Revolution #213, October 10, 2010

Take the Quiz! Israel: Perception & Reality


Background note to this section of the quiz

Under the white supremacist apartheid system, in effect in South Africa from 1948 to 1994, millions of South African people were driven out of their communities, deprived of citizenship, and violently herded into so-called “homelands” called bantustans. Education, medical care, and other services were rigidly segregated and abominable for black South Africans. Protests and uprisings were violently suppressed. The apartheid regime carried out proxy wars on behalf of the United States in opposition to Soviet-sponsored forces in Southern Africa during the “cold war.” In 1994, in response to international outrage, resistance in South Africa, and in the context of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the “cold war,” formal apartheid was ended.


1) Until the early 1990s, the apartheid government of South Africa was isolated by a UN embargo on trade. During that period, Israel’s commercial relationship with South Africa 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) All of the above.

e) 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 a fascist organization in South Africa that sided with Hitler in World War 2—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 Prof. Joseph Klafter (currently the university’s president) with scathing denunciation of Vorster’s “unacceptable past positions,” and “abhorrent current policies towards [South Africa’s] black population.”

b) Israel allowed Vorster to visit, but 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 taken by force, 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 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) Speaking of the bantustans, remote, barren 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.

5) 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.

b) Israeli police stop people based on their apparent nationality and demand their identity cards as a matter of routine.

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 conditions of the Palestinian people.

d) All of the above

e) None of the above.

6) Which of the following is a substantial difference between Israel and apartheid South Africa?

a) Ideologists of apartheid invoked religious dogma to justify white supremacy, whereas defenders of Zionism do not.

b) While these provisions are flawed in implementation, Israel’s Constitution guarantees equality to people of all races and religions, whereas no such protection existed in South Africa.

c) Israel maintains a world-class arsenal of nuclear weapons and has the technology, intelligence capacity and delivery systems to launch a devastating nuclear attack—while apartheid South Africa never achieved nuclear weapons capacity.

d) The South African regime provided military assistance, training, and materiel to pro-U.S. forces carrying out terrorist attacks, whereas Israel has not and is not involved in such actions.

e) None of the above.


Part 1 of this quiz, "The Origins of the State of Israel, the Palestinians, and the Holocaust," appeared in the previous issue of Revolution. See the editorial in that issue.

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.

What Humanity Needs
From Ike to Mao and Beyond