Listening to those who know

If any nation truly understands the moral cost (and international price) for governing along racial lines, it’s South Africa. So this news is most encouraging:

A South African cabinet minister, who is himself Jewish but also an outspoken critic of Israel, on Monday defended his invitation to Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to make his first visit outside the Muslim world, saying it was “myopic” to reject opportunities for dialogue.

Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils provoked controversy last week when he extended the invitation during a visit to the Palestinian territories. He said South Africa’s own experience showed the need to talk to all sides.

“Those who myopically object to such invitations merely show that they have learnt nothing from South Africa’s transition,” Kasrils said in a statement.

“Such logic as they espouse would not have allowed (apartheid era president) PW Botha to have met with the imprisoned (Nelson) Mandela nor his release by (former president) FW De Klerk as a partner in negotiations.”

Dialogue is the only way to move forward on the Israel/Palestine conflict, though the Jewish state realises that true peace would end its ability to colonise Palestinian land. And Zionist groups in the Diaspora know that periods of relative calm are bad for fund-raising. Whenever Israel is ”under threat”, it’s a strangely reassuring time for them.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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