Why is South Africa Siding With the Losers?

A few years ago, shortly after the first ‘(anti)peace flotilla’ came to Israel, I heard a radio show (can’t remember which) on Arutzsheva where the hosts made a suggestion that the world was distancing itself from Israel because they expected Iran to get the bomb. So, the hosts suggested, the world was mentally preparing itself for the demise of Israel. By stigmatizing Israel the other countries could say “well, the world is a better place without the problem-causing Israel anyway.” This is the only explanation I can think of for the wildly bizarre actions of South Africa.

The BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanction) society- which Norman Finklestein denounced as cult out to destroy Israel (TOI article here)- truly has few claims to success and many times those claims are false. So it is utterly mind-boggling that ZA would want to throw their lot in with them, although not completely unheard of.

Then there’s the fact that by distancing themselves from Israel, South Africa is throwing their lot in with the Arab states around her. Those same states that are currently unstable and have practically no economy. Those same states tend to have only one valuable resource on the market, oil. Yes, those same states.

A few years ago I might have said it was an intelligent move. There are more Arabs in the Middle East. Oil is an extremely valuable resource to have, necessary for any growing or functioning state. A few years ago I might have said that, not today.

In truth, however, I probably would have said a few years ago what I’m going to say today.

Good job South Africa, you have shown your lack of intelligence with this decision. Oil is going to remain an important resource for a few more years, true. The Arabs are more numerous and therefore more appealing as trade partners for future relations, true. But have you seen the state of things recently?

Throughout the Arab world there have been major upheavals for a very simple reason: their economies suck! The people, fed up with being out of work, rioted and threw their leaders out. As such, these countries are back at square one of developing countries. They are still creating new governments and it will be quite a few years before they have their economies up to par.

As for Israel’s economy- anybody else going up? The Eilat to Tel Aviv railway will open new routes for shipping through Israel and increase commerce. A software and medical centric economy indicates the economy is likely to remain a large player in the coming years. All indications say that Israel has the strongest economy and will continue to have the strongest economy in the Middle East for a while.

Maybe I’m underestimating you, South Africa. Maybe you are throwing in your lot with the Arabs is because you see yourselves as the underdogs in getting oil from the Arab states. So the best way to get a good deal is to cozy up to them. However, if you had any sense at all you would know that crude oil from the Arab states is on its way out while cleaner natural gas and alternative energy sources are on their way in. Which country in the Middle East has the above in spades? It’s Israel.

I don’t need to go through the NG finds off the coast of Israel. I don’t need to go through the research and development in the department of alternative energy. The articles are plastered all over the news… in… everyoutlet.

As for human rights and apartheid? We all know that Israel is the freest country in the Middle East. Let’s not kid ourselves that you really are concerned about rights and freedoms.

So what were you thinking? The only intelligent answer I can think of is that you really are preparing for Israel’s demise. There simply is no other explanation.

About the Author
Meir is a Political Science graduate of Lander College for Men (A Touro College branch in Queens NY) and a recent Oleh