Paris, 9 January 2024
Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr Shimon Samuels, expressed outrage at South Africa’s charges of “apartheid” and “genocide” against Israel, at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), based in The Hague.
In fact, antisemitism flared in Durban (South Africa’s third largest city), at what was supposed to be the 2001 World Conference Against Racism (WCAR). Instead of addressing “xenophobia and related intolerance,” it became a massive hate-fest, singling out the Jews and calling to exterminate them and wipe Israel off the maps. This happened only two weeks before the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
As the only Jewish Member of the International Steering Committee (ISC), I attended five Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) meetings in Europe, Africa, Latin America and at the UN in Geneva. The final PrepCom was in Iran, but I was denied a Visa.
On arrival at the ISC meeting in Durban, I was thrown out and called “the World Jew!”
Representing the Jewish caucus, Rabbi Cooper, the Wiesenthal Centre’s Director of Global Social Action, and myself witnessed the intimidation of a mob of hatemongers from across South Africa and elsewhere, surrounding the Durban synagogue on the Friday evening, chanting pro-Palestinian slogans and brandishing banners bearing the words “Hitler did not finish the job!”.
Only three months later, at an ISC meeting in Geneva, I managed to get a glimpse of an “8-Point Programme” for the dismantling of Israel... A plan I have consistently reported over the past two decades.
This included, among other points:
- A propaganda campaign through UN agencies to inculcate the concept of “Apartheid” regarding Israel;
- A legal campaign in the International Criminal Court and now at the International Court of Justice;
- The activation of an economic, cultural, scientific, sports and academic boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign targeting Israel;
- The delegitimization of the Jewish State through the rupture of diplomatic relations...
The founders of the UN system – among whom Polish Jew Raphael Lemkin, inspirer of the 1948 “Genocide Convention”, and René Cassin, French Jewish jurist and drafter of the also 1948 “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” – would be aghast at the malicious use of their creations.
What an irony that South Africa charges Israel of “Apartheid”, while the Jewish State – now reaching 10 million citizens – provides equal rights and access to any institutional role to its 20% of non-Jewish citizens, including Israeli Arabs.
Apartheid in South Africa was the systemic discrimination and segregation imposed by a minority of Whites over the majority of Blacks and “Coloureds”.
Upon his release from 27 years in jail, the Father of the anti-Apartheid movement, Nelson Mandela, thanked his Jewish friends and recognized the legitimacy of Zionism, while also supporting statehood for the “Palestinians” through peaceful dialogue.
As a teenager in London and member of the HaBonim Zionist youth movement, we would go to the South African Commission to sing anti-Apartheid songs.
Today, we would be singing a different tune at the South African Embassies and at The Hague... I bet that Raphael Lemkin and René Cassin would be singing along with us!
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