After Visiting Israel, a South African Activist No Longer Thinks it’s an Apartheid State

Tshediso Mangope, a black South African human-rights activist, grew up under apartheid watching his parents being humiliated and believing that the situation for Palestinians in Israel was much the same. But after a recent visit he has come to reject “the analysis that Israel practices apartheid and the demand that Israel should be dismantled and replaced with a single state of Palestine.” He cites three reasons for his change of mind.

First,

apartheid in South Africa was designed by white settlers who had moved from the Netherlands and Britain to conquer African land and turn the indigenous people into virtual slaves.

However, Israel is not a settler state. The Jewish people are indigenous to Israel, including the contested West Bank and the holy city of Jerusalem. [Modern Israelis] are descendants of Jewish refugees who were displaced centuries ago and they are back to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination. There is no self-respecting, sober intellectual who will argue that returning to your ancestral homeland from which you were displaced makes you a settler.

Second,

the oppressed black people in South Africa were the overwhelming majority [in the area] and could, therefore, still mobilize themselves even after suffering multiple defeats. We could also rely on the support of other neighboring African countries, which had gained independence before us and helped us to the democratic victory of 1994.

Jewish people, on the other hand, are a religious and cultural minority in the middle of the Arab world. All neighboring countries have fought against the state of Israel in one way or another since 1948. Each of these countries has at some point vowed to wipe Israel off the map.

Third,

the oppressed black majority of South Africa made it expressly clear that the content of our struggle was not to annihilate the white minority, who designed and were profiting from apartheid. The history of all black struggles in South Africa is the striving for peace and reconciliation. . . .

However, the situation is different in Israel. Despite the fact that Jewish people have a legitimate claim to Jewish land, most Palestinians refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist. They have essentially supported [a] call for the genocide of Jewish people—and, indeed, a single state between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River could only be achieved by killing and expelling the majority of Jews currently living there.

Read more at The Tower

More about: apartheid, BDS, Israel & Zionism, South Africa

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy