Israel’s secret and cozy relationship with apartheid South Africa


This book will make a splash.

Glenn Frankel, former Southern Africa and Jerusalem bureau chief for the Washington Post, discusses it here.


Israel’s secret and cozy relationship with apartheid South Africa

  1. It's chilling to read in the review of the book, that one US apologist for Israeli at the time rejected evidence of a substantial Israel-South Africa arms trade as "rank cynicism, rampant hypocrisy and anti-Semitic prejudice."

    Speaking of cynicism and hypocrisy …

  2. One of the greatest things Mulroney did was to stand against apartheid and South Africa. He's lost any respect he gained with that, however, as he has begun shilling for Saudi Arabia.

  3. While this book will certainly detail many heretofore unkonwn links and aspects of the relationship it was quite widely acknowledged that Israel and aprtheid era South Africa were close allies.

    Part of it stems from the Boers identification with much of the Old Testament imagery of the Jewish people that they felt was reflected in their own "struggle" such as comparing the Great Trek to the exodus.

  4. Yeah. But the book will get people talking.

  5. When the South African prime minister, John Vorster, made a state visit to Israel in April 1976, it began with a tour of Yad Vashem, Israel's great Holocaust memorial, where the late Yitzhak Rabin invited the onetime Nazi collaborator, unabashed racist, and white supremacist to pay homage to Jews who perished in the Nazi Holocaust.

    Compared to oft-heard outcries from Jewish groups over even mild whiffs of Holocaust revisionism, no less remarkable was the bland equanimity both Israeli and Diaspora Jews also displayed toward the Vorster visit. Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi recalls that [The Israeli Connection, Random House: Toronto, 1987, p.x] "[f]or most Israelis, the Vorster visit was just another state visit by a foreign leader. It did not draw much attention. Most Israelis did not even remember his name, and did not see anything unusual, much less surreal in the scene [an old Nazi diehard invited to mourn the Jewish victims at a Holocaust memorial]: Vorster was just another visiting dignitary being treated to the usual routine."

    As a onetime Nazi collaborator, John Vorster should, of course, have been arrested and tried once he set foot on Israeli soil – instead he was warmly welcomed by his Jewish hosts. The South African prime minister left Israel four days later, but not before signing several treaties between the Jewish state and Pretoria's apartheid regime. A denouement Leslie and Andrew Cockburn describe in Dangerous Liaison [Stoddart Publishing: Toronto, 1991, pp. 299-300]:

    "The old Nazi sympathizer came away with bilateral agreements for commercial, military, and nuclear cooperation that would become the basis for future relations between the two countries."

    Surely, in the diplomatic context cited above, it had actually been the failure to criticize Israel after it had so abjectly compromised Jewish dignity that was tantamount to a kind of anti-Semitism by omission.

  6. What could be more normal? One racist apartheid state getting along well with another.