Mandela And “Israel Bashing”

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On facebook, my friend Bret Whitley? asked this question on a thread, and it’s something I have been wanting to discuss for a while and never got around to it. But the Mandela / ANC discussions had already brought the topic Bret cues up back into focus.

Thanks Bret for kicking this one off.

Here is his question:

” Why is Israel so trounced upon by the left or progressives when they are the ones being bombarded with terroristic attacks and only retaliate with reasonably appropriate response by the standards used in the case of Mandela, George Washington, Abe Lincoln, William Wallace or King David. I’ve asked before to be corrected if I was wrong and since then I’ve read that it wasn’t just racial equality Mandela was fighting for, he was after all an African nationalist, democratic socialist and co-founded the MK with the South African Communist Party. Not exactly an Abe Lincoln type of guy. And please refrain from the argument that Israel stole the land from the Palestinians. There hasn’t been a Palestine since biblical times. And the British Mandate doesn’t count. Palestinian primarily referred to anything associated with that region before 1948, Jews, Arabs, Jordanians, Syrians etc… Now the word Palestinian is used in reference to non-Jew Arabs. And to back up my Israeli question, I do have friends with family in Israel, the shelling and attacks have been directed at them first for a very long time and have only increased. “

I’m not a liberal, but I’ll share my thoughts on this topic.

First part of the question: “Why is Israel so trounced upon by the left or progressives when they are the ones being bombarded with terroristic attacks and only retaliate with reasonably appropriate response by the standards used in the case of Mandela, George Washington, Abe Lincoln, William Wallace or King David.”

Well, for one thing, it’s because we are witnessing in real time the persistent culling on a population from their native lands. The Israeli government is using a lot of the same tactics that the young United States did to slowly resolve the “Indian problem”. Though there are some differences, the same dynamics are in play, where the more technologically advanced peoples / culture is slowly but surly usurping the other by taking the land and making it their own. That is the reason Netanyahu, despite numerous opportunities to display good faith and show he is serious about a two-state solution, will not halt the construction of new settlements in Gaza and the West Bank. The ultimate goal is to build enough settlement so that the Palestinian people will be squeezed out… Problem solved.

Next – None of the leaders you reference in your comment are comparable to the Israeli side of things. The Israeli people are not being oppressed or subjugated or abused or treated like a second or third class of citizen by a more powerful foe. The Israeli government and far superior military, in this case, is the Goliath.

“And please refrain from the argument that Israel stole the land from the Palestinians.”

Well, first, the original “stealing” wasn’t done by the Israelis… It was done by the UN. I fully understand why it was done. But the land was taken from an indigenous peoples and a new country was created out of whole cloth on top of that stolen land. They used the same basic model that serve the Great Powers in the Treaty of Versailles, the taking and repartitioning of lands in the Middle East in a way helped them, but didn’t take into account the dynamics of the native cultures and civilizations that were already there. We are still paying the price for their lack of foresight.

“There hasn’t been a Palestine since biblical times.”

Irrelevant. There wasn’t a “state” of Palestine per see, at least by western standards. But there was a people. And that was their homeland.

By the way…. There wasn’t a United States in biblical times either, but you’re fine with our existence. Some even say God preordained this country, which is funny because this country was built by a slow but persistent European invasion coupled with a semi-genocide of the native peoples. Don’t get me wrong…. I’m not saying our country shouldn’t exist, or that we are “Evil” or anything like that. But the method we used to gain the land we now call the United States was hardly adherent to any religious principle I know of, unless conquering and dispossessing a population for your own benefit seems like something that is just and righteous.

It’s distasteful; it’s a stain on the American cultural tapestry… But it’s the way it happened. It’s history. It is what it is, and you can’t change it.

Now, what if we saw the same thing happening to another people? What if we could stop another country from making the same damning mistakes we did?

What Israel is doing now is as wrong as what this country did to it’s native population.

That is part of the answer.

“I’ve asked before to be corrected if I was wrong and since then I’ve read that it wasn’t just racial equality Mandela was fighting for, he was after all an African nationalist, democratic socialist and co-founded the MK with the South African Communist Party. Not exactly an Abe Lincoln type of guy.”

You’re not wrong… But you’re not right either. The SACP, declare illegal in the 1950, was indeed an ally and founding partner of the ANC, but it wasn’t an alliance based on common views or agreement with Communist ideals. It was an alliance based on the common gal of ousting the Apartheid regime. Mandela was no more a Communist based on this alliance than the US was Communist based on their alliance with the USSR during World War 2. The struggles of war make for strange bedfellows. After the successful ouster of the white supremacist government, Mandela is quoted as saying:

“There will always be those who say that the Communists were using us. But who is to say that we were not using them?”

As demonstrated by your own information. Mandela was willing to make alliances with people of differing political views, which in fact does make him comparable to Abe Lincoln, as that was a hallmark of Lincolns leadership skills.

I do have friends with family in Israel, the shelling and attacks have been directed at them first for a very long time and have only increased.

This whole thing is a mess. There are no easy answers. But the reason Israel get so much blame is because the ball is firmly in its court. If they wanted peace, they could get it. The possibility was shown to exist by the cease fire and almost success of the Oslo Accords in the 90’s. And that was done with Yasser Arafat no less! Mahmoud Abbas is a much more malleable guy. But Israels refusal to do anything meaningful to demonstrate it really wants peace, refusal to halt its continued expansion of the settlements and blockades against the residence of the Gaza Strip, and pursue a peace deal in good faith, guarantees your friends will continue to have to live with the constant shelling.

Violence begets violence. This is a self perpetuating situation.

Again, Israel is the greater power by magnitudes. The ball is in their court. That is why they rightfully get so much of the blame.

I have more to say, but I have to got be on TV now.

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