Racism past: the flag of Apartheid-era South Africa.
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One to go:
Racism present: the national flag of “settlement”-era Israel.
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Such a state formerly existed in South Africa, and it exists today in Israel, where Israeli Palestinians are functionally excluded from equal participation in the affairs of their country, while millions of other Palestinians are denied the right of residence in the land that once was theirs.
However, if Israel and South Africa had shared this societal blueprint, one would expect to have found them aligned in some manner as long as this held true. But surely Israel, that “symbol of human decency,” could never have found common cause with Apartheid South Africa.
Unfortunately for those who uphold Israel as the apotheosis of a fair and democratic state, this is precisely what happened. As documented in Sasha Polakow-Suransky’s The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship With Apartheid South Africa, there was an initial period in which a socialist Israel refused formal association with the Apartheid regime, both on moral grounds and to cement diplomatic relationships with other African nations to build a United Nations voting bloc to check the Arab/Muslim bloc; however, as those nations began to perceive Israeli policy for what it was, they broke away, leaving Israel comparatively isolated; this is when South Africa began to seem a more enticing ally. By the mid-1970s, the two nations had concluded formal but private agreements that led to uranium-rich South Africa sending radioactive material to Israel, which had the capacity to build nuclear weapons; the latter used it to become the first and only nuclear nation of the Middle East, while South Africa never got the nuclear weapons it coveted.
Meanwhile, a tainted triad took shape.
Recognizing the geostrategic value of Israel as a regional strongpoint athwart the heart of the Muslim world and enticed by the mineral wealth of South Africa, American neoconservatives, who have dominated US foreign policy for many decades, ensured that the United Nations could never pass a binding resolution against either state. Over the course of decades, this led to a long series of votes in which the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to condemn the latest atrocity committed by first one, and then the other, of these two nations.
But each time, there were three votes reliably cast against the resolution, even when America’s allies in Europe and Asia voted in favor: South Africa, Israel and the United States. And since the U.S. is a permanent member of the Security Council, with unilateral veto power against the rest of the world, each and every resolution was stymied.
Ultimately, however, the inherent injustice of Apartheid led to its destruction: The US could veto UN resolutions, but it couldn’t stop the ever-growing number of people and businesses who refused to accept Apartheid from boycotting the regime until it succumbed to economic pressure and capitulated. Today, a similar movement is afoot against Israeli injustice toward the Palestinians over whom it exercises absolute power. And again, the US can protect its client regime against UN resolutions, but it cannot stop the world from reminding Israel that justice is a human right.
Warning label: If the first three numbers of the UPC are “7-2-9,”
don’t buy it.
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If you wish to add your voice to the protest against oppression and atrocities inflicted on Palestinians, watch for the “warning label.” Also, scan periodically for new updates to the boycott list here or elsewhere on the internet.
Most of all: Be patient and of good courage. It took years of boycotts and international sanctions before Apartheid fell in South Africa, but fall it did. And fall it will wherever else it may appear.