33 thoughts on “Bibi Cancels Trip to Mandela Memorial Over Cost, Israeli Settler Leads Israeli Delegation – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. In december 2012 the African National Congress made BDS part of its official policy:
    http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/historic-decision-south-africas-anc-makes-support-israel-boycott-its-official
    I wonder whether Western mainstream media are going to mention the absence of high-ranking Israeli officials.
    Edelstein used to be Minister of Hasbara (before that ministry was closed down recently), I guess he’s going to use all his skills in South Africa.

  2. Great post Richard. Indeed it is the irony or ironies that
    Israel is even sending a delegation to Mandela’s funderal – it’s
    like Dracula going to a vegetarian convention. And it’s not only
    for the past (as some liberal Zionists suggested Israel apologize
    for its cooperation and special relationship with the white
    supremacist regime) – but mostly for the present as Israel
    practices a form of Apartheid ten times more brutal whose ultimate
    goal is the complete expulsion of all native Palestinians. To have
    a delegation from Israel at Mandela’s funeral is an insult to his
    legacy.

  3. The behavior of Israel is embarrassing to watch.. and I bet
    some people here are struggling to fight the feeling of being on
    the wrong side of history. But why do you call the delegation a
    delegation of mostly right-wing MKs? MK Pnina Tamnu-Shata (Yesh
    Atid) — center MKs Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid) — center Nitzan
    Horowitz (Meretz) — left Gila Gamliel (Likud Beytenu) — right
    Hilik Bar (Labor) — center Moreover, the parties I denoted as
    ‘center’ are often considered ‘center-left’ in Israel. In the
    israeli political landscape, this is actually considered (sadly..
    but this is a different issue) a significantly left leaning
    delegation. If you just split the Knesset in 2, 4 out of 6 MKs are
    in the left half.

    1. You’re right. I didn’t pay enough attention to party affiliations when I wrote that. But as you say, centrist in Israeli terms is quite right wing. Yesh Atid is more a center-right than center-left party. And Labor is no longer a left-wing party. It hardly has any ideology except self preservation.

    2. @emma i just goggled Pninia she is an Ethiopian Immigrant to Israel. So sending a black woman to the funeral of the man who needed apartheid seems justified.

      Rabbi Dov Lipman now MK seems to be the main guy trying to get the ultra-Orthodox/Haredi to become full members of Israeli society.

      Nitzan Horowitz is an openly gay man with extensive experience in the media and foreign affairs having worked for Haaretz.

      even Hilik Bar who is just plain sabra seems to have done some interesting things like being the first person to be elected to be the chair of a major party before being in the knesset.

      Gila Gamliel is a woman rights activist and a descendant of Yemenite and Libyan refugees (i.e she is Mizrahi)

      Looks like they were smart choices afterall…

      They sent a black woman, a gay man, an Arab Jew, a rebel rabbi and a white man who wants social equity. Judge a book not by its cover but by the contents of its pages.

      1. The only member of the group whose politics come anywhere close to those of South Africa or Nelson Mandela is Horowitz, who represents Meretz in Knesset. The others, except for possibly the single Labor Party member, are typical Israeli pols ranging from far right to center right.

        You’re attempting to put a spin on the delegation it doesn’t deserve.

        1. Richard you are correct that most of the delegation is not up to par with Mandela Politics. Though I am unsure how many of the 70 countries delegations would muster as well…

          I believe today Hamid Karzai accused America of being a colonial power by forcing Afghanistan to sign the “bi-lateral” agreement. So who knows if Obama “of all people” is not up to Mandela’s standards… Perhaps Mandela is special a one in a generation like Ghandi or Martin Luther King Jr. Or potentially Barghouti (time will tell on this one I am still not convinced but he did write a good letter about peace today that seems promising)

          What I was attempting to do was derive an understanding of why would Israel chose these individuals. From what I can see it’s purely PR.
          Its hard to deny the fact of ones own eyes in seeing an Arab woman sitting next to a gay man sitting next to a rabbi sitting next to a black woman who all are there to represent Israel makes Israel appear to be a modern egalitarian society. (fact or not)

          1. @ Ben
            Israel may have sent Pnina Tamano-Shata as part of the Israeli delegation to the Mandela Memorial but today the Magen David Adom barred her from blood donation in the Knesset because she has a “special kind of Jewish-Ethiopian blood”
            I think there’s a saying about “putting lipstick on a pig……”

          2. @ Richard
            There’s an article on Ynetnews, and a later article update (including the Ynetnews-article) and other informations on Mondoweiss:
            http://mondoweiss.net/2013/12/attending-memorial-rejected.html
            It seems that the Ethiopian member of the Knesset, Pnina Tamano-Shata organized her first demonstration when she was 16, to get the right to become a blood donor.
            In an article by Lahav Harkov in JPost: “Edelstein: Regional Leaders Should Renounce Violence like Mandela”, there’s a very telling photo: the Israeli delegation including the Ethiopian MK under a huge photo of Mandela.

      2. It sounds exactly like what I would expect from a “hasbara delegation” (with special emphasis on including a black ethiopian Jew), I am just surprised they didn’t include the token Druze as they usually do when they send representatives to countries with most opposition to Israeli policies in an attempt to obfuscate and confuse, which is btw, exactly what Apartheid S. Africa used to do.

