Nelson Mandela and Zionism

"Mandela on Israeli apartheid by Carlos L...

“Mandela on Israeli apartheid by Carlos Latuff (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

President Bill Clinton with Nelson Mandela, Ju...

President Bill Clinton with Nelson Mandela, July 4 1993. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Statue of Nelson Mandela in Johannesb...

English: Statue of Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg. The statue was sculpted by Kobus Hattingh and Jacob Maponyane (More facts) Français : Statue de Nelson Mandela au Nelson Mandela Square au centre commercial de Sandton City, Johannesburg. Sculpture de Kobus Hattingh et Jacob Maponyane Magyar: Nelson Mandela szobra Johannesburgban (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Português: Brasília - O presidente da África d...

Português: Brasília – O presidente da África do Sul, Nelson Mandela, é recebido na capital federal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nelson Mandela and Zionism


Nelson Mandela (Photo: Facebook)

English: A USSR stamp, 70th Birth Anniversary ...

English: A USSR stamp, 70th Birth Anniversary of Nelson Mandela. Date of issue: 18th July 1988. Designer: B. Ilyukhin. Michel catalogue number: 5853. 10 K. multicoloured. Portrait of Nelson Mandela (fighter for freedom of Africa). Русский: Марка СССР Н. Мандела (1988, ЦФА №5971). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nelson Mandela (Photo: Facebook)

The following is analysis from Ben Cohen of JNS. For reactions to Mandela’s passing from Israel leaders, see below.

In the coming days, there will be much reflection on the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela, following the former South African president’s passing on Dec. 5. And in the coming weeks, we can anticipate a febrile exchange over his true views on Israel and the Middle East.

We shouldn’t underestimate the significance of such a debate. Mandela has entered the pantheon of 20th-century figures that exercised the most extraordinary influence over global events, touching the lives of ordinary mortals in the process.

In the 1940s, many Britons could tell you exactly where they were when Churchill delivered his famous “Blood, Sweat and Tears” speech to the House of Commons; in the 1960s, it was hard to find an American who couldn’t remember his or her precise location when the news of Kennedy’s assassination came through; and in the 1990s, it seemed, at least to me, that absolutely everyone could recall what they were doing at the moment the world learned that Mandela had been released after serving 27 years in a South African jail.

I certainly remember where I was on February 11, 1990, when Mandela finally exited prison. Along with thousands of others, I stood at the gates of the South African Embassy in London, an imposing edifice on the eastern side of Trafalgar Square. During my late teens, I’d become a regular attendee at rallies and protests outside the embassy demanding Mandela’s release. I can still hear the joyous roar of the crowd gathered around me, as we celebrated the fact that Mandela was no longer a prisoner of the apartheid regime.

Before this account gets overly saccharine, I should add that not every opponent of apartheid was a consistent advocate of democracy elsewhere in the world. Many of the protestors around me were, frankly, diehard Stalinists. And while they accurately perceived the monstrosity that was apartheid, they were only too happy to excuse the brutal crimes of the Soviet Union and its satellite states. They had copious words of condemnation for the white minority regime in Pretoria, but they rolled their eyes in irritation at the suggestion that the Soviet KGB, the East German Stasi and the Romanian Securitate were just as bad, if not worse. Indeed, I couldn’t help thinking that they regarded Mandela’s release as welcome relief from the gloom that set in when communism unraveled around the same time.

Which brings me to the question of Mandela’s political legacy. There will be no shortage of platitudes on the left about Mandela’s nonetheless heartfelt commitment to racial tolerance, painstaking negotiation and civil disobedience in the face of injustice. Equally, many on the right will accurately recall that Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC) was closely aligned with the Soviet Union and with a host of thoroughly unpleasant terrorist organizations, like the PLO, who dressed themselves up as “liberation movements.” As a recipient of both the Soviet Order of Lenin and the American Presidential Medal of Freedom, it might be said that Mandela embodied this contradiction.

Still, Mandela was no orthodox leftist. In his autobiography, he discusses how he was strongly influenced by the Atlantic Charter of 1941, a mission statement shaped by the visions of Churchill and FDR for a post-war order in which freedom would reign, fear and want would be banished, and self-government would emerge as a core principle. Elsewhere in the book, he takes care to distinguish the African nationalism he subscribed to from the communist beliefs that prevailed among those he worked with—and his understanding of nationalism bears a close resemblance to the national movements that surfaced in Europe at the end of the nineteenth century, including Zionism.

