Barry Shaw

Israel is the Rainbow Nation

Much fuss has been made about the Israeli decision to block Blade Nzinmande, the South African minister for higher education, from visiting Bir Zeit University.

It must be noted that this Communist Party leader supported the suspension of academic cooperation between Johannesburg University and Ben Gurion University, so this education minister can hardly be described as a shining example of free academic exchange. On the contrary, he is a champion of the dogma of academic boycotts.

What makes his example particularly harmful is that the boycott of Ben Gurion’s joint research with South Africa damages this minister’s own people.

The academic cooperation, which began in 2009, centered on helping South Africans improve their water purification and micro-algal biotechnology research. South Africa has a desperate shortage of good drinking water.

Kenneth Meshoe, a rare voice for Israel and a tireless worker for his people in the South African parliament, told me last year of politicians in his country whose hatred for Israel outweigh the best interests of their own people. Nzinmande is one of them.

Nzinmande advocates the removal of the Israeli ambassador to South Africa, and the BDS movement is threatening to march on Pretoria and physically eject Israel’s representative from their country.  Such is the level of diplomacy that the education minister employs.

What healthy relationship is possible with a South Africa whose leading politicians and diplomats look on Hamas as a liberation organization?  Hamas is the radical Islamic regime that controls Gaza and has a charter that threatens to destroy my country and kill Jews in the name of Allah and jihad, the same ideology that is conducting the wholesale slaughter of Christians in Africa and the Middle East.  Despite this, and despite him living under a barrage of Hamas rockets last year, the view that Hamas is a liberation organization is still shared by the current South African Ambassador to Israel.

You know that BDS is bankrupt when they have to invite a Palestinian terrorist to help their fund-raising efforts in South Africa. This is what happened when Leila Khaled visited that country in February of this year.

Khaled successfully hi-jacked a TWA plane in 1969 and then tried to hi-jack an El Al flight between Amsterdam and New York in 1970. She was holding two hand grenades as she was tackled by alert Israeli air marshals.

In South Africa, they call this type of person, ‘a freedom fighter.’

The BDS movement and Palestinians such as Khaled work, not for a two–state solution, but for the total destruction of Israel, but this did not prevent Khaled from being warmly welcomed by Home Affairs minister Malusi Gigaba as she landed in his country. She was also received as a special guest at the South African parliament.

People like South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu regularly and falsely calls Israel ‘an apartheid state.’ They are unable to get past the empty slogans and realize that it is the Palestinians they favor against a liberal democratic freedom-loving Israel that practices an apartheid and an anti-Semitism of massive proportions.

People such as Tutu need to learn that the flight of Christians from Palestinian-controlled territory has nothing to do with Israeli occupation, but has an awful lot to do with how Palestinian occupation is practiced. Ramallah, the capital of the Palestinian Authority, had a 20% Christian population when Israel handed the town over to Arafat’s PLO. Now the Christian population is less than 2%. If this fall in numbers had to do with ‘occupation’ how is it that the Muslim population of Ramallah has grown, not shrunk?

So I ask, who is doing the ethnic cleansing when it comes to Christians living threatened lives in Palestinian-controlled societies. This is a question that the Archbishop, and other South African Christians, ought to be asking.

The time has come for South Africa to take a more level-headed world view as its post-Mandela reputation takes a beating at the hands of his inheritors.

South Africa prides itself on being the Rainbow nation. As I told an audience in South Africa a couple of years ago, if there is one country, north of Cape Town, up the huge continent of Africa and across the crescent sweep of the Middle East, that can be called ‘The Rainbow Nation’ that country can only be Israel.

Israel in a very dark part of the world is, indeed, the Rainbow Nation.


Barry Shaw is the special consultant on delegitimization issue to the Strategic Dialogue Center at Netanya Academic College.

He is also the author of the new book ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS and Anti-Semitism.’




About the Author
Barry Shaw is the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. He is also the author of ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS and Anti-Semitism,' '1917. From Palestine to the Land of Israel, 'BDS for IDIOTS,' and his latest work 'A Tale of Love and Destiny,' the dramatic life of a Jewish heroine.
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