Israel And Apartheid South Africa: Exposure Of Uncomfortable Old Links

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Last week, a new book on an alleged nuclear pact between the Zionist state of Israel and apartheid South Africa, led to strenuous denials by the Israeli president, Shimon Peres, about the presence of such a pact in the first place. The new book showed that Israel had agreed to give South Africa nuclear weapons in 1975. The report on the book was carried by the British newspaper, GUARDIAN. Peres’ denial was premised upon the fact that he was Israel’s defence minister at the time. A spokesman for president Shimon Peres, Ayelet Frisch, said there was “no basis, no foundation in reality” for such a report. He added that “we regret that the paper used in the story documents by the South African government officials rather than documents that present the facts”, in a statement given to the BBC.


What those “documents that present the facts” were not presented by the Israeli presidential spokesman, but he added further that “Israel did not conduct any negotiations for the sale of nuclear weapons to [apartheid] South Africa and none of the aforementioned documents are original signed Israeli documents that confirm the existence of such talks or negotiations”. Ayelet Frisch said that president Shimon Peres will write a letter to the GUARDIAN newspaper demanding “the right facts”. It is quite remarkable that the facts we are dealing with came from 1975, which was the year of independence in Angola. The apartheid regime in South Africa had invaded Angola to prevent a takeover by MPLA, which African countries supported as the authentic movement of liberation in the country. The apartheid regime had supported the Western-backed puppet groups, UNITA and FNLA; furthermore, it was also a fact of that phase in African history, that Israel was actively opposed to Africa’s anti-colonial processes and was an active ally of the apartheid regime in South Africa.


So when leading African nationalists like Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki and even the Jewish patriot Dennis Goldberg, were serving very long prison sentences, for opposition to apartheid, Israel was one of the greatest allies of the apartheid regime. As a matter of fact, Israel was said to have supplied billions of dollars worth of arms to the apartheid regime. Writing on May 28th, 2010, in the ONLINE JOURNAL, Jerry Mazza, reminded of the irony of how the Nazi sympathizer prime minister of apartheid South Africa, John Vorster, visited Israel in April 1976 and was permitted to lay a wreath at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, to the victims of the German Reich that Vorster once saluted. That visit was indicative of the links between the Zionist state and apartheid, and it had been undertaken to deepen the partnership.


Over a period of two decades, the article said that Israel sold arms totaling $10billion to the apartheid regime; these were “cutting-edge weapons and military high-tech when most of the world was turning its back on the apartheid regime”. The facts quoted here have been taken from the book released on May 25 by Pantheon, titled “THE UNSPOKEN ALLIANCE: ISRAEL’S SECRET RELATIONSHIP WITH APARTHEID SOUTH AFRICA”, by Sasha Polakow-Suransky, an editor of FOREIGN AFFAIRS magazine, a Rhodes scholar and an American Jew “whose parents immigrated to the United States  from South Africa”, according to Jerry Mazza. Polakow-Suransky, was said to have unearthed 7,000 pages of “heretofore secret documents from the bowels of South Africa’s Defense Ministry, Foreign Ministry and Armscor, the state defense contractor, including the secret 1975 cooperation agreement signed by defense ministers Shimon Peres and P.W.Botha”.


It was these “heretofore secret documents” that the Israeli president’s spokesperson denied while Israel was also alleged to have attempted to block the release of the documents, but the post-apartheid ANC government “turned its back on” the Israeli efforts. The journalist, Glenn Frankel teaches journalism at Stanford University and had been the Southern Africa, Jerusalem and London bureau chief for the WASHINGTON POST as well being a Pulitzer prize winner; he did a review of the new book and underlined the “illicit” nature of the affair between Zionism and apartheid, which was said to be “thrilling in some strange way to both parties”, according to Mazza. Yet, Frankel claimed that “it has obviously and will continue to seriously damage both nations’ reputations, hanging ‘like a toxic cloud’ over them”. The twist of fate will not be lost to those who have some historical understanding, since the founding father of the Zionist state, Ben Gurion, had condemned apartheid and had also attempted to ally the new state with the newly-independent African countries from the late 1950s and early 1960s. The 1967 Six-day war changed the balance of forces, with the succeeding generation of Israeli leaders like Rabin, Peres and Dayan taking a turn away from African countries that had broken relations with Israel, after the 1973 Yom Kippur war, to a firm alliance with apartheid and enmity for Africa’s anti-colonial interests.


Apartheid South Africa supplied spare parts for Israeli Mirage jet fighters just as over twenty African countries broke diplomatic relations with Israel, and the considerable South African Jewish community supported the Zionist state with significant financial resources; as Polakow-Suranky noted, this background led the two states on their way to being “brothers in arms”, a relationship which he similarly described as unholy. “And so a synergy of self-interest grew”, with apartheid money aiding Israel as Pretoria amassed cutting-edge arms and technology from Tel Aviv. Polakow-Suransky noted that “for two decades Israel went on publicly denouncing the apartheid regime while profiting enormously from it, propping up the white minority, helping to sustain racial supremacy”. But it was not lost on the world, that it was the same policies of supremacy and apartheid which have been central in the Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people.


The new book added that while Peres and Botha signed their nuclear pact in 1975, Israel was selling tanks, fighter aircraft and long range missiles to Pretoria and offering nuclear warheads too; of course, this has been denied by the Israeli president, Shimon Peres. The supply of Israeli weapons to the racist regime apparently did not stop, even after the UN Security Council imposed a mandatory arms embargo against South Africa in November 1977. A right-wing Likud government headed by Menachem Begin came into power in Israel in the same year and that led to the strengthening of relations between the two states. Mazza noted that South Africa delivered a 500-ton stockpile of uranium to the Israeli nuclear program and in turn Israel supplied South Africa 30 grams of tritium “a radioactive material that increases the explosive power of thermonuclear weapons”. And by September 1979, there was a double nuclear blast over the South Atlantic details of which have remain shrouded but which was believed to have been achieved as a result of the active collaboration between the Zionists and the apartheid state.


The African people’s struggle eventually ended apartheid in South Africa, against the backdrop of the changes which took place in the world of the 1990s, including the end of the Cold War. Everybody came out of the cold, and it was almost as if nobody helped to prop up apartheid in South Africa. Even the United States arm-twisted the UN General Assembly to drop Resolutions which had been critical of the policies of Israel. Countries around Africa re-established relations with Israel and it has continued to sponsor “Christian Zionist” groups around the continent, sympathetic to its policies. However, the new book, “THE UNSPOKEN ALLIANCE: ISRAEL’S SECRET RELATIONSHIP WITH APARTHEID SOUTH AFRICA”, has opened an aperture to the past that Zionist Israel will not want remembered, at a time that it desperately wants to be seen as a friend of our continent


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