This latter point is important because there is a widespread misapprehension that Mandela was an opponent of Zionism and Israel. In part, that’s because a mischievous letter linking Israel with apartheid, purportedly written by Mandela, went viral on the Internet (in fact, the real author was a Palestinian activist named Arjan el Fassed, who later claimed that his fabrication nevertheless reflected Mandela’s true feelings.) Yet it’s also true that, in the Cold War conditions of the time, the ANC’s main allies alongside the Soviets were Arab and third-world dictators like Ahmed Ben Bella in Algeria and Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt. The confusion is further stirred by the enthusiasm of some of Mandela’s comrades, like Archbishop Desmond Tutu, to share the South African franchise on the word “apartheid” with the Palestinians.

But those activists who want to make the Palestinian cause the 21st-century equivalent of the movement that opposed South African apartheid in the 20th century will—assuming they conform to basic standards of honesty—find it very difficult to invoke Mandela as support. Mandela’s memoirs are full of positive references to Jews and even Israel. He recalls that he learned about guerilla warfare not from Fidel Castro, but from Arthur Goldreich, a South African Jew who fought with the Palmach during Israel’s War of Independence. He relates the anecdote that the only airline willing to fly his friend, Walter Sisulu, to Europe without a passport was Israel’s own El Al. And the ultimate smoking gun—the equation of Israel’s democracy with apartheid—doesn’t exist.

Mandela once wrote that Jews, in his experience, were far more sensitive about race because of their own history. Now, it is absolutely true that there are parallels between the oppression suffered by South African blacks under racist white rulers, and Jews living under hostile non-Jewish rulers. The notorious Group Areas Act, which restricted black residency rights, brings to mind the enforced separation of Jews into the “Pale of Settlement” by the Russian Empress Catherine in 1791. Many of the other apartheid regulations, like the ban on sexual relationships between whites and blacks, carried echoes of the Nazi Nuremburg Laws of 1935.

Mandela’s diagnosis was that Africans should be the sovereigns of their own destiny. Similarly, the founders of Zionism wanted nothing less for the Jews.

Sadly, none of that will stop today’s advocates of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement from falsely claiming Nelson Mandela as one of their own. But the truth is subtler than that. Mandela’s complicated legacy doesn’t really belong to any political stream—and that is one more reason to admire him.

Reactions to Mandela from Israeli leaders:

President Shimon Peres released a special statement following the death of Nelson Mandela: “The world lost a great leader who changed the course of history. On behalf of the citizens of Israel we mourn alongside the nations of the world and the people of South Africa, who lost an exceptional leader. Nelson Mandela was a fighter for human rights who left an indelible mark on the struggle against racism and discrimination. He was a passionate advocate for democracy, a respected mediator, a Nobel peace prize laureate and above all a builder of bridges of peace and dialogue who paid a heavy personal price for his struggle in the years he spent in prison and fighting for his people. Nelson Mandela’s legacy for his people and for the world will forever remain engraved in the pages of history and the hearts of all those who were touched by him. He will be remembered forever.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued the following statement on the passing of Nelson Mandela: ”Nelson Mandela was among the greatest figures of our time. He was the father of his country, a man of vision and a freedom fighter who disavowed violence. He set a personal example for his country during the long years in which he was imprisoned. He was never haughty. He worked to heal rifts within South African society and succeeded in preventing outbreaks of racial hatred. He will be remembered as the father of the new South Africa and a moral leader of the highest order.”

Making peace with a population: Lexicon Analysis of Netanyahu’s Bar Ilan Speech

A peace movement poster: Israeli and Palestini...

A peace movement poster: Israeli and Palestinian flags and the words peace in Arabic and Hebrew. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Boycott Israel-poster

Boycott Israel-poster (Photo credit: Creap)

2004 version Русский: Карта Израиля

2004 version Русский: Карта Израиля (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Benjamin Netanyahu's signature.

English: Benjamin Netanyahu’s signature. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli politician

English: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli politician (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Palestinian territories (West Bank an...

English: Palestinian territories (West Bank and Gaza Strip) showing Israel’s 1948 and 1967 borders (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Historical region of Palestine (as de...

English: Historical region of Palestine (as defined by Palestinian Nationalism) showing Israel’s 1948 and 1967 borders (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Making peace with a population

Op-ed: Meticulous analysis of lexicon chosen by Netanyahu during Bar-Ilan speech is indicative of gap between his recognition of Palestinian state, his recognition of Palestinian people

Since 2009, the most prevalent political message advanced by Prime Minister Netanyahu with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be summarized as follows: Israel accepts a de-militarized Palestinian state; however, the Palestinians do not accept Israel as a Jewish state, and thus, reject the legitimacy of the existence of Jewish sovereignty in the Middle East.