        1. [comment deleted–comment was far off-topic. It also raised issues repeatedly raised & discussed long in the past by other commenters before you. If you stay on topic you will tend not to do this sort of thing.]

      3. Well in diplomatic “circles” one (a state) sends to such funeral persons of the same level or so close as possible as the deceased was. USA sent to South Africa one present and 3 former presidents, Finland 1+1 etc. Sending a strange mixture of backbench parliamentarians to such a high profile funeral is most probably seen as a diplomatic insult.

        What would Israel say if to the funeral of the long serving head of the “Jewish” state important countries would send such a strange mixture of low ranking parliamentarians representing sexual, color, religious and ethnic minorities/majority? Israelis would hardly see the sender nation as a advanced modern multicultural “democracy”.

        You Israelis have rather strange views of state level politeness and diplomacy. Like that low sofa treatment given to Turkish minister, which has cost your country a lot, but which the crowds there did consider as hilarious joke. Or choosing as the foreign affairs minister a guy who publicly recommended bombing the Aswan damn. Smart choices …

        1. Smart choices …

          It’s the effect and very intentional. Before the US Presidential election, BN tried to pre-empt the American choice by backing ally Mitt Romney. After BN’s own shocking election misser, he managed to construct a cabinet where any peace deal forged by Obama/Kerry would meet many obstacles. BN looked a the short term. Out of necessity, Obama had to wait for his second term to attain the unreachable goals and his legacy.

  4. Hi Richard. I heard about Bibi not going from my
    Palestinian friend posting it on Facebook. I joked with her saying
    that Lieberman would be going instead. I agree I think the ANC
    under the table told Bibi not to come and he used the Money problem
    to save face. Its like when Mayor Ford was told not to attend the
    Santa Claus Parade this year because the organizers wanted the
    celebration to be about Santa and not be distracted by the media
    circus that would have been caused if he went. Perhaps the people
    who are doing Mandela’s funeral asked Bibi not to come so that the
    ceremony would not be interrupted by anti-Israeli
    protestors.

  5. Former Israeli Ambassador to South Africa Alon Liel
    believes Netanyahu made the right decision not to make the trip,
    but not for the reasons stipulated. “Netanyahu is not a welcome
    guest in South Africa today. I think it was right of him not to
    go,” Liel told Ynet

    1. Palestinian Struggle and Nobel Peace Prize

      On charisma and humanity by Alon Liel, former Israel’s ambassador to South Africa

      (Ynet News) – In October 1993, all ambassadors were invited to an event marking the 100th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s arrival in South Africa. Mandela was the keynote speaker. When I approached the place, one of his assistants said to me, “Madiba (Mandela’s clan name) would like to talk to you.”

      I entered the small room where he was learning his speech. He stood up to greet me and with an earnest expression told me excitedly, “This morning I was informed from Stockholm that De Klerk and I have won the Nobel Peace Prize for this year. I ask you, honorable ambassador, to send a telegram to Jerusalem and let your prime minister know that he is the one who deserves this prize, not me.”

      I was speechless. Besides the nobleness on the personal level, I suddenly realized just how affected Mandela was by the handshake between Rabin and Arafat. He clearly saw Israeli-Palestinian peace as a mission of the same magnitude of his life’s challenge: Turning South Africa into a democratic country.

  6. Apartheid: Mock Memo to Thomas Friedman – 2001

    How it started?
    On March 27, 2001, Thomas Friedman wrote a column in the style of a ‘mock memo’ entitled Bush’s First Memo. In this ‘mock memo’ Thomas Friedman writes in the name of U.S. President George W. Bush A Memo to Palestinian President Yasir Arafat. Arjan El Fassed wrote in the the ‘mock memo’ style that Friedman himself liked to use and offered Nelson Mandela responding to Friedman’s [Bush] Memo to Yasser Arafat.

    Mandela’s first memo to Thomas Friedman (30 March 2001)

    Since Thomas Friedman tells his readers that Palestinians should forget about 1948 and forget about returning to their homes, I wanted to show that current policies against Palestinians resemble an apartheid-like situation. Since Nelson Mandela has become the personification of the struggle against apartheid, I thought a ‘mock memo’ including Mandela was the logical thing to do. I could also have taken Steven Biko who has said that “the most potential weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed” or Oliver Tambo or other anti-apartheid activists.

    Soon, however, I found the ‘mock memo’ I wrote and which clearly indicated that I wrote it, on various listservers and websites but without the byline mentioning that it was in fact written by me. This led to a vast confusion amongst editors of newspapers in many countries …

    From my diary – Mandela and Apartheid.

      1. Also BN’s name is mud outside of the US and Israel, so it make sense they would send unknowns to South Africa in his place.

      1. Well, Richard.

        Begin’s Irgun was a terrorist organization.
        Than again, the Irgun Party never gained control of the government the way Mapai, the ANC and the PLO did.

        1. The Irgun as a political party (Herut) eventually DID become the government (in 1977). But the political forces which eventually became Labor also engaged in acts of terror (even assassinating a Jew in 1921).

          Further, PLO no longer engages in terror. Other Palestinian militant groups do & Mandela would have absolutely no problem with that until Israel ends Occupation, recognizes Palestinian state on 67 lines with East Jerusalem as capital, plus refugee return.

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