Hypocritical Oafs

This blog post is currently featured in The Times of Israel”

http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/hypocritical-oafs/

Is it just me or does it seem like we are living in an Orwellian universe? Reading the news headlines lately makes me feel that we are living in suspended animation or on a distant planet.

 When news broke of the deal brokered between Iran and the P5 +1 countries that include the US, Britain, France, China and Germany, I immediately experienced a sense of deja moo. A feeling like we had heard this bull before. I think most Israelis had the vision of Chamberlain returning from talks with Hitler exclaiming that he had achieved “peace in our time”. Hitler laughed and carried on with his plans for the 1000 year Reich and you can be sure that the Ayatollah’s in Qom are pointing and laughing at the gullible westerners who fell hook, line and sinker for Rouhani’s charm offensive.

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It has been said that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. So we have to ask has the world learnt nothing? Obviously not. This deal which has been described by Finance Minister, Yair Lapid as a choice between “plague and cholera” still allows for the Iranians to continue to enrich uranium, albeit to a maximum of 5%.. Iran’s President Rouhani says that the deal is proof that “Iran’s rights to enrich uranium have been recognised.” And while the deal prohibits refuelling the Arak reactor or replacing and installing new centrifuges, it doesn’t call for the current to be dismantled . It just shows how much regard Iran has for the Geneva deal.  It also does not prohibit this uranium being enriched to weapons grade levels.  US Secretary of State, John Kerry actually said that this deal will only make Israel and other US allies safer. ‘Scuse me? Something is being enriched and clearly it smells.

 This is not a case of paranoia. We Jews have learnt that we can never dismiss genocidal rhetoric as the rantings of mad men. More so when they parade their arsenals of missiles in the streets of their capitals and shout their intentions at every opportunity. Just last week Ayatollah Khameini called the Jewish State “rabid dogs”. The US did not rush to condemn this comment but France did, claiming Khameini’s words were “unacceptable and would only complicate talks.” Vive le France.

 Is France becoming the most influential power in the region? It would appear so. The Obama administration’s recent track record in the Middle East is proof that the power of the US in the region is waning. Obama has shown he incapable of being a decisive Commander in Chief by deferring to Congress during the Syrian crisis and has created a deeper partisan chasm with the Iranian deal. 

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For Israel the way forward seems nebulous. We have said before that we may have to go it alone and are prepared. But for the powers who have sworn over the last 70 years that a Holocaust would never happen again, selling out to Iran shows a lack of decisive and strong leadership. Hypocritical oafs.

A sad case of myopia…

This post is currently featured in The Times of Israel:

http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/a-sad-case-of-myopia/

South Africa’s Minister of International Relations, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has insomnia. She also has a really sad case of myopia. Addressing supporters at the launch of the “Free Marwan Barghouti and other Palestinian Political Prisoners” campaign, an endeavour supported by BDS South Africa and its poster figures, former Robben Island Prisoner, Ahmed Kathrada and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (my how he loves to flog Israel at the expense of so many others who are suffering injustices), the Minister had this to say:

 “The struggle of the people of Palestine is our struggle,” she declared.

 South Africa on Friday criticized Israel’s plans, announced on Tuesday, to build at least  5,000 new settlement units including some beyond the security barrier, according to reports.

 “That arrangement there in Palestine keeps us awake,” Nkoana-Mashabane said.

 “The last time I looked at the map of Palestine, I could not go to sleep. It is just dots, smaller than those of the homelands, and that broke my heart,”” she said, referring to the Bantustans that existed in South Africa during the apartheid era.

 She also said that “Tehran respects human rights”. Was she just abducted by aliens?

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Perhaps the Minister is experiencing a memory lapse as well. She seems to have forgotten how many times Israel has sued for peace, offering our Palestinian neighbours more and more land for peace but have sadly been refused. And while we are talking about land and using struggle terminology, perhaps we should remind the Minister of Mahmoud Abbas’s statement that “Jews will not be allowed to live in a Palestinian State.”

 But Pretoria would rather “curtail contact’ with Jerusalem.

 Now far be it for me to accuse one of having double standards, but South Africa seems to be excelling at them lately. Last weekend the “Free Marwan Barhgouti and all Palestinian political prisoners” campaign was launched. Barghouti is touted as the Palestinian equivalent of Mandela. Except that Mandela did not kill five people in cold blood and extol murder against Jews. But then in a country where chants of “Shoot the Jew” are justified by saying that “the whole idea of anti-Semitism is blown out of proportion” can we really expect any kind of fair treatment or understanding towards the Jewish state?

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South African Ministers will not visit Israel. Okay so while we won’t lose any sleep over this, in the game of diplomatic chess, South Africa has removed all her valuable pieces that would enable the country to help broker a lasting peace. Blatant discrimination and accusations have put paid to that idea. Perhaps if ministers did have the opportunity to talk to ordinary Israelis and hear our side of the narrative they might like what they see…..

 

The irony of it all is that the average South African citizen stands to benefit far greater from Israel than the reverse. Israeli know-how and technology could help the beleaguered African state deals with chronic issues like water shortages, agricultural and medical needs. The average South African is also not concerned with what is happening in this neighbourhood – they are wondering why their government is pre-occupied with everything except the needs of their citizens.

 

I wonder if the Minister loses any sleep about the dire poverty, raping and killing of women and children, exorbitant crime and HIV statistics that are off the charts in South Africa. What about the rest of the continent?

 Something tells me she doesn’t.