Leave it to the Jerusalem Post to keep us up to date on the right-wing ex-leaders who’ve fallen into line with Israel’s extremist government to fulminate against BDS. The list now grows by two. Today, Frederik de Klerk, the last apartheid-era president of South Africa (he left office 21 years ago), joined the chorus, saying:
…Sanctions against South Africa had only served to delay reform and hurt the black population more than they hurt the white population.
[They] “are more counterproductive than helpful to change any country on the course it is taking.”
This is the heir of the racist white movement which installed an apartheid regime against the country’s majority for five decades. The same regime which imprisoned Nelson Mandela for decades and assassinated ANC leaders. Yes, he finally agreed to give up the ghost and so avoided massive bloodshed. Let’s give him points for being pragmatic.
But why did he come to this understanding? Precisely because he knew the jig was up. The international boycott and pressure from governments the world over, plus the resistance of Black nationalist groups like the ANC, convinced him that there was only one way out. Without the boycott, there would’ve been one less weapon in the fight available to the eventual winners, the country’s black majority.
De Klerk further argued:
“In the case of South Africa, our experience has been that sanctions at times delayed reform. It had the effect of driving the white population, who at that stage had all the power, into a corner and they resisted it fiercely.” de Klerk said.
“In the end, sanctions hurt the people they were intended to help much more than it hurt the white population. Blacks suffered, job creation suffered as a result of that and they were as much the victims of the sanctions as the people against whom the sanctions were actually intended,” he said.
…”Dialogue and negotiation and interaction between leading countries of the world and South Africa would have achieved a better result, and would have inspired earlier reforms and changes in the South African situation,” he said.
“I prefer dialogue and negotiation as a way to get governments to change their attitude.”
This is simply historical revisionism from the losing side. There is absolutely no evidence supporting the notion that the white racist regime would’ve given up power more quickly had the opposition simply negotiated, rather than having a gun to the government’s head. Are we to buy the notion that white South African’s would’ve have been willing to give up their privileges and economic control had blacks simply been nice and asked for their rights in the form of negotiations?
Earlier, the Post also promulgated the Good News that Jose Aznar, the rightist ex-premier of Spain who left office 11 years ago, accused BDS, in effect, of ethnic cleansing:
“I think BDS is…in the final analysis, anti-Semitic,” Aznar told Maariv.
“…BDS is in fact trying to harm every Israeli citizen and not only the government. In reality what BDS wants is to make life in Israel intolerable so the Jewish nation will not be able to have a normal existence in its state. BDS does not only want to change the government’s policy, it wants to empty the country of Jews,” Aznar said.
You read that right: BDS wants to drive Jews from Israel. In fact, it wants to rid Israel of them in an act akin to ethnic cleansing.
The ex-pol elaborated on this fantastical version of BDS by suggesting (falsely) that there are significant numbers of foreign and Israeli companies investing in the West Bank; and that BDS would destroy the Palestinian economy by destroying the jobs created by these phantom investors:
“People including the bureaucrats in the EU need to understand that companies that invest in the West Bank provide jobs and opportunities for the Palestinian nation,” Aznar said, adding, “Getting companies to leave there [the West Bank] will not have a positive impact but just the opposite. Greater, not less, economic activity is required in the territories. The only way to create a Palestinian middle class is through investments and commerce.”
Now, it is possible there are a few such companies like Sodastream and Ahava, which employ Palestinians. But the number of such companies and jobs is infinitesimal compared to the number of jobs there are now in the West Bank and the number needed to sustain a viable economy.
The Spaniard believes that Israel not only shouldn’t be targeted by the EU for sanctions, it should be rewarded for its “good behavior” with EU membership:
“My vision is for Israel to become an integral part of the Western world and for this to happen it needs to be a partner in the West’s economic and security institutions,” the former prime minister said.
Like that’s gonna happen!
Like Tony Blair, Aznar has earned a handsome living off shilling for Israel since he left office. He founded the Euro-hasbara initiative, Friends of Israel, which recently published a report exonerating Israel’s massacre in Gaza last summer. Aznar also signed a report similarly absolving Israel of responsiblity for the Mavi Marmara murders. Though I’m not well-schooled in European hasbara activities, I’d guess that Aznar, like Blair, is handsomely remunerated for his pro-Israel efforts. He and his NGO are either supported by pro-Israel private donors or possibly directly by official government channels. I’d like to hear more on this from European readers.
But to hear the former Spanish leader tell it, his motives are based purely on principle:
When asked what has made him such a close friend of Israel, Aznar said he could not isolate a single reason.
“I don’t believe that there is one reason or historical juncture that caused me to believe what I believe: that Israel is an essential and integral part of my world and my civilization, the West,” he said. “I am clearly more outspoken today because I have a feeling of urgency. The world is not going in the direction that I would want it to and the Middle East is becoming more and more relevant for everyone.”
This is the same individual who headed the Spanish conservative government which is a direct descendant of Franco. It is a party whose roots go back to Spanish fascism and murderous violence against leftist Republicans. This is who Israel puts forward as its Euro-champion.
Who’s next? Dick Cheney? Hosni Mubarak? Franco himself, back from the dead? These stories of washed up leaders of western nations embracing Israel’s position on BDS expose the pathetic nature of the government’s campaign on this issue. Instead of bringing vital, relevant politicians or public intellectuals, they bring us the tired wretched remnants of the past. They bring us politicians whose legacies are themselves riddled with moral stains. It’s a match made in heaven (or Hell).