa's Prime Minister to Jerusalem. Yitzhak
Rabin, then Israel's PM, hailed "the ideals shared by Israel and South
Africa: the hopes for justice and peaceful coexistence." Both confronted
instability and recklessness." Israel, alone in the world, allowed
Bophuthatswana, SA's puppet 'black homeland,' to open an embassy.
In 1989, Ariel Sharon, with David Chanoff, wrote Warrior: An Autobiography.
He told of his 1981 trip to Africa and the US as Israel's Defense Minister:
"From Zaire we went to South Africa, where Lily and I were taken to see
Angola border. There South Africans were fighting a continuing war against
Cuban-led guerrilla groups infiltrating from the north. To land there our plane
came in very high as helicopters circled, searching the area. When the
helicopters were satisfied, we corkscrewed down toward the field in a tight
spiral to avoid the danger of ground-to-air missiles, the Russian-supplied SAM 7 Strellas
that I had gotten to know at the Canal.
"On the ground I saw familiar scenes. Soldiers and their families lived in
this border zone at constant risk, their children driven to school in convoys
protected by high-built armored cars, which were less vulnerable to mines.
"I went from unit to unit, and in each place I was briefed and tried to get a
feel for the situation. It is not in any way possible to compare Israel with
South Africa, and I don't believe that any Jew can support apartheid. But
seeing these units trying to close their border against terrorist raids from
Angola, you could not ignore their persistence and determination. So even
though conditions in the two countries were so vastly different, in some ways life on
the Angolan border looked not that much different from life on some of our own
Sharon went to Washington to deal with a range of Middle Eastern questions.
"...took the opportunity to discuss with Secretary of State Alexander Haig,
Secretary of Defense Casper Weinburger, and CIA Director William Casey other
issues of mutual interest. I described what I had seen in Africa, including the
problems facing the Central African Republic. I recommended to them that we
should try to go into the vacuums that existed in the region and suggested that
efforts of this sort would be ideally suited for American-Israeli cooperation."
By 1989 it was certain that apartheid was about to close down, hence Sharon's
"I don't believe that any Jew can support apartheid." But a 12/14/81 NY
article, "South Africa Needs More Arms, Israeli Says," gave a vivid
of Israel's earlier zeal for its ally's cause:
"The military relationship between South Africa and Israel, never fully
acknowledged by either country, has assumed a new significance with the recent
10 day visit by Israel's Defense Minister, Ariel Sharon, to South African forces
in Namibia along the border with Angola."
In an interview during his recent visit to the United States, Mr. Sharon made
several points concerning the South African position.
First, he said that South Africa is one of the few countries in Africa and
southwestern Asia that is trying to resist Soviet military infiltration in the
"Israel benefited from South African military trade
before the 1977 embargo."
He added that there had been a steady flow of increasingly sophisticated
Soviet weapons to Angola and other African nations, and that as a result of
and Moscow's political and economic leverage, the Soviet Union was "gaining
ground daily" throughout the region.
Mr. Sharon, in company with many American and NATO military analysts,
reported that South Africa needed more modern weapons if it is to fight
successfully against Soviet-Supplied troops. The United Nations arms embargo, imposed in
November 1977, cut off established weapons sources such as Britain, France and
Israel, and forced South Africa into under-the-table deals....
Israel, which has a small but flourishing arms export industry, benefited
from South African military trade before the 1977 embargo. According to The
Military Balance, the annual publication of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, the South African Navy
seven Israeli-built fast attack craft armed with Israeli missiles. The
publication noted that seven more such vessels are under order. Presumably the
was placed before the 1977 embargo was imposed....
Mr. Sharon said Moscow and its allies had made sizable gains in Central
Africa and had established "corridors of power," such as one connecting Libya
and Chad. He said that Mozambique was under Soviet control and that Soviet
influence was growing in Zimbabwe.
The Israeli official saw the placement of Soviet weapons, particularly
tanks, throughout the area as another danger.
South Africa's military policy of maintaining adequate reserves, Mr. Sharon
said, will enable it to keep forces in the field in the foreseeable future but
he warned that in time the country may be faced by more powerful weapons and be "better armed and trained soldiers."
