Former ANC Minister Ronnie Kasrils has penned an explosive opinion piece for The Guardian, comparing the current Israeli regime to that of South Africa’s apartheid in the 21st century. Isreal’s treatment of Palestinian citizens in Gaza has received widespread condemnation, and the situation is under microscope as elections loom.
Ronnie Kasrils compares Israel to apartheid
Kasrils has lashed out at the nation for “trying to conflate opposition to Israel with antisemitism”, an action which he has warned against. He compared these attempts to shift the blame with the Botha Administration, which attempted to smear any supporters of the opposing ANC as “communists”:
“During the South African struggle, we were accused of following a communist agenda, but smears didn’t deflect us. Today, Israel’s propaganda follows a similar route, repeated by its supporters – conflating opposition to Israel with antisemitism. This must be resisted.”
Diplomatic relations between Israel and South Africa
Israeli relations with South Africa have hit rocky terrain over the past 12 months. Things escalated dramatically when Donald Trump made the decision to shift the US Embassy in the country up to Jerusalem, sparking major protests from Palestinians.
Unfortunately, their dissent was met by gratuitous fire and fury from Israeli police, as 80 people were gunned down and targeted by officers. The incident – with all the hallmarks of the Sharpeville Massacre – prompted South Africa to withdraw its ambassador from the country. Officials are also in the process of “downgrading” the embassy there.
“The government is shifting towards the far-right” – Ronnie Kasrils:
Kasrils was a staunch adversary of the apartheid regime in Mzansi. The 81-year-old spent four years as the minister of intelligence services, under Thabo Mbeki’s government, and had fought for the ANC’s right to participate as a political party long before that. He now fears the Israeli elections will encourage a further shift to the far-right:
“The parallels with South Africa are many. The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, recently said: ‘Israel is not a state of all its citizens … Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people – and them alone’.”
“[Israeli President] Netanyahu’s Likud party is desperately courting extremist parties and abandoning any pretext of negotiating with the Palestinians. His plan to bring an extremist settler party and Kahanist terrorist party into his governing coalition is obscene.”