ONE of the claims made by apartheid revisionists, aside from their strange assertion that apartheid is somehow a Jewish conspiracy against the world, is that the Palestinian entities in the West bank and Gaza are similar to the apartheid-era bantustans, and thus the Jews, or at least Israelis, are somehow guilty of the crime of apartheid.
In an opinion piece published by Business Day, revisionist Allister Sparks complains about “the herding of the Palestinian majority (sic) into the equivalent of noncontiguous Bantustans that can never be viable, independent states and are in effect under Israeli military control.” Aside from the fact that Arabs are in a minority in Israel, the country is in itself, the result of a UN Bantustan plan in which British Mandate Palestine was divided up several times. First into two halves resulting in the creation of the Palestinian majority state of Jordan and the proposed new Jewish Homeland, then again and again, until you have the three parts which we see today which include the satellites of West Bank and Gaza.
Revisionists on the whole ignore the ongoing Jewish refugee problem created as a result of successive expulsions from the Holy land and places like Spain during the Inquisition and modern day Syria — demanding that we focus on the exclusive problems of only one group of more valued, displaced persons, and ignoring the subsequent Jewish refugee question following the two European world wars. South Africa’s own history bares testimony to the manner in which apartheid policies created by race supremacists and fascists were responsible for this refugee crisis.
On 1 May 1930. the parliament of the Union of South Africa passed an Immigration Quota Act, a law which was introduced into the house by the then Minister of the Interior, D F. Malan. The law effectively curtailed Jewish immigration to South Africa from Eastern Europe.
While boatloads of German Jews fleeing the Nazis were being turned back and Malan (still leader of the opposition) was openly supporting Adolf Hitler’s brown shirts, South Africa entered World War II on the side of the colonial powers which were responsible for the failed UN-sponsored Middle East partition plan. The tragic story of the voyage of the St. Louis. a German ocean liner most notable for an ill-fated journey in 1939, in which her captain, Gustav Schröder, tried to find homes for 937 German Jewish refugees is the subject of a well-known 1974 book called Voyage of the Damned.
Denied entry to Cuba, the United States as well as Canada, these refugees were finally accepted to various countries of Europe. Historians have estimated that, after their return to Europe, approximately a quarter of the ship’s passengers died in concentration camps.
After the war, South Africa embarked on its own tragic journey to D F Malan’s apartheid government. It is not insignificant that apartheid was introduced in the same year that Israel like the later Transkei, gained its independence from the Western powers. Several conferences on the Jewish refugee problem, most notably the Bermuda Conference and Evian Conference failed to resolve the problem of Jewish refugees, a fact widely used in Nazi propaganda.
Following the UN partition plan Jews were forcibly expelled from the Arab States and North Africa. Some 850 000 Jews lost their homes and property and were forced to flee to the new state of Israel, while some 472 000 Arabs* were forced into the neighbouring Arab states and Jordan. The refugee problem remains with us today, along with the land question, as these states still refuse to return 100 000 square km of deeded property, land once owned by Arab Jews, and ancient Aramaic communities in Syria face renewed bombardment by missiles.
NOTE: Arabs claim that 800,000 to 1,000,000 Palestinians became refugees in 1947-49. The last census was taken in 1945. It found only 756,000 permanent Arab residents in Israel. On November 30, 1947, the date the UN voted for partition, the total was 809,100. A 1949 Government of Israel census counted 160,000 Arabs living in the country after the war. This meant that no more than 650,000 Palestinian Arabs could have become refugees. A report by the UN Mediator on Palestine arrived at an even lower figure – 472,000.