American Zionists were equally committed to apartheid. The 5/86 ADL Bulletin
ran "The African National Congress: A Closer Look." It revealed the
organization's hatred of the movement leading the liberation struggle in South
Africa. The ADL sent its tirade to every member of the US Congress!
It formally bowed to political correctness: "Discussion of the political
scene in South Africa properly begins with the self-evident stipulation that
apartheid is racist and dehumanizing." But
"...this is not to suggest closing our eyes to what may emerge once
gone.... We must distinguish between those who will work for a humane,
democratic, pro-western South Africa and those who are totalitarian,
anti-humane, anti-democratic, anti-Israeli and anti-American.
"It is in this context that the African National Congress (ANC), so frequently
discussed as an alternative to the Botha government, merits a close,
unsentimental look.... The ANC, which seeks to overthrow the South African
government, is a 'national liberation movement' that, plainly said, is under heavy
Communist influence. The ANC has been allied with the South African Communist
(SACP) for 50 years.... The fall of South Africa to such a Soviet oriented and Communist influenced force would be a severe setback to the United States,
whose defense industry relies heavily on South Africa's wealth of strategic
ADL spying on America's anti-apartheid movement, for BOSS,
secret police, became public in 1993 when San Francisco papers revealed that
Tom Gerard, a local cop and ex-CIA man, illegally gave police information to Roy
Bullock, ADL's man in SF.
Gerard pled no contest to illegal access to police computers. The ADL made a
'we didn't do it and won't do it again' deal with the DA. It agreed to an
injunction not to use illegal methods in 'monitoring' the political universe.
National Director Abe Foxman said that, rather than go to trial, where -- of
course! -- they would certainly have been found innocent, ADL settled because
"continuing with an investigation over your head for months and years
some to believe there is something wrong."
spying on America's anti-apartheid movement, for BOSS, South
Africa's secret police, became public in 1993."
Despite the slap-on-the-wrist deal, Bullock's activities were documented. The
ADL claimed that he was a free-lance informer whose activities for the
apartheid regime were unknown to them. But (FBI) FD-302, a 1993 FBI report on
interview with Bullock, takes up a letter found in his computer files,
for transmission to the South Africans." It said that, "during an
conversation with two FBI agents," in 1990, they asked:
"'Why do you think South African agents are coming to the West Coast? Did
know any agents' they finally asked?.... I replied that a meeting had been
arranged, in confidence, by the ADL which wanted information on radical right
activities in SA and their American connections. To that end I met an agent at
Rockefeller Center cafeteria."
The FBI said that "Bullock commented that the TRIP.DBX letter was a very
'damning' piece of evidence. He said he had forgotten it was in his
computer." Of course he hastened to tell the FBI that "his statements to the FBI that
ADL had set up his relationship with the South Africans were untrue."
The ADL was so anti-ANC that only fools could think that they didn't know
that Bullock was working with the South Africans. Isn't it more likely that he
told the truth in 1990 and lied in 1993? The feds came on another matter in
1990, surprising him with questions re South Africans. They interviewed him in
his lawyers' office in 1993. Be certain that they told him what not to say. He
also knew that if he wanted ADL help in his FBI troubles concerning South
Africa, he had to claim that they had nothing to do with his BOSS connection.
case, the ADL continued to work with Bullock. And NY's 7/27/93 Village Voice
reported that Irwin Suall, its Chief Fact-finder, i.e., head spy, told the FBI
that "he didn't think dealing with South African intelligence was
than dealing with any other police agency."
ANC never was anti-Semitic and there are Jewish ANCers in the Pretoria
Time hasn't been kind to the ADL. The ANC runs its country and is a model of
ethnic and religious tolerance. It never was anti-Semitic and there are Jewish
ANCers in the Pretoria parliament. But Foxman always has a cleanup for
Israeli and ADL infamies. On October 11th, he spoke at a NY Barnes & Noble
bookstore in his latest book, The Deadliest Lies: The Israel Lobby and the Myth of
Jewish Control. It has a chapter denouncing Carter. I was in his audience and
"You brought up the fact that Jimmy Carter used the word apartheid in his
title. But I would remind you that of course that Israel was allied to
South Africa. I'm looking at the December 14, 1981 New York Times, ‘South
Africa Needs More Arms, Israeli Says,' Israeli meaning Ariel Sharon, the Minister of
Defense, who was on a tour, as it were, with the South African army as it was
invading Angola. And then, in May 1986."
Foxman: "I get the point."
Brenner: "Excuse me! The ADL sent this to every member of Congress, denouncing the African National Congress as pro-Soviet and wicked, yes, and anti-Semitic
and so on and so forth."
I sat several rows from Foxman. Two words on my tape are indistinct and
tentatively printed here in caps. But they don't effect general understanding
of his statement, even with its grammatical irregularities as he grappled with my
Foxman: "OK. The African National Congress during the fight for SUFFRAGE,
struggle for AFRICAN liberation, was anti-Semitic, it was pro-Communist, it was
anti-Israel, it was, where ever it could, become friends and allies of Arab,
Palestinian terrorism, etc.
"I had the privilege, I had the privilege of flying to Geneva to meet
President Mandela, before he was President, after he was freed and before he
came to the United States on his first visit. I had the very, very special privilege of
spending 5 hours with him and several American Jews who came to meet with him
in advance of his visit, to better understand. And he said to us, 'If,' he
said, 'I understand why Israel made friends with apartheid South Africa.
Because Israel was boycotted all over the world, Israel couldn't have relations with
other countries in the world, Israel wasn't sold arms to defend itself, so I do
not judge Israel, I understand why Israel, you need not to judge me, for the friends that I make. I make friends with the PLO, I make friends with those who
supported our liberation movement, and if you don't make it as a prerequisite
that your enemies have to be my enemies, I will not make it a prerequisite for
"So Mandela, who was a heroic fighter in the struggle for...understood, very
well, that just like he had to make deals with the devil, he made deals for
support with people that he didn't agree with, that he didn't like. You
know from his record, he was not a Communist, yet he took the support of
Communists, because they were the only ones, he understood, and respected, that
Israel was dealing with South Africa.
"South Africa was one of the few countries that sold it arms. Now these were
the years that America wouldn't sell Israel arms. Those were the years that
Europe wouldn't sell Israel arms. So he understood it. Was it pleasant for
everybody? No. Did we send the stuff about the ANC then? Yes. And today things
are changed, very dramatically changed."
How accurately did Foxman recall Mandela's remarks? We know that the ANC made a
deal with apartheid's leaders. Blacks got their rights and hearings were to be
held on what repressive crimes actually happened during the racist era. But
white military and other officials retained their posts under the new Black-led
government. So if Mandela said what Foxman claims he said, it was in that
reconciling spirit: "You did what you thought you had to do, same with me, now
lets move on."
The ANC's generous peace didn't retrospectively make apartheid less criminal.
If Mandela wanted relations between his new government and Israel to go to a
friendlier level, that didn't make Israeli and ADL collaboration with racism
even a speck less felonious. And of course ANCers still denounce Israeli crimes
against Palestinians. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, chair of South Africa's Truth
and Reconciliation Commission, was emphatic at a Boston "End the
rally in 2002:
"You know as well as I do that, somehow, the Israeli government is placed
a pedestal. To criticize it is to be immediately dubbed anti-Semitic....
People are scared to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful --
very powerful. Well, so what?
"For goodness sake, this is God's world! We live in a moral universe. The
apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists. Hitler,
Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet, Milosevic and Idi Amin were all powerful, but in
end they bit the dust."
Five years later, Israel is still very powerful. But in time it too shall be
replaced by a democratic secular binational Palestinian/Israeli state. The
model for that is today's South African constitution. Most whites there say
they as well as blacks are the better for it. And when secular binationalism
finally wins, Israelis as well as Palestinians will likewise rejoice in their
equality, peace and prosperity.
Lenni Brenner is the author of 4 books, Zionism in the Age of the
The Iron Wall: Zionist Revisionism from Jabotinsky to Shamir, Jews in
Today, and The Lesser Evil, a study of the Democratic Party. They have been
favorably reviewed in 11 languages by prominent publications, including the
Times, the London Review of Books, Moscow's Izvestia and the Jerusalem Post.
In 2002 he edited 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis. It
contains complete translations of many documents quoted in
Zionism in the Age of the Dictators and The Iron Wall. In 2004 he edited Jefferson & Madison On Separation of Church and State:
Writings on Religion and Secularism.
He blogs at www.smithbowen.net/linfame/brenner
and can be reached at