Revolution #104, October 14, 2007

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Part 3: Israel and South Africa

Think You Know the Facts About Israel? Take the Quiz and Find Out …


Last spring, at the School for International Training in Vermont, a student posted a fact sheet about the state of Israel on an online discussion group. The fact sheet came from Revolution’s predecessor, the Revolutionary Worker. The school went into an uproar. The Dean of Graduate Studies called for a campus forum—not to debate the content of the fact sheet, but to criticize the student who sent it for violating the school’s policy on “appropriate use of the electronic media” by posting “material that may be or may be perceived as harassment”!

In Revolution #103, we printed the first two installments of this quiz: “Think You Know the Facts About Israel? Take the Quiz and Find Out.” In this third installment, you can test your knowledge on the relationship between the state of Israel and the racist apartheid regime in South Africa when that existed.

Multiple choice:

1) During the time the apartheid government of South Africa was isolated by a UN embargo on trade, a number of governments still maintained some trade with the racist South African regime. In the case of Israel, that nominal trade consisted of…

a) Trade limited to the export of oranges and other food.

b) Trade limited to the export of eyeglasses and medical supplies.

c) Trade centered on large scale, strategic military assistance including material and training to help the apartheid regime massacre protesters and assistance in developing a nuclear weapons program.

d) None of the above – Israel was one of the few countries in the world to strictly observe the boycott of trade with South Africa.


2) When South African prime minister John Vorster — who had been jailed for his membership in the fascist Ossewabrandwag organization in South Africa that had sided with Hitler – made a state visit to Israel in 1976…

a) Israel allowed Vorster to visit, but in a close parallel to Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s reception at Columbia University in New York in 2007, Vorster’s speech at Tel Aviv University was introduced by the university president with scathing denunciation of Vorster’s Nazi past and the genocidal crimes of the Nazis.

b) Israeli authorities boycotted his visit.

c) Israel’s Prime Minister at the time, Yitzhak Rabin, praised “the ideals shared by Israel and South Africa: the hopes for justice and peaceful coexistence” and declared both countries were threatened by “foreign-inspired instability and recklessness.”

d) Vorster was detained at the Tel Aviv Airport and not allowed to enter Israel.


3) In apartheid South Africa, after the indigenous African people’s land was stolen, they were declared illegal inhabitants of their own land. In Israel, the status of Palestinian people who own houses in Jerusalem, land seized by Israel in the 1967 war, has been addressed in the following way:

a) Jerusalem has always been almost exclusively been inhabited by European immigrants, and there is no issue of dispossessed Palestinian homeowners.

b) Israeli court rulings protect Palestinians who own homes in Jerusalem.

c) Palestinian property holders in Jerusalem are considered “illegally present people” in their own homes, without legal rights to live in their own houses. Thousands of Palestinians living in the West Bank who own land or homes in Jerusalem lost all rights to their holdings.

d) None of the above.


4) In 1976, the South African government’s yearbook characterized Israel and South Africa as confronting the same problem. That was…

a) “Israel and South Africa have one thing above all else in common: Functioning as democracies in areas of the world where democracy has fragile roots.”

b) “Israel and South Africa have one thing above all else in common: Lessening tensions with their neighbors.”

c) “Israel and South Africa have one thing above all else in common: they are both situated in a predominantly hostile world inhabited by dark peoples.”

d) None of the above - Israel and apartheid South Africa have nothing in common.


5) In addition to providing military aid to the pariah apartheid regime in South Africa, which of the following other notorious regimes or armies was a recipient of Israeli military aid?

a) Iran under the Shah, a tyrant who killed thousands of opponents and whose vicious secret police, the SAVAK, received training from Israel.

b) The Islamic Republic of Iran – Israel served as the go-between, sending arms to the Khomeni regime as part of the Reagan administration’s arms-hostages-contras-cocaine dealings.

c) The Nicaraguan Contras, who carried out attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure to overthrow the elected government of Nicaragua.

d) All of the above.


6) Speaking of the Bantustans, remote, barren “reservation-type” enclosures to which the indigenous African people of South Africa were confined, former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told Italian Prime Minister Massimo D’Alema that…

a) The Bantustan model was the most appropriate solution to the conflict with the Palestinians.

b) The Bantustan model was appalling, and drew parallels to the forced resettlement of European Jews in ghettos.

c) The Bantustan model was abandoned due to the struggle of the people of South Africa, and pressure from Israel.

d) The Bantustan model might have been appropriate for South Africa, but was not appropriate for Israel.

7) The similarity between the Pass Laws under the South African apartheid regime and the identity cards carried by Palestinians in Israel is that …

a) Israeli soldiers routinely humiliate and harass Palestinians at checkpoints in the same way that the racist South African regime routinely treated black South Africans.

b) Israeli police stop people based on their apparent nationality and demand their identity cards as a matter of routine, in the same way that the apartheid regime stopped black people based on skin color.

c) Walls, checkpoints, and repression create an environment in Israel where much of the Jewish public is shielded from, doesn’t see, and avoids confronting the brutal repression of Palestinians in the same way that South African whites could turn their backs on the impact of apartheid.

d) All of the above.


8) A fundamental difference between the South African apartheid regime’s displacement and oppression of the black people of South Africa, and Israel’s displacement and oppression of the Palestinian people is…

a) In South Africa the process took 300 years, in Israel, it has taken only about 60 years. This clearly disassociates what is going on in Israel from what was done under apartheid.

b) In South Africa, ideologists of apartheid invoked the Bible, while in Israel, ideologists of Zionism invoke the Torah. There is clearly a fundamental difference between the different sections of the Bible being invoked.

c) Israel is in the Middle East, the apartheid regime was in Africa. There is clearly a fundamental difference due to the different locales.

d) None of the above.


Answers Part 3:

1. Answer: c

Source: The Guardian, “Brothers in arms - Israel’s secret pact with Pretoria,” February 7, 2006

2. Answer: c

Source: The Guardian, “Brothers in arms - Israel’s secret pact with Pretoria,” February 7, 2006

3. Answer: c

Source: Ha’aretz, “Land lords,” January 20, 2005                                   

4. Answer: c

Source: The Guardian, “Brothers in arms - Israel’s secret pact with Pretoria,” February 7, 2006

5. Answer: d

Sources: Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians by Noam Chomsky, South End Press, 1999; Israeli Foreign Policy: South Africa and Central America by Jane Hunter; South End Press, 1987; “Background to Confrontation: The U.S. & Iran: A History of Imperialist Domination, Intrigue and Intervention” by Larry Everest, Revolution, series beginning May 20, 2007.

6. Answer: a

Source: The Guardian, “Brothers in arms - Israel’s secret pact with Pretoria,” February 7, 2006

7. Answer: d

Source: The Guardian, “Worlds apart,” February 6, 2006

8. Answer: d

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