Netanyahu, thus, posits Israel as open to compromise, while the Palestinians are positioned as the rejectionists. While Netanyahu, since the 2009 Bar-Ilan Speech, has repeatedly acknowledged acceptance of a Palestinians state, it worthwhile to examine the extent to which he views the Palestinians as a legitimate people with historic links to the land.


A meticulous analysis of the lexicon chosen by Netanyahu during the same Bar-Ilan speech is indicative of a gap between the prime minister’s recognition of a Palestinian state and his recognition of a Palestinian people, as follows:

“But our right to build our sovereign state here, in the land of Israel, arises from one simple fact: this is the homeland of the Jewish people, this is where our identity was forged… But we must also tell the truth in its entirety: Within this homeland lives a large Palestinian community… These two realities – our connection to the Land of Israel and the Palestinian population living within it – have created deep divisions in Israeli society.”

Netanyahu’s discursive strategy presents “we” as a people whose identity was forged in this homeland. Conversely, the Palestinians are not a people nor a nation, but a “community” or “population” “living within it” (our homeland) – an unfortunate turn of events which has caused serious internal divisions within Israel between the left and the right.

Another reality exists

The prime minister explicitly contrasts Jewish national rights and “connection to the land” with a population, at best, a community, that lives within our land. Thus, although this speech marked the first time that Netanyahu showed a readiness to accept a Palestinian state, he concurrently adopted a strategy which rejects Palestinian peoplehood.

Indeed, Netanyahu’s acceptance of a Palestinian state is comparable to his assessment of the problematic nature of Palestinian recognition of Israel – the acceptance of an unfortunate set of circumstances due to a balance of power which cannot be denied, rather than Palestinian recognition of authentic Jewish national sovereignty.

Netanyahu is able to accept a Palestinian state as a solution to the unfortunate fact that another population lives in “our” land. However, if we analyze the same quotation, it becomes clear why he cannot take the additional step of recognizing the authenticity of Palestinian nationalism – his unequivocal belief that “this is the homeland of the Jewish people”, without any room for another narrative that makes legitimate “homeland” claims.

Thus, while according to this exclusivist perception of the connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel, a Palestinian state can be acknowledged as an unavoidable circumstance, accepting the authenticity of a Palestinian people would require a far more difficult revision of the Zionist narrative and the recognition of the legitimacy of a competing narrative.

Netanyahu’s repeated and unanswered call for Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is, in essence, a desire to hear the Palestinian other accept his notion that “this is the homeland of the Jewish people,” rather than merely an acquiescence to an unfavorable balance of power. However, the only possibility for hearing such words from President Abbas would be for Netanyahu to himself state that he is not merely ready to make peace with a “population” that lives in our land, but that another narrative, another reality exists – that this is also the homeland of the Palestinian people.


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6 common characteristics of incredibly successful companies

Posted Dec 2nd, 2013 at 1:26 PM



There’s no point in starting a company if the purpose isn’t to succeed, so the best place to look for advice is those who’ve made the all-star list, and what common denominators they possess.

Peter Cohan at Inc. interviewed 200 entrepreneurs to create the Hungry Start-up Strategy Index (HSSI), which rates start-ups from 0-100 based on a number of factors, and A+ companies shared these six characteristics.

Check them out, and see if your company is starting off on the path to success.

1. Setting goals. Start-ups almost always lack the cash to pay market-beating salaries to top talent. One way that they do this is by setting goals that talented people – founding executive, investors, and staff — find irresistibly compelling.

To practice the first habit well, you must do a great job on these three goals:

  • Mission: Enduring purpose of the start-up
  • Long-Term Goal: Approach to realizing investment return
  • Short-Term Goals. Clear short-term milestones

Based on their talented executive teams, excellent professionals, and world-class investors, SimpliVity and Actifio have clearly done a great job of setting these three goals.

2. Picking markets. A start-up could pick any market in which to sell its product. But the most successful start-ups pick markets that pass four tests:

  •  Its founder is passionate about the industry
  •  Its founder has superior industry knowledge
  •  Strong forces drive its industry growth
  •  The start-up is solving a customer problem that the market ignores

SimpliVity and Actifio have picked markets wisely as evidenced by their extremely rapid growth – over five-fold.