Sisa Ngombane, the new South African Ambassador to Israel, needs to get himself an education very quickly.
The headline of his Jerusalem Post interview read “For us, Hamas in a national liberation movement.” Wrong, Mr Ambassador! Hamas is a religion liberation movement. Lesson number one. Try reading the Hamas Charter, the part that says “Oh Muslim! There’s a Jew hiding behind me. Go out and kill him!”
The Ambassador thinks that this Islamic terror organization has “legitimate grounds to exist” because he supports the armed struggle.
Mr. Ngombane thinks that “Hamas is a work in progress.” Yes, Mr. Ambassador. Hamas is progressing and developing its aim of eliminating Israel. This is part of your first lesson. Read its Charter to understand what Hamas truly stands for. It is not simply a state of their own, but a state instead of Israel, free of Jews.
The South African government still has a long way to go when its ambassadors cannot favor a liberal democratic nation like Israel over totalitarian, mono-cultural, and oppressive Islamic terror regimes such as Hamas and Hezbollah.
Lesson number two is understanding what democracy is all about. Legitimacy does not come with elections. The Germans voted for Hitler. Palestinians voted for Hamas. In both cases Jews were killed by “liberation systems.” bent on liberating their regimes from Jews.
Lesson number three is making the same mistake as the European Union with Hezbollah. You cannot divide a terrorist organization into a “military wing” and a “political wing.” That, to us the victims, is disingenuous. It smacks of you supporting the aims of Hamas and Hezbollah but wanting to hide the connotation of terror. Your words that “some people have managed to stay away from terrorism while conducting an armed struggle” are deeply disturbing. It indicates to Hamas, who you support, that there are legitimate targets that you would not consider terrorism if, for instance, members of our IDF or security forces were killed by them.
Any Ambassador, based in Israel, who thinks that any Palestinian group that practices terrorism against us does not disqualify the whole group as being terrorist needs an urgent education. Lesson number four is take a study course at the ICT Counter-Terrorism Institute of IDC Herzlia and learn what constitutes a terror organization. I will be happy to introduce you to Boaz Ganor.
Lesson number five is that any group that adopts the policy and practice of the BDS Movement, as the ANC has done in your country, automatically becomes part of the BDS Movement by definition. You can’t be partly pregnant when it comes to boycotting Israel. You either are for it or against it, and the ANC have voted against Israel.
When asked if he thinks Israel is an Apartheid state, an allegation falsely made against Israel that hatched its evil birth in South Africa, the Ambassador that he thought there are “strong signals that it is going down that route, that there will be discrimination, that because you are an Arab you won’t be able to live here or buy a property here.” Lesson number six, Mr. Ambassador. Not true. In fact Arabs constitute over twenty percent of our population and do build and buy houses here.
Lesson number seven comes rapidly in its footsteps. Listen to what Mahmoud Abbas is telling anyone who will heed him, that no Jew or Israeli will be permitted to live (or have a home) in any future Palestinian state. By your own definition, Mr. Ngombane, the Palestinian state which you, and your government, support will be an Apartheid state. Why is your government not condemning this? In fact, your government is completely silent on this racist, anti-Semitic, and Apartheid policy adopted, at top level, by the Palestinian leadership in both Ramallah and Gaza.
And here we come to the important lesson number eight. The basic political thinking of your own government is colored by your experience in overcoming the previous regime. You had a hard fought victory, but not all conflicts can be defined by your black liberation theology. The Palestinians are not the blacks, and we in Israel are not white. We are, as you will discover as you visit our land and meet our people, a Rainbow Nation. Neither are we colonial invaders, as we are described by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
The deep, decades-old rift between Israel and South Africa stems from your country giving birth to the appalling “Zionism is Racism” slogan which, like anti-Semitism, once spawned is hard to put back in the womb of hatred. South Africa continues to be a hub of anti-Israel thought and political action. It remains malevolently on your campuses, and has seeped inevitably into your government circles.
Lesson number nine involves you truly understanding the agenda of the Palestinian movement which, sadly, is not to be a nation alongside Israel but a state in place of Israel. Study their words to their own people, their charters, their ceremonies. They are replete in exhortations to remove Israel and glorify their murderers. Their terrorists, Mr. Ambassador, are not freedom fighters. Invite Itamar Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch to give you an eye-opening presentation.
Finally, lesson number ten is for you to go out and study the rich and three thousand year history of the Jewish People and the State of Israel. Understand our heritage and birthright. You will, I am sure, come to the conclusion that we are peace-loving people living in our sovereign land.
Barry Shaw is the Special Consultant on Delegitimzation Issues to The Strategic Dialogue Center at Netanya Academic College. He is also the author of “Israel Reclaiming the Narrative.” www.israelnarrative.com