RAMAPHOSA GAFFE: A River too Far?

FOR some it was merely a ‘gaffe’, an awkward ‘statement that many regard as anti-Israel’, for others it was a ‘river too far’, a red line in the sand marked Antisemitism.

In many countries such as the UK and Germany, the phrase ‘from the River to the Sea’, is banned outright due to its falling within working definitions of Antisemitism proposed by the IHRA.

‘The River’ chants association with a listed jihadist terror group Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya aka HAMAS, merely bolsters this view. The organization long stated ambition, before the liberation of the City they refer to as Quds, is the total annihilation of the state of Israel — the replacement of the Jewish State by an Islamic state ‘from the River to the Sea.’ .

For a country, South Africa whose stated policy has traditionally been one of tolerance and support for a two-state solution, President Ramaphosa appeared to be signalling a shift away from the bipartisanship associated with the Mandela era —  towards the hard-liners in his party, who by implication favour the imposition of an authoritarian, clerical regime under Sharia law. 

Mandela who is often misquoted on the subject, had long recognised the rights of both states to coexist, stating in 1990: “Support for Yasser Arafat and his struggle does not mean that the ANC has ever doubted the right of Israel to exist as a state, legally.”

It is near impossible to see how any of the ruling parties current stated policies square up nor even coincide with the policies espoused by the  Jihadists in Gaza.

Abolition of independent trade unions, limitation of women’s rights, jailtime for LGBTQ, a ‘final battle between Muslims and Jews’, are certainly not policies one would wish to see on a party-political platform in the week before a national election, but the ANC has been going down this annhiliationist road for decades.  It is a partner in a coalition in Johannesburg whose far-right anchor party Al Jam-ah, represents precisely such values — an undermining and eventual replacement of progressive ideas which underpin our constitution with Sharia law.

The reality of the conflict in which so-called moderates rank as impossible conservatives who would probably turn a blind eye to public beheadings, and stonings,  as is the case in Iran, leaves one at a loss as to the way forward?

Holding out for a Fatah victory when Hamas have turned into the political movers and shakers on the world stage appears to be a losing proposition.

Hamas have shown that not only are they able to eliminate  their opposition, but are able to absorb many of the elements which make Fatah the more palatable side of Palestinianism. Yesterday they were able to launch a salvo of rockets at Tel Aviv at the same time as they lured the IDF into Rafah with an associating cost on civilian life.

While some may see South Africa’s case before the ICJ (ostensibly brought to limit casualties) as truly heroic, the attempt to intervene politically may yet backfire, at least if our government fails to draw any guidance from the ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan’s recent indictment of Hamas leaders Sinwar, Deif, Haniyeh (see here)

South Africa’s presumed policy of non-alignment is also dangerously beginning to resemble all out partisan support of any terror group associated with the conflict, which risks further antagonising the West.

I think readers know well what needs to be stated here: if you still believe Jews and Palestinians to be ‘separate and distinct race groups’,  you may yet be correct in your analysis of the parallels between our own struggle and the struggle for Palestinian Statehood, but if like me, you reject the entire notion that nations can ever be considered ‘races’, then you may suffer from a wrong diagnosis, and be dispensing the wrong medication to the wrong patient?

Note: Read my earlier pieces debunking the apartheid analogy here, or traverse a page debunking many of the myths associated with the Jerusalem conflict. If that doesn’t get your goat, then read my defense of Secularism in preceding posts.

READ: Salman Rushdie says a Palestinian state formed today would be ‘Taliban-like’